Kpokpogri: Court extends restraining order on FCT minister, others
An FCT High Court on Friday extended the order restraining the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Muhammad Bello, from further demolishing the residence of a businessman, Joseph Kpokpogri.
Other Defendants in the suit are the Federal Capital Territory Administration and the Federal Capital Development Authority, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, Federal Housing Authority, and the Attorney General of the Federation.
The injunctive order followed an ex-parte application filed by Kpokpogri through his counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN.
Justice Charles Agbaza held that the order would subsist pending the hearing and determination of the suit before the court.
“This court has the powers to grant an extension of the order in exercise of its discretion so as to preserve the Res (subject matter) of this suit.
“It will serve the interest of justice to allow the order to remain alive until the determination of the matter. Accordingly, this matter is hereby adjourned until Sept. 12”, Justice Agbaza held.
The FCT Minister had through his counsel, Y. Abubakar, urged the court to vacate the restraining order which he said ought to elapse after seven days.
“It is exactly eight days after the order was made.
” The Rule of this court provides that such order shall abate after seven days and there is no formal application for its extension”, Abubakar submitted.
However, Richard Ebie, who represented the claimant on Friday urged the court to revalidate the order which he argued had no definite lifespan until the determination of the case.
“There is no formal application before this court for the ex-parte order made on July 7 to be vacated.
“This is a case where a party had on its own, decided to take laws into its own hands.
” If the order is set aside that means they will have a leeway to continue the demolition”, Ebie added.
After listening to both counsels, Justice Agbaza dismissed the oral application by counsel to the FCT Minister.
Ozekhome had at the last adjourned date, told the court that some persons from the FCDA on May 14, invaded his client’s residence, accompanied by a multitude of heavily armed policemen and bulldozers and excavators”, and commenced the demolition of his house, beginning with the boys quarters.
He alleged that the agents of the FCDA threatened to return for total demolition of Kpokpogri’s house, even though they failed to give any reason for their action.
Consequently, Ozekhome prayed the court to intervene in the matter, in the interest of justice.
Specifically, the court, issued an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants from trespassing on or further trespassing on, demolishing, or further demolishing the property known as Plots 203 and 204, 27 Road, Gusape District, Apo Estate, Abuja.
The plot is said to be covered by letters of allocation issued by the Federal Housing Authority with Ref. No. FHA/BD/ES/APO/P.203 and Ref. No. FHA/BD/ES/APO/P.204.
The order also restrained the defendants from evicting the occupants of the said property or in any way interfering with the plaintiff’s exclusive right of possession of the said property pending the determination of the suit.
The plaintiff, in the suit, is asking the court to order the defendants to pay him aggravated and general damages to the tune of over N2 billion.
Kpokpogri, in an affidavit deposed in support of the motion, said that he was the owner of all the property covered by letters of allocation issued by FHA with reference No. FHA/BD/ES/APO/P.203 and reference No. FHA/BD/ES/APO/P.204.
He averred that he was entitled to the statutory right of occupancy and exclusive possession of the said plots having been lawfully acquired from two separate individuals, Mr. Muyideen Obans and Mrs Alaba Akindele, who were the original allottees of the lands from the (AGF) 6th defendant.
“The letters of allocation of the land to the original allottees dated Jan. 14, 2015, with No. FHA/BD/ES/APO/P.203 and FHA/BD/ES/APO/P.204, issued by FHA Abuja are hereby exhibiting A and Al.” he claimed.