28 October 2008

Nigeria: Demolition - Bulet Claims N3 Billion From FCTA

A construction company, Bulet International Limited yesterday asked an Abuja High Court to compel the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Aliyu Modibo Umar to pay N3 billion as compensation over the illegal demolition of its properties in 2007.

The company also accused the former FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai of insincerity in ordering the said demolition of its property based on personal problems he had with Mallam Ismaila Isa, the chairman.

Testifying before the court which was presided over by the Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Lawal Gumi, Ismaila Isa who was led in evidence by his counsel, Ben Anachebe (SAN) told the court that in spite of subsisting orders of the court, the FCT administration under el-Rufai administration still went ahead to demolish his property.

He said: "Barely a few months to the end of the el-Rufai administration in the FCT and in the aftermath of a personal altercation between him and the chairman of the claimant company, Ismaila Isa, an elder statesman and Minister of Water Resources in the second republic, the defendants bared their fangs and wrote letters to the claimant purporting to convey ejection notices with threats and forcible dispossession from the res.

"Even though the second defendant, the Federal Development Authority (FCDA) had other undeveloped properties in the vicinity of the res, the purported eviction letters of December 18th 2006 ascribed to the purpose of ejection to be the current administration's top priority to build the second defendant's head office", he added.

Ismaila Isa maintained: "The dating and timing of the service of the purported ejection letters leave much to be desired, as it exposed the insincerity, malicious and mischievous intentions of the defendants.

"While the defendant's letters of December 18th 2006 was deliberately dropped with the company's security staff during the Christmas vacation when the company had shut for the long holidays, the defendant's letter dated April 20th 2006 was served on the company a year later on May 4th 2007, the same being deliberately backdated to December 18th 2006", he added.

The Bulet chairman therefore prayed the court for an order compelling the defendants to allocate an alternative construction yard to the company within the vicinity of their present yard to aid the completion of the on-going phase II prototype federal ministries' expansive projects for which the yard was originally allocated to the company.

He also sought the following orders: "An order of the court compelling the defendants to pay the company N886, 225,600 as special damages arising from the wanton demolition and destruction/damage of the claimant's machinery, equipment and building structures erected, affixed or lying on the subject land.

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