Leaders and Company Limited, operators of the popular events centre, Thisday Dome in the Federal Capital Territory has lost in its bid to hang onto the center as Court of Appeal, Abuja Division at the weekend ordered Abuja Investments Limited to take over the property with immediate effect.
In its judgment in the appeal filed by Leaders and Company challenging the decision of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory delivered on 26th May, 2014 which had earlier directed the Abuja Investments Limited to take possession of the said events centre, the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision read by Justice Abubakar Datti Yahaya, held that the appeal lacks merit in toto and accordingly dismissed it.
According to Justice Yahaya, “there is no doubt that the appellant (Leaders and Company Limited) has gone to the length it had, only to continue to keep using and occupying the premises of the respondent, fully knowing that it is not so entitled. The sooner we realise in this country, that business should be done substantially in good faith, the better for us.
“This entails honouring agreements entered between parties so that peace and development would be the end result.
This is one case that should not have gone to court at all. This appeal lacks merit in toto and I dismiss it, with N100,000 costs to the respondent against the appellant,” he stated.
Justice Yahaya further held that “it is clear from the record that the respondent had led documentary and oral evidence in support of its case. The tenancy agreement was clearly for a fixed period and definite period of two years and it had expired without proof by any party, that it had been renewed, when, by who and on what terms.
“There was no evidence led by the appellant, satisfactorily establishing that it had paid all the rents due and had vacated and delivered up the possession of the premises to the respondent.
It has been shown that the statutory notice of owner’s intention to recover the premises had been duly served on the appellant which had not filed any application to challenge it,” he added.
Justice Yahaya further held that “in the circumstance, the trial court had properly evaluated the evidence led before it, had applied the law correctly, and had arrived at the correct conclusion. There is no feature in it that would warrant interfering with the judgment since it is the duty of the trial court to evaluate the evidence and make primary findings of facts. When correctly done, an appellate court cannot interfere.”
Specifically, Leaders and Company had through its Counsel, I. F. Chude gone to the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory which had earlier granted possession of the premises of the Thisday Dome measuring 1.73 hectares and situated at and known as Plot 702 Cadasral Zone A00 which was held under lease for a fixed and term of two years which expired on 30th April, 2011.