Obasanjo, Abacha land suit: Supreme Court grants two-year adjournment

The Supreme Court, on Monday, granted a request by a firm owned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo — Ibad Limited – for time to regularise its two appeals.

 

A five-member panel of the court led by Centus Nweze, acceded to the request for adjournment sought by Ibad’s lawyer, Ademola Abimbola, on realising that his notices of appeal in appeals marked: SC/261/2017 and SC/262/2017 filed since 2017 were defective.

 

Lawyers to the three respondents in both appeals – Reuben Atabo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) for Consolidated Resources Nig. Ltd (the first respondent) and U. J Obialo for the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCTA) as well as the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), 2nd and 3rd defendants, did not object to Mr Abimbola’s application.

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Obasanjo, Abacha land suit: Supreme Court grants two-year adjournment
Obasanjo, Abacha land suit: Supreme Court grants two-year adjournment

The Supreme Court then adjourned the case till February 6, 2024 for hearing.

 

Appeals
Both appeals are against the December 9, 2016 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja which affirmed an earlier judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in which Consolidated Resources, owned by the late General Sani Abacha, was declared the beneficial owner of a disputed parcel of land in the highbrow Maitama, Abuja.



Ibad is, in both appeals, contended that the Court of Appeal, Abuja, erred when it affirmed the November 13, 2008 judgment by Sunday Aladetoyinbo, a judge of the High Court of the FCT, in suit: FCT/HC/226/1999 without affording it fair hearing.

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History of suit
Consolidated Resources had, through its lawyer, Mr Atabo, sued in 1999, stating that in early 1990s it was duly allocated the parcel of land measuring 2.1 hectares, known as Plot 1263, A6, Maitama District after paying all relevant fees to the FCDA, following which the the FCT Minister, Jerry Useni, issued it with a certificate of occupancy marked: FCT/ABU/MISC/11762 on May 19, 1994.

 

It added that shortly after it commenced construction works on the land, agents of the FCDA and the FCT Minster moved in in 1999 and ordered that further construction works be suspended, prompting it to sue.

 

Consolidated Resources stated that prior to hearing the substantive suit, the judge, Mr Aladetoyinbo, issued an ex-parte order on May 12, 1999 restraining the FCDA and FCT Minister from reallocating any part of the land to any other person or agency pending the final determination of the suit.

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It added that despite the order by the judge, the FCDA and the FCT Minister reallocated part of the land, measuring 3,716.19 square metres, to Ibad Ltd on January 12, 2001.



In his judgment on November 13, 2008, Mr Aladetoyinbo set aside the purported allocation made to Ibad Ltd, and upheld Consolidated Resources’ claim to the land and ordered the FCDA and FCT Minister to re-certify its (Consolidated Resources’) certificate of occupancy in respect of the land.

 

Ibad appealed the decision, but lost at the Court of Appeal, prompting it to now approach the Supreme Court.

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