Demolition of Gudu Park: Plot to send FCT Minister, others to jail exposed

By AdvocateNews on 20/07/2022

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*As desperate officials resort to self-help, ignoring court order

Plots by desperate officials of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to send the Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello, to the prison has been exposed.

Also to be committed to prison if the plans succeed are the Coordinator of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Agency (AMMA), the Director of the Parks and Garden and the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command.

This is becauae some officials of the Abuja Parks and Garden in consort with their collaborators at the Abuja Metropolitan Management Agency (AMMA) carry out series of activities to frustrate judgments of the High Court of the FCT, restraining the minister, "his agents or privies from demolishing or threatening to demolish" named Gardens and Parks, even after the court had ruled 9n the matter.

Worse is that the officials remain unrelenting in their bid to bring the minister in collusion with the judiciary by hiding information regarding the court judgements from the minister, inspite of the pending appeal filed by the agencies they supervise on the issues.

Investigations have revealed that these unscrupulous officials nurse the ulterior motive of grabbing some already developed parks from their owners and appropriating same through cronies.

It was discovered that these greedy FCT officials after failing to obtain huge sums of money demanded from the Park owners, would turn around to fabricate sundry "violations" of Park and Garden Laws, in an attempt to grab such places from their original allottees. 

For instance, with respect to Park No 269A, BO1, located near the Federal Government College, Gudu, Abuja, these officials are in disregard of a judgment of the High Court in suit No FCT/HC/CV/1341/2017 given in the hand of Justice Peter Affen on Tuesday, December 17, 2019.

In the suit, Wizel Holdings (WA) Ltd, allortee of the Garden had dragged the FCT Minister, the Coordinator, AMMC,  the CP-FCT and FCDA to court to restrain them from demolishing the park and improvements made on the 2.5 heaters of the Green Area granted the applicant for development into a relaxation and recreational center under the Parks and Garden rules.

Counsel to Wizel Holdings, Barr. Kenneth Anakwe, had in the suit convinced the court that having leased out the said parcel of land to the applicant sometime in 2007 and the applicant having spent so much money to recover the erosion ravaged land, turning it to a beautiful amusement Park and having paid all prescribed fees and rates to the FCT as and when due, and  carrying out legitimate businesses therein, it was unlawful for the defendants (FCT Management) to have issued demolition notice dated 20/3/2017 and given only 48 hours to the applicant to evacuate what they considered nuisance in the Garden, that is, a religious prayer group using a small portion of the garden for their religious activity.

During the trail, Mrs. Helen Ajayi, a Principal Technical Officer 1 in the Department of Parks and Recreation, AMMA, testified as the sole witness for the defendants.

Having exchanged briefs, addressed the court and closed their cases, Justice Affen on December 17 granted four of the five reliefs sought by the applicant (Wizel Holdings Ltd) declaring that the company "is entitled to peaceful possession and occupation of the said Park, measuring 2.5 heaters situate at Gudu District, Abuja".

The court further issied "an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agencies, departments, allies, agents, officers, workmen and all those deriving or claiming through them from further threat of demolition, demolition and revocation of the claimant's interests and development in Park No 269A, BO1, Gudu Park, measuring 2.5 heaters situate in Abuja except in compliance with the law".

The court also decided that "since the claimant sought to protect its right to possession of Gudu Park, I entertain no reluctance whatsoever in finding that the claimant is eminently qualified to peaceful occupation and possession of the Gudu Park, which should not be disturbed or otherwise interfered with by the defendants or their servants".

Not satisfied, the defendants two years ago, precisely on 10th March, 2020, appealed against the judgment, marked CA/A/.../2020 (FCT/HC/CV/1341/2017), drawn on their behalf by Barr. E. C. Ikeji of Liberty Chambers, Fatimah Plaza, Abuja, still pending at the appelate court in Abuja.

But, trouble started two weeks ago when the management of Wizel Holdings (WA) Ltd, received another set of demolition threats from the FCT officials, an act which was considered as illegal, and a resort to self-help given the appeal.

Trouble started when Mr. William Emengini, the Managing-Director of Wizel Holdings Ltd, was invited to the Parks and Garden office located Abuja Zoological Garden, near Aso Rock, and handed over a purported decision of the FCT Minister to parcel out the Garden into three unequal parts in order to satisfy the interests of some unnamed interlopers, a decision that was rejected by Wizel Holdings Ltd since the matter is being adjudicated upon.

Since then, Wizel Holdings Ltd has been receiving threat messages and ultimatum from both the Demolition and Legal Sections of Parks and Garden coercing him to either accept the ultimatum or lose the already developed Garden to some other persons who are believed to be instigating the brigandage.

Analysts say that if the Parks and Garden Management goes in breach of the judgmentof the court, the FCT Minister, the Coordinator, AMMA, the CP-FCT and the Director, Parks and Gardens, will all be jailed for contempt, in addition to paying billions of Naira in damages to Wizel Holdings (WA) Ltd.

At the moment, Barr. Anakwe is drawing up contempt proceedings against the Minister and others saying "is the only option left to us having fulfilled every step in resolving this matter to its conclusion with the judgement.

"I had since 28th April, 2022, written and served the minister and other officials with notices drawing attention to pending contemptuous act of their officers, appealing to them to abide by the court judgement.

"If he is caught up with the law, I am sure he has his officers to blame as we have fulfilled all righteousness to warn him of the consequences of disobedience of court order".

An aide of the Minister, who pleaded anonymity said Bello is unaware of any further act of his officers aside the court judgment.

He noted that several officials at the FCTA engage in unwarranted activities that have negative consequences, adding that the matter would be looked at to avert any undesirable consequences.

 

Posted 20/07/2022 10:26:16 AM

 

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