Chukwuemeka Njoku, Abuja
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Maitama, on Thursday, declared “null and void”, the revocation of a Certificate of Occupancy issued to Bunmi Yusuf, in respect of a property situate at plot No. 329 Cadastral Zone 805 Utako district Abuja,
Consequently, the court has ordered the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to issue the Certificate of Occupancy in the name of Kaydee Court’s Ltd, the lawful Attorney, who sued on behalf of Bunmi Yusuf.
Justice S. E Aladetoyinbo gave the order in a judgement on a suit filed since 2008, wherein the plaintiff had challenged the purported revocation of its rights in respect of the property at No 329 cadastral Zone 805 Utako district Abuja, FCT/ABU/OD/1482.
In the suit marked FCT/HC/CV/1007/2008, the plaintiff is Bunmi Yusuf, who sued through his lawful Attorney KayDee Court Ltd.
Defendants in the suit were Ahmed Adamu Na’Ali (1st), Robco Investment Nig. Ltd (2nd), Minister of Federal Capital Territory (3rd), and Federal Capital Development Authority (4th).
Delivering judgement, Justice Aladetoyinbo held that “Having purchased plot 329 from the 3rd defendant with constructive and imputed notice of the earlier interest of the plaintiff on the same plot 329, the 1st defendant cannot benefit from it’s transaction as he purchased nothing.
“When the Minister of Federal Capital Territory allocated plot 329 within Utako District, Abuja to the plaintiff sometimes on the 1st of June 1996, the Minister of FCT was no longer in possession of the said plot.
“Possession resides with the plaintiff.”Allocation of plot 329 to the 1st defendant is illegal, null and void” the court stated.
“The Minister of Federal Capital Territory cannot validly allocate plot 329 to the 1st defendant when he was no longer in possession of the said plot” Justice Aladetoyinbo said.
Satisfied with oral and documentary evidence filed before the court, Justice Aladetoyinbo therefore declared that the purported revocation of the right of the plaintiffs in plot No 329 cadastral Zone 805 Utako district Abuja, FCT/ABU/OD/1482 is null, void and of no effect”.
The court also held that the interests of the plaintiffs are still subsisting in the land and they are persons with sufficient interest in same.
In addition, the court made an order restraining the 3rd defendant from granting to another person other than the plaintiffs, interest in Plot No 329, cadastral zone B, Abuja.More so, Justice Aladetoyinbo declared as null and of no effect, any certificate granted to any person other than the plaintiff.
The court also ordered the 3rd & 4th defendants to issue the certificate in the name of KAYDEE COURT LIMITED, having registered the power of Attorney by the 3rd and 4th defendants and all necessary fees paid.
But the court declined the plaintiff’s relief which had sought, “An order of the court canceling and ordering removal or demolition of any purported issuances of certificate of occupancy or building plains, or development on the said plot in favour of any person than those of plaintiffs or agents.
Instead, Aladetoyinbo posited that whatsoever that is on the said plot 329 belongs to the plaintiff.
The plaintiff’s prayers for award of N5 million as damages for trespass and N3.5 million being the cost of the action were refused by the court.
In arguing it’s case, the plaintiff had formulated 3 (three) issues for the court to determine, which were;
“Whether or not, from the totality of the evidence before the court, the plaintiff had discharged the onus of proof placed upon him by law on the preponderance of evidence led on record to warrant a grant of the reliefs sought in this suit.
“Whether the evidence of 3rd and 4th sefendants can be relied upon to justify the purported revocation of Certificate of Occupancy validly granted to the plaintiff.
“Whether the purported notice of revocation is valid in law”.
In his written address, the plaintiff’s counsel, Ademola Adewoye had submitted that the 3rd and 4th defendants failed totally to comply with any of the pre-conditions for valid revocation of the Right of Occupancy issued to the plaintiff by the 3rd and 4th defendants.
“It is not in dispute that the 3rd & 4th defendants duly granted the plaintiff Right of Occupancy over the said Plot in November, 2001.
“The Right of Occupancy granted were issued personally by the 3rd defendant, this is in accordance with Section 50 (2) of the Land Use Act which empowers the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any Minister designated by him in that behalf” the plaintiff’s argued.
“My Lord, from both oral and documentary evidence before the court, we submit, that the plaintiff has proved his case satisfactorily for all the reliefs claimed to succeed.
“The 1st and 2nd defendants did not proof anything before the court and so does not have any defence to the plaintiff’s claim.
The plaintiff had, by it’s statement of claim, tendered admissible documentary and oral evidence in proof of its case, and therefore urged the court to grant it’s reliefs. END.