By Our Correspondent
A High Court in Abuja has restrained a Real estate company, Urban Shelter Limited, from erecting a wall at no 14, Oza-Akugbe street, opposite Arlington Hotel, by Bakori Road, PW, Kubwa Abuja.
The restraining order was handed down in a ruling delivered on the 22nd of December by Justice Asmau Akanbi – Yusuf in a suit with number FCT/HC/CV/639/23/, Motion Number M/2063/23, filed by Richard Ebie.
The court, however, ordered the parties to maintain status quo ante pending the determination of the motion on notice.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, Barrister Richard Ebie, the Lawyer to Chief John Akugbe, one of the residents, whose fence was demolished in the area, said Urban Shelter, had been given an order by the court to put a hold to its plans of building a wall at the front of the gate of his client’s house and at this point status quo ante should be maintained since the matter is yet to be determined by the court.
He said: “Sometime in August last year, we discovered that some people came and erected new Beacons on the plots, abandoning the old Beacons”.
“The new Beacons were shifted backwards into the premises of other houses. Some of the houses were fully covered with Beacons and in our own case, the beacon was shifted behind the fence of my client. We followed up to know what was happening”
“We approached the family of the late Alhaji that sold the plots to most of the residents in that area and we were made to understand that the plot was acquired by Urban Shelter and that it was the one that erected the new Beacons. While we are trying to resolve that, through the family of late Alhaji Usman, then suddenly We discovered that bulldozers are already in the area for demolition. Precisely on 9th of Dec 2023, they brought bulldozers to the area and about five houses were demolished. Our client’s fence and the fences of other houses were demolished. Immediately after the demolition, the Urban Shelter started digging foundation to erect fence on the front of the houses that were not affected by the demolition, trying to completely cut them off so that there will be no more access to those houses”.
“If this fence is allowed to continue, then there will be nothing left for the houses and it will be useless. There will be no access to these houses as they will be completely barricaded.
“Before now, these people who stay in this area had access road and that access road didn’t just come from nowhere. It was from the owner of that area, who sold to Urban Shelter or with whom they have transaction”
“That access road was given to them by the late Alhaji. They have been using that access road for the past 20 years and the road is recognized by the Bwari Local Government Area.
“The Bwari Area Council named the street; Oza-Akugbe Street, after a resident in that area. The Street is recognized by Bwari Area Council, Richard explained.
“Suddenly this people have come and they want to cut off the entire street, barricade it and fence it off so that the street will no longer be available, the people will no longer have access to their houses. That’s the basis upon which we decided to approach the court”.
“We have filled an action in Court and the court in its wisdom has now ordered that the status quo ante be maintained pending the termination of the motion on notice. We filed Writ of Summons, Motion on Notice and Motion Ex-parte. It was upon hearing of the motion Ex-parte that the court ordered that the parties should maintain status quo ante pending the termination of the motion on notice”.
“The motion on notice was adjourned to 29th of December 2023 for hearing but unfortunately because of the challenge of service, all the defendants could not be found because of the holiday. The court further adjourned the matter to a day to be communicated to the parties”.
“The matter is already pending in the court and the parties are to respect the order of the court and maintain the status quo ante while the matter is in court. So, that is the position”.
“What we’re asking the court to do, is not only about the demolition of the fences or the houses but also the attempt to completely cut off access to the houses and take over a street that’s recognized by the Bwari Area Council, so, that’s the challenge that we have”
The Barrister also noted that the Urban Shelter has been served, while the Federal Capital Development Authority and the Minister of the FCT have not been served the notice.
“Urban Shelter has been served, the FCDA and Minister were not available for service. They will be served later. The most important party is Urban Shelter” he added.