An Abuja High Court will on Sept. 10 decide whether the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Bala Mohammed, has powers to demolish Lugbe, a surburb of Abuja.
The residents of Tudun-Wada and Sauka-Kauta Areas sued the FCT challenging its powers to demolish their buildings.
In the suit, the residents had prayed the court to grant an injunction restraining the minister or his agents from demolishing their homes, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Justice Husseini Yusuf reserved the ruling after hearing counsel to the residents, Mr Ejike Okpara and counsel to the defendant, Dr Amaechi Nwaiwu (SAN).
Okpara had asked the court to declare the marking and proposed demolition of houses of his clients as illegal on the grounds that they violated Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution.
He averred that neither the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) nor the minister could claim to be unaware that his clients had lived in the Lugbe for more than 20 years.
However, the FCT minister's counsel, Nwaiwu, in a preliminary objection prayed the court to discountenance the application.
Nwaiwu urged the court to dismiss the motion because the plaintiffs had not established any "legal rights" that needed to be protected through an injunction.
He told the court that the plaintiffs were not indigenes, as being argued by their counsel.
Nwaiwu also submitted that Section 297(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), vested the ownership of all lands in the FCT in the Federal Government of Nigeria.
He further argued that ownership of land in the territory, therefore, did not customarily vest in individual indigenes or chiefs in the FCT.
The counsel, prayed the court to refuse the application and dismiss same.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the FCT had on July 17, announced that 20 villages around Abuja would be demolished.
Mrs Josie Mudashiru, the spokesperson of the Department of Development Control of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), listed the villages as Idu, Karmo-Dape, Tasha, Gwagwa, Suburi, Zauda, and Jahi.
Others are: Gishiri, Mabushi, Mpape, Kuchigoro, Chika, Aleita, Piwoyi, Lugbe, Pyakassa, Tudun-wada, Dei-dei, Sauka-Kauta and Guzape villages NAN