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Takeover of Abacha’s land: Judge carpets El-Rufai for flouting court order

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Takeover of Abacha’s land: Judge carpets El-Rufai for flouting court order

Governor Nasir El-Rufai has been accused of disrespecting a court order restraining him from taking over land belonging to Durbar Hotel in Kaduna, owned by the Abachas.

The state government demolished the property at 14A Sokoto Road in December 2020, an action the relatives of the late former Head of State protested.

In Suit No. KDH/KAD/51/2020 filed that same month at the Kaduna State High Court, Durbar Hotel accused the authorities of forceful takeover and misuse of power.

The management sued El-Rufai, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the Urban Planning and Development Agency, and the Kaduna State Geographic and Information Service (KADGIS).

In March 2023, the court issued an order of interim injunction stopping the defendants/respondents from developing or tampering with the property pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

In the Certified True Copy (CTC) dated April 18, 2023, and obtained by DAILY POST, Justice H. A. L. Balogun, in his ruling, declared: “Having considered the plaintiff’s motion of 17/12/2020. which is uncontested, I am of the view that the application has merit in view of the grounds, the unchallenged affidavit, and the exhibits annexed,” he said.

Balogun however, condemned the conduct of the Kaduna government, stressing that the highest court in Nigeria is against taking the law into one’s hands.

“The Supreme Court and indeed all courts of the land have decried the use of self-help by litigants,” the judge continued.

“It is the duty of the courts to provide a level playing field for all parties and not allow any side to use the judicial system side by side with self-help to the disadvantage of the other.”

Despite the order, El-Rufai allegedly allocated parts of the land to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

Residents in the state say the governor hinged his position on public interest and his power of revocation as the chief executive of the state.

An associate of the Abacha family, Usman Nura, alleged that the matter dates back to when the governor was Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“El-Rufai tried to revoke the sale of Durbar Hotel from when he was at the helm of affairs at the BPE. He also tried when he was FCT Minister. The family was only able to win the case at the Supreme Court in 2017,” Nura claimed.

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