War of the First Ladies: Turai Yar’Adua returns to court as reconciliation talks breaks down

First Lady, Patience Jonathan

Former first lady, Turai Yar’adua, may be heading back to the court after a proposal for an out-of-court settlement of the land dispute with first lady, Patience Jonathan, collapsed on Monday.

In exchange for the contentious plot in the Central Business District of the nation’s capital, Mrs. Yar’Adua was offered a smaller plot in the same area, or a big plot in an undeveloped part of the Federal Capital Territory, a source familiar with the negotiation said Monday night.

Mrs. Yar’Adua, we learnt, rejected both offers. Our source said the former first lady would not accept a smaller plot, and would only agree to an alternative property within the Central Business District or any of the other choice areas in the capital. 

“We are definitely returning to the court,” the source said. “We will have to wait for the court ruling and I can assure you we will go as far as the Supreme Court.”

A saving grace may however be, if Mrs. Jonathan’s team make new acceptable offer. A response to that effect is expected Tuesday, the source said. “We have informed them of our position, and we expect their reply tomorrow.”

Both teams had agreed to explore an out-of-court settlement last week. A report of the progress of settlement is to be filed at an Abuja High court on September 24 when the courts resume from recess.

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The property has pitted the two women against each other, after the FCT minister, Bala Mohammed, revoked its earlier allocation to Mrs. Yar’adua, and reassigned same to Mrs. Jonathan, sparking a legal contest.

The confrontation has given a glimpse into the subtle feud between Mrs. Jonathan and Mrs. Yar’adua since the former president left office.

Allocated to Mrs. Yar’Adua’s Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation (WAYEF) in February 2010, the contentious land was revoked by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, in November 2011 and reallocated to Mrs. Jonathan-led African First Ladies’ Peace Mission after Mr. Yar’Adua’s passing.

The minister, Mr. Mohammed, said the revocation was in public interest.

Last week, Mrs. Jonathan hosted wives of other African leaders in Abuja during which a foundation laying ceremony was performed near the land.

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