Controversy has continued to trail demolition of an Abuja property next door to the Abuja residence of the Chief of Staff to the President and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike who ordered the demolition had allegedly ignored a court order.
The property, which is owned by an entity known as Shrodder Nigeria Limited, is located at the Cadastral Zone of the Maitama District.
Controversy over the demolition has, however, been brought to the attention of President Bola Tinubu.
Disputation over the land began last year, precisely on October 4, when the former Minister of the FCT, Mallam Muhammad Bello, and officials of the Federal Capital Development Authority abruptly invaded the property.
It was gathered that a day after the invasion, on October 5, the then Minister gave an order to the FCDA sealing off the property and also deposited a detachment of mobile policemen to lock out construction workers from gaining entry into the property.
According to documents, the sealing off of the property was without prior notice of infraction.
Consequently, the owners of the property caused a legal action of trespass and unlawful occupation against the Minister of the FCT and the FCDA.
The law suit was filed on October 10, 2022 in suit number FCT/HC/CV/3449/2022: SHRODDER NIGERIA LIMITED & 1 OR vs MINISTER OF THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY & 1 OR, before Justice Abubakar Musa of High Court of the FCT.
Judgement on the case was entered on April 4, this year in favour of the complainant.
The trial judge in his ruling said unequivocally, “that an order of perpetual injunction is hereby made restraining the defendants from further interfering with the 1st Claimant’s lawful use, quiet possession, occupation of the plot.
“That the forceful take over and occupation by the defendants of the plot on the 5th day of October 2022 constitutes an act of trespass.
“That the defendants are hereby ordered to vacate with immediate effect, the Claimant’s property, unseal the property and to remove forthwith the mobile policemen they had unlawfully and illegally installed on the property since on the 5th day of October, 2022.”
The Judge went further to stipulate penalties in damages in favour of the Claimants.
It was gathered that neither the Minister of the FCT nor the FCDA appealed the judgment of the High Court.
Although the FCDA refused to comply with the order of the court in removing the seal order on the property, a new twist was made to the controversy when, last week Tuesday, September 19, the new Minister of the FCT, Wike invaded the property with bulldozers to bring it down.
The action by Wike was devoid of a prior notice of demolition and in direct violation of the April 4, 2023 ruling of a court on the matter.
It was gathered that the machinery deployed to pull down the property failed to accomplish the task because of the structural fortification on the property, a development that was said to have infuriated Wike who then ordered that the property should be razed to the ground.
The expansive property, which is a next-door neighbour to Gbajabiamila, was eventually brought down on Thursday, 28 September.
Sources who worked on the property said that the property had been there long before Gbajabiamila assumed occupancy of his ultra modern property in 2019 when he was Speaker of the House of Representatives.
It was also gathered that the topmost floor of the property, before it was pulled down, was said to be overlooking the private swimming pool on Gbajabiamila’s property.
An SOS letter that was written to President Tinubu on the controversy, dated September 26, reads in part: “Our earlier letters to the Honourable Minister of the FCT on the referenced respectively dated 14 October, 2022 and 19 April, 2023 refer.
“On the 5th day of October, 2022, the plot was sealed off by men of the Nigeria Police Force who remained posted on the plot on the apparent directive of the Honourable Minister of the FCT who had visited the property earlier on the 4th October, 2022.
“We must state right away that the demolition of our client’s property from the 19th September, 2023 is unlawful, contemptuous, brazen and a volte-face sabotage of every tenets of the rule of law to which your excellency swore to extol.
“Your Excellency, our client’s title to the referenced property is unencumbered. The development of the plot was with approvals from the FCDA.
“Upon reasonable apprehension of infraction on our right to the referenced property, our clients commenced suit challenging the unlawful seal, and post of men of the Nigeria Police Force on its property as well as seeking perpetual injunctions, restraining the Minister of FCT and the FCDA from trespassing on our client’s property.
“Judgement was delivered by the High Court of the FCT in favour of our client on the 4th day of April 2023 whereof the court granted the reliefs sought by our client.
“It was following the referenced judgement of the court that Inspector General of Police directed the unsealing of our client’s property by men of the Nigeria Police Force.”
“It is significant to mention that the Honourable Minister of the FCT and the FCDA were all represented by Counsels in the litigation process. It is even more significant to mention that in the Defence of the Minister of FCT and FCDA, it was admitted that our client’s title to property is unencumbered. No infraction whatsoever was alleged in the joint defence.
“Upon arrival at the site of the 19th of September 2023, when the demolition commenced, our client confronted the Director,
Development Control of the FCDA who was supervising the demolition, with the referenced judgment of the court on the subject-matter.
“The Director expressed regrets and stated that if he had remembered the judgment, he would not have commenced the demolition and quickly aborted further demolition of the property.
“Sadly, the FCDA returned to the property on the 21st September 2023 and continued with the demolition.
“We humbly seek the intervention of Your Excellency to stop the Honourable Minister of the FCT brazen affront, indiscretion and utter desecration to the rule of law and direct reimbursement to our client.”
31 retired directors get FCTA commendations for outstanding Service
For making remarkable contributions to the administration, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, (FCTA), has honoured 31 retired Directors from 1st April to 30th June, 2023.
Special Aasviser on Media to FCT Minister of State Austine Elemue indicated that the retired Directors are from the Federal Capital Territory Administration and the Federal Capital Development Authority respectively.
At the ceremony held to honour the retired Directors, FCT Minister of State, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, stated that their dedication and leadership have left an indelible mark on the Administration in particular and the territory in general.
