Land Revocation: Adamawa Govt battles APC chieftain in court

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By: Admin
YOLA, North-West, Nigeria – Contrary to the reason put forward by Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, for revoking a two-hectare of land belonging to a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Abubakar Babazango (Abaza), representing Yola South/Yola North/Girei Federal Constituency for public interest to build a model school.
Counsel to the Plaintiff, Barrister Desmond Adewale, on Monday, has argued in Court that the revocation was purely political and has no intention to building a model school.
He said it was an illegal revocation and recalled how the APC wanted to use the Mahmud Ribadu Square venue for its presidential campaign but the State Government refused them the use of the venue.
He said the magnanimity of the plaintiff who decided to give the Party his land for the campaign is the main reason Gov Fintiri is hunting him by unlawful seizure of the said land strategically situated close to Yola International Airport.
Barr Adewale argued that the former owner acquired the land in 1976 and the current title owner, Babazango, legally owned it with constant payment of ground rent should not be at the moment seized for public interest.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the case came up for mention in the Yola High Court presided over by Justice Ahmed Isah, Barr Desmond asked why it would be now knowing the fact that Fintiri has been in office since 2019.
“We’ve been hearing feelers from the government quarters because my client gave that Land to the then incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, the current President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the APC Governorship candidate, Hajiya Aisha Ahmed Dahiru Binani, are going to withdraw the Certificate of Ownership (C of O) and we got interim injunction restraining them from the use of the land  is our reason of coming to court to challenge it,” he said.
Barr. Adewale added that the undiluted reason for the case is that Governor Fintiri revoked the land because his client gave Tinubu the piece of land for campaign; declaring it unlawful for the seizure under the guise of public interest.
He claimed that his client, Babazango, is a victim of political rivalry who incurred the wrath of the Governor after chasing a PDP House of Rep member at the Court of Appeal, hence the governor considered him an archenemy to fight for giving them the political battles of their lives.
“Whoever that’s telling you that the land was revoked for public interest is telling you a pure lie. The land was revoked because he gave it to Tinubu and Binani to hold their political rally, contested the House of Representatives against the PDP member, and won at the Court of Appeal,” he added.
Barr Adewale further argued that the Adamawa State Govt under the current administration is basing its argument on the state limitations of law, saying it has not exhausted the pre-action notice of thirty days before coming to court.
He countered that whenever there are genuine threats, imminent danger, and infractions of human right there is no need to abide by that provision.
According to him, the case is having a semblance of an infringement of human right and is nothing more than a brazing display of lawlessness, and they will vigorously pursue the case up to the Supreme Court.
He further explained that the state government is trying by all means to forcefully take over client’s land as according to him, the letter of revocation was served on a dead man, Alhaji Jika Paris, someone who has no connection to the Land on the 10th January 10, 2024.
He accused the state government of backdating the letter of revocation to make the Court order restraining them from using the land useless.
In a counter motion however,  Counsel to the Adamawa State Government, Barrister Abayomi Akamode, said the Governor has a right to revoke the land for overriding public interest, quoting Section 28 of the Land Use Act which stated that public interest is far above the interest of an individual.
He faulted the Plaintiff for not giving a pre-action notice of thirty days to the Governor as the Land Use Act provided.
He said his appearance in Court was to challenge the action of the plaintiff who did not give the pre-action notice of thirty days before he could commence any action to the Governor.
“We are challenging the competence of the action itself asking that the Court should strike out this suit because they have not given out the necessary pre-action notice and when you have not done so the court has no jurisdiction to entertain the case,” Akamode explained.
Justice Ahmed Isah adjourned the case for ruling to February 26, 2024.

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