Court restrains Minister of FCT, others from demolishing buildings at Trademore Estate in Abuja

“All the houses that are going down were marked and some have been marked as long as three years ago.”

The Nigerian Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Bwari, Abuja, has issued an interim order of status quo restraining the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, his Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection, and Enforcement, Attah Ikharo, and the Abuja Department of Development Control (AMMC) from demolishing any building and plots of land belonging to Foluke Daramola Braimoh at the Trademore Estate in Lugbe.

The order was issued by the presiding judge, Justice M. A Mudagu, on Wednesday, July 6, 2022.

Recall that the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, in May approved the removal of 23 houses earlier marked for demolition at the Trade More Estate, Lugbe, Abuja Municipal Area Council.

Responding to the verdict immediately after the court session, Braimoh’s attorney, Samuel Ihensekhien Jnr., stated that the FCT Minister and his Special Assistant have been operating with impunity and in defiance of the Nigeria Urban and Regional Planning Act.
Ihensekhien said that the minister and his aide gave no notice to the inhabitants of Trademore Estate before appearing on broadcast to threaten and demean the estate’s structures and dwellings.

The lawyer noted that “the court case was a step to prevent such flagrant and outright abuse of governmental powers by the AMMC, the minister and his Special Assistant,” adding that “all steps will be taken to enforce the interim orders of the court to the letter on the minister, his Special Assistant and the AMMC.

According to Ihensekhien, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) had previously designated 100 residences for destruction in Trademore Estate, 30 of which had been demolished as of Wednesday.
The lawyer, on the other hand, stated that the FCT Task Force Team, commanded by Ikharo, stated that the goal of the demolition was to prevent flooding, since floods had been recorded in the region.
In September 2021, it was reported that at least three people perished in the estate during a severe downpour.
Ihensekhien stated that Ikharo had alleged that the area’s periodic floods, particularly during the rainy season, had caused significant damage to property.

The legal practitioner quoted Ikharo as saying that “Some developers are fond of carrying out excessive development on the flood plain in Trademore Estate in violation of building codes and the master plan of the FCT. This situation is also very disturbing to the FCT Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello, who authorized the demolition exercise.

“All the houses that are going down were marked and some have been marked as long as three years ago. Some were marked at foundation level, window level, and roofing level. The final marking was about four days ago. And we gave them 48 hours plus an extended grace of 24 hours.”

According to the lawyer, Ikharo stated that the FCTA was still in discussions with key parties at the estate on how they may use the Solution Act to determine the destiny of the other 70 identified properties in the area.

However, Ihensekhien maintained that with the court’s interim order, “all issues between the minister and his client on this plot of land/building are now subjudice and any attempt made by the minister and his Personal Assistant will incur the wrath of the court, as any further atrocious step by the authorities above will lead to contempt of court against them.”

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