Estate Demolition: Judge Berates FCTA Officials For Disobeying Court Order

Alex Enumah in Abuja 

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting in Maitama, Abuja, on Thursday, berated authorities of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA) for disobeying a valid order of the court, which had restrained them from demolishing a property owned by Praco International Ltd.

The multi-billion Naira estate located in the Asokoro/Kugbo axis of FCT, is being developed by SNECOU Group and others.

The judge was reacting to recent developments arising from a suit filed by Engr. Success Obioma, Praco International Ltd, Psalm 127 Ltd, and Peace Be Still Ltd, (Claimants) against the FCT Administration.  

Defendants in the suit marked FCT/HC/CV/1739/ 24 and Motion No: M/5827/2024, are the FCT Minister, Federal Capital Development Authority, The Deed Registrar FCDA, Director Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Chairman Abuja Metropolitan Management Council and the Director of Land Administration FCT and others.

Recall that Justice Eleojor Enenche of the FCT High Court in Wuse, had on March 22, 2024 made an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants/respondents by themselves or their servants, agents, privies, proxies or whosoever acting on their express or presume authority from further demolishing or destroying claimants developments which include but not limited to infrastructure and house, on Plots 582 Kukwaba, 542 Kukwaba, 454 Guzape, 455 Guzape, Plot 456 Guzape, 458 Guzape, 1577 Guzape, 4577 Maitama Aé Ltd, 5044 Maitama Aé, 3198 Maitama Aé, 5033 Maitama, Aé, 2444 Gwarinpa, 505 Wuye, 2129 Gorki 1, 4143 Jikoyi, 4145 Jikoyi, 4147, 4149, 524 Kukwaba, 527 Kukwaba and 3037 Asokoro, which developments were put on the land by the claimants after securing defendants’ approval upon payments of necessary fees, pending determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction. 

“An order of interim injunction of this Honourable Court is made restraining the defendants/respondents from taking any step, action or decision adverse to the beneficial interest of the claimants on the affected property, pending the determination of Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction. 

However, while the order was subsisting, the FCDA officials on Wednesday demolished the property.

Miffed by the action of the FCT Authorities, the developer, on Thursday approached the court, wherein it obtained an order further extending by another seven days, the injunctive interim order against the defendants.

Delivering ruling in the fresh application, Justice Hamza Muazu, sitting as a vacation judge at High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, expressed dismay at the action of the defendants in view of the pendency of the matter in court. 

After listening to the application by the claimant’s lawyer, J. K Matthew the court compelled the FCT Authorities to write an undertaking through their lawyers that they will never do anything untoward that will render a fait accompli on the court.

The judge warned that they should not near the property pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Addressing journalists on Thursday, the Managing Director/Project Manager of Praco International Ltd, Dr. Chukwudubem Ezekwelu, expressed concern that the country’s judiciary is being ridiculed due to flagrant disobedience of court orders by some government, Ministries,  Agencies, etc. 

He therefore appealed to President Bola Tinubu “to immediately intervene to stop the lawlessness and impunity and save the massive investment of patriotic Nigerians, as well as protect the integrity of the judiciary.

“Mr. President needs to intervene urgently in this matter to restore the confidence of Nigerians and even expatriates in investing in the country,” Ezekwelu said.

He further appealed to the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, to rescind the decision on the demolition of the multi billion Naira estate, and to come to the drawing board on the way forward.

He posited that real estate business is a major means of internally generated revenue and should be encouraged by the government because it has the capacity to turn around the economy of the country. 

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