By Bashir Muhammad Inuwa
A Federal High Court sitting in Kano has ordered Kano State Government to pay the Incorporated Trustees of Massallacin Eid Shop Owners the sum 30 Billion Naira compensation for unlawful demolition of their shops without following due processes laid down by law.
Justice Simon Amobeda also averred that the action of Kano State Government against the Applicants is barbaric and unconstitutional.
Justice Amobeda perpetually restrained Kano State Government and other respondents in the suit from entering or taking over piece of land at Massallacin Eid ground until it follows due process and procedures laid down by law.
“Kano State Government and other Respondents are hereby restrained from transfer land or title of the subject matter to any Foriegn or Indigene whatsoever whichout following due process.” Justice Amobeda upheld.
The Court further restrained Respondents from partaking in any action intended to permanently deprive the Applicants of their title interest and their unlawfully demolished business premises in and around the kofar Mata Eid Ground Kano.
Justice Watch News recalls that the Incorporated Trustees of Masallacin Eid Shop Owners and Traders Association and 55 other Applicants approached the Court through their counsel, Dr. Nura A. Ayagi seeking the Court to restrain Kano State Government from unlawfully transferring their Title of demolished bussiness premises at Kofar Mata Eid Ground to Saudi Forieng Firm.
The 8 Respondents in the suit are:
Kano State government, Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA), Attorney General of Kano State, and Nigeria Police Force.
Others are, Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 1, Commissioner of Police Kano State, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC), Commandant, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC) Kano command.
However in a reactions on the judgement, the Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Barr Haruna Isah Dederi said right from the onset, “we have informed the court that it lacks jurisdiction to entertain the case. But it went on and entertain the case being all it can do.
“In anticipation of the outcome of the Court judgement, we have since prepared our documents to Appeal the judgement at the Federal Appeal Court in Kano.” He also said
The Attorney General further said apart from that there is also a new suit that we filed, noting that the case will commence next week
“We petitioned the court that the lands on which the property were erected were illegally obtained.
Hence, whatever is going to be presented on that issue is not something that the law will entertain.”
For example, according to him, Federal High Court did not consider the issue of ownership of the land in it’s judgement. Those who sued the government in the matter were in court to prove that their property were illegally demolished.
He added”This is their demand from the court. They were not at the court to prove that they are owners of the lands on which they erected property.”
He argued that “If you review the case you will see that the court did not talk about the aspect of legal land ownership because it knows it has no jurisdiction for that.
He further argued that on the other hand it is on this aspect that we have put before the Court, to determine the legality of land ownership.
He stressed that “They have done their own and we as law abiding citizens are going to follow the established legal procedure of making an appeal which we have already done.
“There is no way you can stop the government from acting in the best interest of the public by going to court.
“Laws that have to do with land ownership in the state are under the executive powers of the Governor. There is no law and there is nothing anyone can do to stop the Governor from doing what he did.
Barrister Dederi maintained that “i want to disabuse the minds of the public from engaging in any form of celebration in this regard that the court has declared that they be paid N30 billion. They should rather wait for the final judgement.” Dederi said
He revealed that the position of the state government on this is that it does not accept the judgement and is going to appeal. We have since filed our appeal on the case.