A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja has declined an application by a daughter of former President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua, Zainab, for a restraining order against the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and three others over a disputed plot of land.
Ms Yar’adua through her counsel, Sebastine Hon, filed a motion on notice praying the court to issue an injunctive order to stop the FCT minister and other defendants sued in her suit from taking any further actions on the disputed land.
The ex-president’s daughter, through her company, Marumza Estate Development Company Limited, is laying claim to the land at Plot 506, Cadastral Zone B09, Kado District, Abuja.
The ownership claim was voided by the Federal Capital Development Authority FCDA upon discovery that the Irrevocable Power of Attorney used to procure the land through alleged donation was allegedly forged, prompting her to file a suit to challenge the action.
However, when her motion was about to be moved, the presiding judge, Olukayode Adeniyi, asked parties in the case to go into the substantive matter instead of seeking injunctive orders.
The judge held that request for injunctive order at the stage of the suit would not only delay the hearing of the matter but will affect the substantive claims and counter-claims in the case.
Based on agreement of parties, the Mr Adeniyi ordered that status quo be maintained pending the resolution of the issues in dispute.
The court ordered accelerated hearing into the case and adjourned its definite hearing till October 12, 13 and 15, 2021.
The daughter of former President and ex-wife to former Kebbi governor, Saidu Dakingari through her company, Marumza Estate Development Company Limited, sued another Company, Itban Global Resources Limited, its founder, Halliru Saad Malami, FCT minister and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) as 1st to 4th defendants respectively on the disputed land.
She claimed that the plot of land was donated to her through an irrevocable power of attorney executed at the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) by Itban Global Resources Limited through a purchase.
In a writ of summons dated June 24, 2021, with suit number: CV/1270/2021, Ms Yar’Adua’s company urged the court to order the 1st defendant, Itban, who had allegedly given an “irrevocable power of attorney” over the disputed property to surrender the land to her firm.
She added that having been issued with irrevocable power of attorney on the plot of land, Itban Global Resources Limited had transferred its interest in the land to her own company, Marumza Estate Development Company Limited.
The claimant urged the court to make an order compelling Itban Global Resources Limited, 1st defendant and its directors including Mr Malami (2nd defendant) to executive within 72 hours of the delivery of judgment on the matter, a “Deed of Assignment in favour of her company.
She further sought an order compelling the FCT minister and the FCDA to do all that is necessary to vest the legal ownership of the disputed property in her within 30 days from the delivery of the verdict.
While seeking the sum of N500 million as general damages, the claimant equally asked the court to issue a perpetual order of injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants and their agents from laying claim to the property.
However, in a counter-affidavit by Mr Malami and his company filed by their counsel, Remi Olatubora,they alleged that Ms Yar’Adua, using one Sani Rabo and others as “fronts,” unlawfully procured documents pertaining to the disputed property in the name of the 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.
Itban alleged that one Sani Rabo who knew the history of the land conspired with the claimant to forge letters, power of attorney, resolutions, among others, to fraudulently transfer ownership of the land to the claimant.
The 1st and 2nd defendants claimed that two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Joseph Bodunde Daoudu and Rickey Tarfa, who were earlier engaged by the claimant, withdrew their chambers from the suit upon the discovery of magnitude of fraud used to fraudulently claim the land.
Claiming that the land was allocated to them on June 5, 2009 upon payment of all mandatory fees, the two defendants said the land was not developed because it was then in the bush.
They claimed that the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism employed by FCDA resolved the matter in their favour following the presentation of their title documents that made FCDA to void and cancel the purported power of attorney that fraudulently transfer the land to Ms Yar’adua.
In their 72- paragraph affidavit, the two defendants described Ms Zainab’s company as a sham having been allegedly registered in gross violation of Company And Allied Matters Act (CAMA) which guides the operations of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Specifically, they alleged that the two directors claimed to have registered the company on July 15, 2009, Umar Ibrahim Lange, and Maryam Sa’idu, were her biological children from her two former husbands who were seven and one years old, respectively, at the time they were used as directors to secure registration in breach of CAMA laws.
Mr Malami, who deposed to the counter-affidavit dated June 7, 2021, averred that Ms Yar’Adua “unlawfully” erected a structure on the property in dispute without the knowledge of the FCDA or the authority of his company.
He, however, claimed that since he discovered Zainab Yar’Adua’s trespass on the land in dispute in March this year (2021), his own company and its directors have been in effective occupation of the land.
The two defendants pleaded certified true copies of documents obtained from Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and FCDA to counter the claim of the claimant and to establish their ownership of the land.