By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — In a bid to save Nigeria from further embarrassment, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, Tuesday, urged an Abuja High Court sitting at Bwari to discontinue further hearing on the lingering land dispute between Dame Patience Jonathan and wife of late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua, Turai.
The two women had plunged into cold war after the Certificate of Occupancy for a parcel of land originally allocated to a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, “The Registered Trustee of Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation, WYEF”, a pet project initiated by Turai Yar’Adua, was revoked by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, and re-awarded to Patience Jonathan for the construction of a secretariat of the “First Ladies Peace Mission.”
Specifically, the Registered Trustees of WYEF had applied and was granted an allocation of Plot 1347at the Cadastral Zone A00, Abuja, after paying N184,529,438 as statutory Right of Occupancy and was duly issued with the C of O by the FCT Minister.
Meanwhile, under the terms of grant, the plaintiff was given three years to develop the property based on approved building plans.
After the payments of the various levies, the plaintiff paid additional N76, 936,210.00 as building plan fees after which the grant and approval of the building plans were made and given in line with the master plan for Abuja.
The plaintiff told the court that shortly after it engaged a building company, Al-Cooks Nigeria Limited, to develop the property for N13, 516,013,797.58, the FCT Administration led by Bala Mohammed, on November 1, 2011, asked it to pay additional N18,529,438, which it said was also paid.
It, however, lamented that after the various payments were made, the FCT Minister, without reason, issued a notice of revocation of the said property which it allocated to the plaintiff for the purpose of building public institution (Training/Vocational Centre). It noted that the said letter of revocation was backdated with effect from October 27, 2011.
Meanwhile, Turai’s NGO stressed that it decided to seek redress in court upon discovering that the same piece of land was re-allocated to another organisation sponsored by Jonathan’s wife.
Also joined as defendants in the suit with No. FCT/HC/CV/2591/2010 included the AGF, FCT Minister and the Abuja Geographic Information System, AGIS.
Sequel to the suit, the court presided by Justice Peter Affen, issued an order barring the FCT Administration, AGIS and the AGF from carrying out further activities at the site.
However, while the order of the court was still subsisting, the defendants in defiance of the said order mobilised people to the site to commence construction work.
The action prompted counsel to WAYE, Innocent Lagi, to initiate contempt proceedings against the respective defendants.
Nevertheless, before hearing could commence on the contempt charge, the AGF, last Friday, approached the court, asking it to vacate the restraining order.
Though Justice Affen ordered that all the necessary parties must be put on notice, the AGF, yesterday, re-approached the court, begging it to allow the matter to be settled-out-of court.
Counsel to the AGF, Mr Baba Sa’idu further told the court that his client had already reached out to the aggrieved party for an amicable settlement of the dispute.
After listening to his submissions, Justice Affen adjourned till September 24 to receive the report of settlement.
Meanwhile, the case been adjourned till September 24, 2012 for report of settlement.
Adducing reasons why the case should be discontinued, Adoke earlier told the court “the previous allocations were duly revoked and a fresh allocation made out to the African Peace Mission in overriding interest.”
“The invitations to the members of the African Union’s First Ladies Peace Mission had already gone out and it would be most humiliating for Nigeria in the diplomatic circle to make an about-turn at this time, given, the time constraint to effect any other changes in venue,” he added.
SOURCE: Vanguard Nigeria