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El-Rufai, Abachas’ out-of-court settlement over hotel demolition hits rock

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The move by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and the family of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, to settle out of court over the demolished Durbar Hotel hit the rocks yesterday.

Counsel to the Abacha family, Reuben Atabo, told the Kaduna State High Court presided over by Justice Hannatu Balogun that he was served ‘Notice of Preliminary Objection’ by the defendants, adding that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.

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Atabo, represented by, Folake Adeneye, told the court: “Though the actual structure of Durbar Hotel was destroyed, it’s Certificate Of Occupancy (C of O) still subsists. So we are left with no option than to proceed with the case by asking for the setting aside of the revocation of the hotel.”

But counsel to the defendants (Kaduna State Director of Litigation in the Ministry of Justice), Sanusi Usman, said: “It appears they are not interested in settlement any more. But we are interested. Do we take that the issue of settlement has broken down?”

The judge adjourned the case till March 18, for the general hearing of preliminary objections.

In the Notice of Preliminary Objection, Usman, however, insisted that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case because the due process of law was not initiated.

He pointed out: “The present action discloses no reasonable cause of action against the first and second defendants herein. There is no actionable dispute whatsoever between the plaintiff and the first and second defendants herein that warrants the invocation of the judicial powers of this court.

“This court cannot, therefore, exercise jurisdiction in this, as same was not initiated by due process of law.”

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