23 January 2018

Nigeria: Patience Jonathan Cries Out Over Demolished Abuja Properties

Photo: The Guardian
Patience Jonathan.

Wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, has told Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, how some Abuja properties linked to her Foundation were demolished.

According to the former First Lady, the demolition took place despite a suit in respect of the property pending before a sister court presided ove by Justice John Tsoho.

During yesterday's sitting, the court was supposed to hear a preliminary objection filed by counsel to Mrs Jonathan, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, challenging jurisdiction of the court to entertain an exparte motion brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The EFCC's motion was aimed at seeking temporary forfeiture of the Abuja properties belonging to Mrs Jonathan, situated at plot No. 1758, Cadastral Zone, B06 Mabushi and plot No.1350, Cadastral Zone, A00 Central Business District, Abuja.

But before moving his preliminary objection, Ozekhome informed the court that the buildings, which were the subject matter of the litigation, had been demolished.

Ozekhome, who was visibly dismayed by the act, told the court that the properties were demolished by the federal government, whose agent, the EFCC, had come to court seeking an interim forfeiture of the property.

"My Lord, we are in a democracy, not dictatorship. Demolition of the properties which are a subject matter of a suit before the court is the highest level of lawlessness and disregard to the rule of law. It is an act of intimidation on the judiciary.

"You cannot destroy properties already a subject matter of a suit before a court whether done directly or indirectly by government or EFCC."

When the court asked the EFCC lawyer, Benedict Manji on what transpired, he denied knowledge of the demolition.

Considering the development, Justice Dimgba stated that he could not make any order that would become academic or hypothetical.

He adjourned further hearing to February 26 for parties to canvass all issues in respect of the matter.

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