Alleged Illegal Demolition: FCT Minister Gets Seven Days Ultimatum to Pay N2bn compensation

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Alex Enumah

A private firm, Avastone Global Service Limited has given the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello a seven days ultimatum to pay the sum of N2 billion as compensation over alleged illegal demolition of its properties on plot 1186 Katampe extension, Abuja, or risks legal action.

The firm in a pre-action letter dated January 18,2022, accused the minister of directing the demolition of the said property against the judgment of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The letter signed by the firm’s lawyer, Ataguba Aboje, was

Titled: “Demand for Immediate Compensation for unlawful destruction of properties and flagrant and intentional breach of court judgment.”

According to the letter, the claimant had on July 22, 2021, filed a suit against the Consulate of Republic of Yemen, the Minister of the FCT and the Federal Capital Territory Administration, over venture agreement by the Consulate of Republic of Yemen and administrative decisions by the FCT minister, which the firm considered indefensible.

The suit marked CV/2257/2020, was assigned to Justice V.S. Garba of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gwagwalada division, holden at Kwali.

The judge had on November 29, 2021, after proper consideration of the case of the claimant, entered judgment in its favour and made an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from demolishing the structure/buildings erected on Plot 1186 Katampe Extension, Abuja.

The firm however lamented that barely one month after the delivery of the judgment and despite being aware of the valid, subsisting and abundantly clear judgment of a competent court of law restraining the defendants perpetually from demolishing the structure/buildings erected on Plot 1186 Katampe Extension, Abuja, the minister actively directed the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council/Department of Development Control an agency/department

under his command and control to demolish and vandalise the firm’s properties in flagrant disregard and disobedience to the valid and subsisting judgment of the court.

The demand letter read: “The reasons why we are alleging fault are: You were properly served with the originating court processes and you were fully represented by a counsel of your choice in the matter and on the date of judgment you counsel was present and fully participated in the proceedings.

“You are a constitutional/statutory office/officer bound by law and you have the benefit of advice of a fully staffed legal department for proper legal advice and it is an elementary point of law that the judgment of a competent court remains valid and binding, even where the person affected by it believes it is void, until set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction.

“Our client’s demands: Your action is malicious, contemptuous, illegal, unlawful, an abuse of power and unwarranted egregious violation of the constitution you swore to uphold.

“Your unlawful actions have caused our client untold hardship, trauma, embarrassment, loss of faith in government and huge financial loss and for this obnoxious exhibition of lawlessness by you our client claims N2,000,000,000 as compensation and to desist from further violations of the judgment immediately.

“Take notice that if you refuse, fail and or neglect to accede to our client’s demands within 7 days after receipt of this letter we will without further notice to you institute an action before a competent court to seek an award of aggravated and/or exemplary damages amongst other reliefs that may be available to our client under the law”.