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Court orders FHA to pay N5m over illegal takeover of Azumbaka family land

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A federal High court sitting in Makurdi and presided over by Justice C. J. Aneke has ordered Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to pay N5 million as general damages to the Azumbaka family in Makurdi Local Government Area, for illegally taking over their land without compensation.

Delivering judgment between Atem Azumbaka, Tsavzer Adia and Terzungwe Azumbaka, who are the applicants and FHA/Attorney General of the Federation (respondents), Justice Aneke noted that the act of the first defendant is unlawful, null and void.

He granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the first defendant by themselves or their privies from entering upon and or interfering with the plaintiffs’ land.

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Following this order, the police last week, evicted occupants of the 82 blocks of three bedroom flats at the Federal Housing Estate, located along University of Agriculture, Makurdi road, a development which saw some of the occupants weeping profusely.

The plaintiffs through their Counsel, Terna Agerzua, on October 28, 2013 filed a writ of summon that, over 100 years ago, their ancestors found, settled and owned a vast parcel of land lying and situated at Azumbaka village at north bank area of the Makurdi council and were farming.

According to the writ, the Federal Government through FHA requested for the land to build estate and later in February 2012, asked for additional piece of land to develop more houses, measuring 2,600 metres by 500 metres.

It said FHA had agreed to pay the family N15 million, provide boreholes and offer employment to two members of the family, but went ahead to develop without fulfilling the agreement.

Reacting to the judgment, counsel to the plaintiffs, Agerzua described the order as sound, saying the defendants couldn’t have obtained judgment in their favour having dumped and abandoned a statement of defence before the court.

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C. J. AnekeFHA
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