Wednesday, 25 July 2012
Show of Power: Patience Jonathan and Turai Yar'adua flex muscle over Abuja land
Unknown to most Nigerians, the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan is locked in a messy legal battle with her predecessor, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua over a parcel of land in Abuja.
Street Journal gathered that the Certificate of Occupancy of the disputed land, Plot 1347 at the Cadastral Zone A00, Abuja was awarded to a Non-Governmental Organization, “The Registered Trustee of Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation, WAYE”, a pet project that was initiated by Mrs. Yar’Adua in her time as First Lady after the NGO had paid N184,529,438 as statutory Right of Occupancy. An additional sum of N 76,939,210 was also paid as building plan fees after which the grant and approval of the building plans were made and given in line with the master plan of the Federal Capital Territory.
Trouble however started when the Certificate of Occupancy was revoked by Senator Bala Mohammed, the Minister of the FCT and re-awarded to the current First Lady, Patience Jonathan for the construction of the Secretariat of the “First Ladies’ Peace Mission”.
In a redress seeking bid, Mrs. Yar’ Adua’s WAYE approached the court and in a suit with the number FCT/HC/CV/2591/2010, the Attorney General of the Federation, the FCT Minister and the Abuja Geographic Information System were joined as defendants. WAYE averred before the court that shortly after it engaged a building company, Al-Cooks Nigeria Limited, to develop the property for N13, 516,013,797.58, the FCT Administration requested for a payment of another N 18,529,438 which was paid without delay.
The plaintiffs however found it regrettable after the various payments had been made, the Senator Bala Mohammed, the FCT Minister, without reason, issued a notice of revocation of the said property which it allocated to the plaintiff for the purpose of building public institution (Training/Vocational Centre). It was also stated that the said letter of revocation was backdated with effect from October 27, 2011.
Pursuant to the filing of the suit, the court which was presided by Justice Peter Affen, issued an order barring the FCT Administration, AGIS and the AGF from carrying out further activities at the site. Incidentally, in spite of the subsisting order of the court, the defendants mobilised people to the site to commence construction work, thus defying the court order. .
Innocent Lagi, counsel to the WAYE instituted contempt proceedings against the defendants.
But before the hearing on the charges of contempt commenced, the Attorney General of the Federation, Bello Adoke approached the court for a vacation of the restraining order.
The Attorney General again approached the court on Tuesday and pleaded for an out of court settlement of the matter. He told the court through his counsel that the plaintiffs had been reached and an amicable settlement was already in progress. ,
Justice Affen thereafter adjourned till September 24 to receive the report of settlement.
The Attorney General made it known to the court that “the allocation of the land to the African Peace Mission was carried out in overriding interest.” He also begged for an out of court settlement stating that ”invitations to the members of the African Union’s First Ladies Peace Mission had already gone out and it would be most humiliating for Nigeria in the diplomatic circle to make an about-turn at this time, given, the time constraint to effect any other changes in venue”.
The issue has started generating comments from the populace as many believe the occurrence is a power game which is usually won by anyone in power. In some quarters, insinuations are rife that it is payback time for the former First Lady as her successor was hardly visible in those Yar’Adua days.
Posted by Emerald at Wednesday, July 25, 2012