Court dismisses residents’ suit against Abuja Minister

FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed

The residents did not want Tudun Wada village in Lugbe, Abuja destroyed. 

An Abuja High Court on Thursday dismissed a suit filed against the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Minister, Bala Mohammed, by some residents of Tudun Wada Village, Lugbe, for abuse of court process.

The villagers had in 2012 sued the minister and the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, over the alleged planned demolition of their property by the defendants.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Angela Otaluka of the Lugbe High Court, dismissed the suit for abuse of court process, saying that the suit was incompetent.

“It is my decision that suit number FCT/HC/CV/4270/12 filed by the plaintiffs is an abuse of court process, incompetent and is, hereby, dismissed.

“The defendants’ preliminary objection to the suit succeeds as all conditions that are prerequisites to their pleas of res-judicata are established.

“The doctrine of res-judicata posits that where a court of competent jurisdiction has settled issues in contention between parties by a final decision, neither party nor their privies may re-litigate that issue again by bringing a fresh action.

“The law does not allow the re-litigation of an issue or cause of action that has been decided by a court or a tribunal of competent jurisdiction between the same parties or their privies,’’ Justice Otaluka ruled.

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Emma Elagwu, a counsel to interested parties, who also claimed to be a resident of Tudun Wada, had moved a preliminary objection to the plaintiff’s suit.

Mr. Elagwu had, on behalf of his clients, argued that the case brought by the plaintiffs had been decided by Justice A.O. Adeniyi in his judgment of December 16, 2010.

He had, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss the suit on the ground of res -judicata, that is, abuse of court process and incompetence.

Similarly, the counsel to the minister and the FCDA, Ukpong Asuquo, in his submission, urged the court to strike out the suit for want of jurisdiction.

He argued that the plaintiffs’ action was “an attempt to get justice through the back-door.’’

The plaintiffs’ counsel, Bala Dakum, had in his submission, said that the minister had illegally allocated his clients’ houses to a real estate company, Anarock Global Concepts Ltd.

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He claimed that the estate developer had gone ahead to mark their houses for demolition and had also carried out construction work on their property in the village.

The plaintiff prayed the court to grant an order, restraining the defendants from further demolishing any property in the community, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Ruling earlier, Justice Otaluka had on September 14, 2012, granted an order for an interlocutory injunction restraining all parties in the suit to maintain the status quo, till final determination of the suit which was done on Thursday.

(NAN)

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