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Court fixes May 25 to hear alleged land seizure by FCT minister, FCDA

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Justice Baba Sani of an FCT High Court, Apo, has fixed May 25 for hearing on alleged land seizure against the FCT Minister, Alhaji Muhammed Bello, and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

Sani fixed the date following the absence of the minister’s counsel, Mr C. Nwaji, when the case came up for hearing.

Sani adjourned the matter until May 25, for hearing and ordered for hearing notice to be served on the defendants.

At the resumed hearing of the matter, counsel for the claimants, Mr John Godwin, informed the court that he had properly filed and served the defendants, yet they were not in court.

“My Lord, the defendants have been served with our writ of summon and the hearing notice of the case for today, but unfortunately they are not here.

“Although we have not been served with their reply and/or counter, I think it will be better if the case is adjourned in the interest of Justice,” Godwin said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that two aggrieved land allottees, Messers Ahmed Musa and Rasheed Musa, had dragged the minister to court over alleged seizure of their plots of land by FCDA.

NAN reports that the alloteees/claimants alleged that the minister and the FCDA moved to seize their lands situated at Mpape “D”, Bwari Area Council, Abuja.

The claimants are demanding N500 million as general damages from the defendants over what they described as “act of trespass”.

They claimed the act had caused them unnecessary apprehension, trauma, pains and depression.

In the writ of summon, the claimants prayed the court to issue an injunction restraining Bello and FCDA from making any attempt or action against their alleged legitimately acquired plots of land, pending the determination of the suit.

The claimants further prayed the court to determine whether the defendants could expropriate the claimants’ title to lands situated at Mpape “D” in Bwari Area Council, without their consent, due negotiation and permission.

They relied on section 44 of the Federation of Nigeria’s 1999 constitution (as amended), and section 28(6)(7) of the Land Use Act to make the plea.

They also prayed for a declaration that the purported revocation, allocation or re-allocation or grant of any type to any other person(s) as unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect.

The plaintiffs prayed the court for an injunction restraining the defendants either by themselves or through their privies, servants, agents, representatives or otherwise from revocation or appropriating the plots.

They also prayed that the injunction should restrain the re-allocation, re-alloting or granting to any other person(s) any form of right of occupancy or title to the claimants’ lands situated at Mpape “D” Bwari Area Council.

They further prayed the court for: “an order nullifying any purported revocation or re-allotment of the claimants’ lands situated at Mpape “D” Bwari Area Council, Abuja.

“An order compelling the 2nd defendant to perform the statutory duties of processing the claimants’ applications for building permits and render all other services offered to the public by the 2nd defendant’s Land Department and Development Control Department”.

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