The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed will tommorow know his fate in the bid by an Abuja based aggrieved property owner to get him committed to prison for allegedly disobeying and disregarding an Abuja High Court order.
Justice Danlami Senchi of the FCT High Court will on the day rule on whether the Minister and four others have a case to answer in the
committal to prison charges brought against them.
Others charged with contempt along with the Minister are former Director of Land in the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) Mrs. Altine Jibrin, Mrs. Ene Dakoru, FCDA Alhaji Yahaya Musa and FCDA who are judgment debtors and respondents.
The Minister who was dragged to the High Court along with the four others on contempt charges for allegedly demolishing a multi-million
hospital premises in spite of an existing court judgment had applied that the contempt charge against him be struck out because he was not
properly served with the court summon on the contempt charge
Bala through his counsel Chidi Agashiese told Justice Danlami Senchi that the contempt charge was served on the Minister through a substituted service involving a newspaper publication as against thepersonal service required by law.
The counsel while asking that the charge be struck out due to improper service insisted that the law only allowed that service of notice in such a case must be personally delivered to the Minister and other accused persons.
He argued that they got to know about the bid to get the Minister jailed for contempt on April 13 when their attentions were drawn to the advertised notice of committal to prison insisting that the process of service was faulty and the charge be struck out
However Chief Ogwu Onoja SAN, counsel to Asher Hospital and Maternity Ltd urged Justice Sench to reject the claims of the Minister on the
The SAN informed the Court that the substituted service was carried out on the Minister through a valid court order issued by the High
Court when Bala and others were deliberately evading service.
Ogwu who complained bitterly to court on how the High Court judgment was being treated with levity and impunity asked Justice Senchi to
safeguard and protect the sanctity of the judiciary by striking out the objection of the Minister to the contempt charge.
The SAN maintained that the objection was baseless, frivolous and lacking foundation because the Minister did not first ask the court to
vacate the substituted service.
However at the end of arguments of both parties, Justice Danlami Senchi fixed ruling for April 23 on whether to sustain the contempt charge or not.
The Minister had been dragged before an Abuja High Court for a committal to prison for allegedly violating, disregarding and
disobeying order of an Abuja High Court.
The contempt charge asking the Court to commit the Minister to jail was filed against him and four others alleged to be in contempt of the
court over a land matter.
In the contempt charge filed on February 22 by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria Chief Ogwu Onoja, the Minister was said to have three times
disobeyed a lawful court order with the demolition of the property of al Medical Institution, Asher Hospital and Maternity Ltd at Katampe
District in Abuja.
Bala and the four others were said to have engaged fully armed soldiers and policemen to pull down the structures.
In an enrolment judgment order attached to the contempt charge, the plaintiff, Asher Hospital and Maternity Ltd was said to have purchased
a Plot of land No. 11197 measuring 1368 square metres at Katampe District from one Alhaji Sahalu Abdulkardir Dantata with certificate
of Occupancy NO. FCT/ABU/KN1357.
However in 2005 during a general re-certification of C of O exercise,the Director of land at the Federal Capital Development Authority
(FCDA) Mrs. Altine Jibril was said to have reduced the size of the land from the original 1368 square meters to 626 square metres for undisclosed reasons in the new C of O issued to the Plaintiffs.
However, Justice Danlami Senchi in his final judgment on July, 3, 2012 nullified the purported revocation and reduction in size of the
Plaintiff land for being wrongful, illegal, null and void and of no legal consequences whatsoever.
The Judge held that the Minister was wrong and in breach of sections 43 and 44 of the 1999 constitution which protects the rights of a
citizen to acquire landed property and be protected from any illegal or unlawful interference.
The Court ordered that the land should not be tampered with but should remain as allotted by the then FCT Minister Major General Jerry old
certificate of Occupancy.
Justice Senchi held that a portion of land can only be revoked from a legitimate owner in an over-riding public interest adding that where no such exists, no Minister has power to deny any Nigeria his entitlement.
However, in spite of the existing court order, the contempt charge indicated that the Minister had demolished the hospital structures three times.