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Residents petition CJN over seizure of Abuja property

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Abuja

A high Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Apo, Abuja yesterday asked the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris to file his defense in the suit seeking court order on the Nigeria Police to halt their forceful and illegal seizure and occupation of the properties and lands at XK Layout, Apo District.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja had on May 18, 2017 declared re-allocations of all the plots in the Apo XK Lay-out by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and Federal Capital Development Authority to ENL Consortium Limited and Federal Housing Authority as illegal, null and void.

A group called ‘’Incorporated Trustees of Apo XK Extension Residents Association’’ made up of persons who were initially allocated over 200 plots of land in the XK Apo Layout had appealed the judgement of the FCT High Court in Abuja which held a judgement on May 27, 2011 in favour of the FCT Minister, FCDA and ENL Consortium Limited.

In the appeal, Yusuf Goya, Isah Aminu and the Incorporated Trustees of Apo XK Extension Residents Association are 1st to 3rd Appellants respectively, while the FCT Minister, FCDA, FHA, ENL Consortium Limited and Dr Tumala Muhammed Musa are the 1st to 5th respondents respectively. Haastrup is the prime-mover of the ENL Consortium Limited.

But in the unanimous judgement delivered by Justices Mohammed Mustapha, Emmanuel Akomaye Agim and Tani Yusuf Hassan, ordered the FCT Minister, FCDA and ENL Consortium Limited to immediately halt the acts of trespass and to remove all machinery or personnel from the plots of land situated within XK Layout, Apo District which belongs to the appellants.

In the lead judgement read by Justice Mustapha, he said, ‘’having resolved all the issues that call for determination in this appeal against the respondents, this appeal succeeds and it is allowed, the judgement of the trial court is hereby set aside.

Neither Haastrup, FCT Minister, FCDA, FHA nor the ENL Consortium Limited appealed the Court of Appeal judgement, but rather enlisting the Nigeria Police to disobey the court order and resorting to self-help.

Meanwhile residents of XK Layout, Apo District in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, over the conduct of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in flouting a judgment of the Court of Appeal and illegal seizure of their property.

The layout, which comprises 78 hectares of land accommodates over 600 families that have been forcefully thrown out of their homes by the police on the orders of the Inspector General. The residents accused him of aiding and abetting a former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Mr. Clement Adesuyi Haastrup, and his company, ENL Consortium Limited, to dispossess them of their property.

Already, an Abuja Chief Magistrate Court issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Mr. Haastrup and the officials of his company for disobedience of a judgment of court, but residents pointed accusing fingers on Mr. Idris for refusing to carry out the order of the court.

Trouble started for the residents in 2009 when the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory attempted to dispossess the residents of their land over which they claimed to have already been given titles by the same government. Several of the residents had already developed their properties and were living on it when they suddenly woke up one day in April 2009, and saw policemen and thugs move in with caterpillars brought by the ENI Consortium, claiming that government have approved the land to be used to build an estate. They were chased out and building on the land demolished.

The residents quickly approached an Abuja High Court and got an interlocutory injunction issued by Justice O.O Goodluck that restrained the Minister from forcing them out of the land pending the determination of the suit. Joined in the suit with the Minister are the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Federal Housing Authority (FHA), the Attorney General of the Federation and ENL Consortium Limited.

After several attempts to get the police to assist the bailiffs of court to execute the judgment, and restore possession to the plaintiffs, the police eventually agreed via a letter dated September 27, 2017, to assist in the provision of security in execution, five months after judgment was delivered at the appellate court. Judgment was eventually executed on October 12, 2017.

The residents were about to heave a sigh of relief when on October 28, 2017, the police from Asokoro District led by the DPO, invaded the land again, chased out the residents, and padlocked the gates that lead to the layout. Till date, armed policemen are on guard while the lawful residents are locked out and left with an option of finding alternative accommodation.

The police did not stop there. They invited the leader of the residents that have been championing their cause since 2009, Dr. Mohammad Musa Tumala, to the FCT Command over a case of “Criminal Conspiracy and suspected culpable homicide”. The police letter was dated November 10, 2017. It was a case of one Orika Ibe Kalu, a water engineer who died on June 22, 2017, in the course of pumping water from an underground septic tank.


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