A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory has stopped the Nigeria Police from taking over a property in Jahi District, Abuja, belonging to Bhodes Integrated Limited.
A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, is the Chairman of Bhodes Integrated Limited.
In an exparte motion filed through its counsel, Adebola Oyeneyin, at the weekend, the firm prayed the court to restrain the police from further erecting structures on the property.
In the exparte application with motion number M/5177/2020, the firm also joined the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Police Force Property Development and Construction Company Limited, Minister of FCT and Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) in the suit.
The company had prayed the court for an order of interim injunction restraining the police and its property development company, which are first and second defendants in the case from taking over the land.
After arguing the exparte motion, the Presiding Judge, Justice AS Adepoju, held that: “Both parties, whether by themselves or by their servants, officers, agents, privies or otherwise, howsoever so described, are further restrained from trespassing, erecting, building, occupying, demolishing, disturbing, excavating of soil and altering the natural state or interfering with the Plot No. 237 measuring approximately 5957.18 m2 bounded by beacon numbers P82. P83, P86401, P86402 and P36403 Cadastral Zone BIS of Sector Centre A in Abuja and covered by an Offer of Statutory Right of Occupancy dated November 21, 2019, pending the hearing and the determination of the substantive suit.”
The case has been fixed for July l5, 2020, for hearing.
About three weeks ago, the company had written a petition to the chairman of Police Service Commission (PSC), dated June 5, 2020, over the taking over of the land.
The General Manager of the company, Mr. Bayo Smith, who signed the petition, said the land is measuring 5,955 square metres sitting on Plot No 133 Cadastral Zone, B15 of Centre Sector ‘A’ in Jahi area of the FCT by the Nigerian Police.
According to the petition, “the portion of land was allocated to our company by the Minister of the FCT and the current Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, in 2007 through the then Accelerated Development Programme on April 28, 2007, and I fenced it round.”
He also said the land was further reallocated on February 16, 2012.
Parts of the petition read: “Upon interaction with the police, they owned up to the claim but admitted to not having any document or title to the land. We also made our findings from the Abuja Geographic Information Systems, and we found out that only Bhodes Integrated Limited is the only title holder to the land.
‘’We reported the encroachment to the FCT minister, who in his wisdom, sets up a committee and eventually decided to divide the land and gave us land measuring 5,955 metre square with an instruction that we should open a fresh land application file for allocation of an alternative plot to make up for the shortfall in size while the rest portion was assigned to the police.
‘’The letter conveying this approval was dated July 16, 2019, by the FCTA and signed by ESV Umar Sayyadi, the Deeds Registrar for the FCT Minister. When the Police IG came, he decided to lay claim to all the land despite not having power of allocation and without the titles.
‘’We are shocked that a law enforcement agency like the Nigeria Police that should be upholding the law is now breaking it with impunity. Still towing the path of reconciliation, I had a meeting with the IG and he set up a committee headed by DIG Aminchi Baaraya to look into our claims and the committee was given two weeks but until now, no report whatsoever because they have nothing to report.”