The minister called on those who are still in service to carry forward the legacy of excellence they have left behind, just as she prayed that their well-earned retirement be filled with joy, relaxation, and new adventures.
Her words: “I have been informed that throughout their tenure, these Directors steered our ship through challenges, inspired teams, and played a pivotal role in our success.
“Their wisdom and experience have been the guiding force behind many achievements recorded today. These Directors have been mentors, friends, and pillars of support to many of us who are still in service.
“I can boldly say that their impact extends beyond boardrooms, as these persons we celebrate today have helped in shaping the very fabric of the FCT Administration and beyond”.
While expressing gratitude for their unwavering commitments and commendable leadership, Mahmoud assured that the FCT Administration would continue to call on them for professional guidance.
“Though they may be retiring from official roles, their influence will endure,” she affirmed.
In his address, the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, commended them for bowing out of service unblemished, noting that their conduct would be emulated by those still in service.
Adesola said: “For us to end like them, it is incumbent on us to continue discharging our duties in line with the extant laws and in accordance with the dictates of the Civil Service Rules, the ethics of the Service, as well as global best practices”.
He, therefore, charged those in service to make hardwork, integrity, honesty, loyalty, incorruptability and professionalism their guiding light and principles as they continue in the delivery of excellent service and infrastructure to the public.
On her part, the Ag. Director Reform Coordination and Service Improvement, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, who spoke on behalf of the planning committee noted that the retired Directors have devoted themselves to upholding the values and mission of the Administration, demonstrating unwavering commitment and leadership throughout their distinguished careers.
She further noted that their hard work and guidance have undeniably left an indelible mark and have helped shape the Administration into what it is today.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of gift items to deserving directors for their outstanding performance by the FCT Minister of State.
FCT Minister of State Reaffirms FG’s Commitment To Ease of Doing Business
The FCT Minister of State, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, has reaffirmed federal government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for “Ease of Doing Business”.
Special Adviser on Media to Austine Elemues in a statement said the spoke at a time the nation is threshold of unprecedented investment opportunities,
He quoted the minister to have spoken this at the 6th edition of Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit with the theme: “New Vistas, New Aspirations, New Visions: The Diaspora and National Development”.
Mahmoud, who was represented by the Director, Economic Planning, Research & Statistics, Mrs. Joy Uzodinma, also stressed that the summit was a testament to the importance the government placed on harnessing the skills, resources, and expertise of the global Nigerian community.
While recognizing the vital role the diaspora community plays in this endeavor, Mahmoud assured the diaspora community that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s government is committed to ensuring a more transparent and investor-friendly climate.
“Nigeria, with its rich cultural diversity and vast economic potential, is ripe for strategic investments. I, therefore, encourage you, the diaspora, to be active participants in this transformative journey.
“Your skills and experiences gained abroad are invaluable assets that can contribute significantly to the growth and development of various sectors in Nigeria, from technology and healthcare to agriculture and renewable energy.
“The time is now for us to join forces and build a stronger, more prosperous Nigeria together,” she stressed.
Mahmoud further stated that despite the challenges that may exist, the government is committed to addressing them collaboratively.
According to her; “Your insights and feedbacks are crucial in shaping policies that will facilitate a seamless integration of diaspora investments into our national development in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present government”.
IGR: FCTA inaugurates Committee for Capital Gain Tax Implementation
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has constituted and inaugurated Capital Gain Tax Implementation Committee for the FCT.
Head Corporate Communications, Mustapha Sumaila in a statement said it is in part of the effort effort to boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)
Quoting the Mandate Secretary, Economic Planning, Revenue Generation and Public Private Partnership, Barr. Chinedum Kelechi the statement announced that, the Hon. Minister of the FCT, Barr. Nyesom Wike has approved the implementation of the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Act, Cap.CI LFN 2004 (as ).
According to him, the Act imposes a CGT tax rate of 10% on the total amount of chargeable gains accruable to any person upon disposal of his/her chargeable asset or assets in a year of assessment after deduction of the allowable expenses from the gains made on the assets disposal and to be remitted to the FCT Internal Revenue Service as required by the extant law.
Elechi explained that to fully harness the potential of CGT in FCT, the Minister approved for inter-agency collaboration and synergy between the FCT-IRS and other relevant agencies that would work for smooth implementation of this CGT Act.
Stating the terms of reference, the Mandate Secretary charged the committee to conduct comprehensive awareness and education campaigns to improve citizens understanding and also regular stakeholders engagement through business associations, chambers of commerce, Nigeria Bar Association and other relevant organisations.
He urged the committee to conduct monitoring of transactions across the stakeholder agencies and enforce the implementation of CGT in accordance with extant laws, also enjoin members to collaborate with judiciary to handle cases of severe non-compliance or fraud as well as establishing transparent dispute resolution mechanism among others.
He said the committee which would be headed by the Executive Chairman FCT-IRS as chairman, Solicitor General, Director, Land Department, Director, Development Control, Director, Abuja Geographic Information System and the Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association as members while the Director, Tax Operations in FCT-IRS would serve as secretary.
Earlier in his remarks, the Acting Executive Chairman, FCT-IRS, Mr. Haruna Abdullahi said CGT is part of tax types the Service is empowered by law to collect but however lamented that only less than 5% of what is due from capital gain tax is being generated.
Abdullahi expressed joy on the commitment of the FCT minister to bring together relevant stakeholders to work with the Service to enhance the revenue in the territory.
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