Three Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and seven lawyers yesterday stormed a Kaduna State high court as counsels to the Abacha family over the demolition of Durbar Hotel by the Kaduna State government.
The lead counsel to the Abacha family, who are the owners of the hotel, Dr Reuben Atabo (SAN) led Samuel Katung (SAN), Johnson Usman (SAN) and other lawyers in the case before Justice Hannatu Balogun.
While Governor Nasir El-Rufai is the first defendant in the case, other defendants are the Attorney General of the State and Commissioner of Justice, Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KASUPDA) as well as the Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS).
After hearing from the counsel of both parties in the suit, Justice Balogun fixed April 4, 2022, for proof of case in the suit by Durbar Hotel PLC against the Kaduna State Government over alleged illegal demolition of the property.
The family of the late head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha, had filed a suit over alleged plans by the state government to take over the property despite pending appeal on the matter at the Supreme Court, which the state government filed challenging the verdicts of lower courts.
When the case came up yesterday, counsel to the defendants, Mustapha AU (SAN) represented by Sule Umar told the court that the defendants have filed a case of change of counsel and, “We are asking for a new date because we are already working on the defence.”
Atabo expressed worry over the energy being wasted by the defendants by proposing an appeal on a matter that has been on for over two years without filing a defence.
“But we are ready to prove our case by next sitting,” he told the court.
The plaintiff is demanding a declaration that it is the title holder of the parcel of land measuring about 5.378 hectares and covered by Kaduna State certificate of occupancy No 17789, situated on a choice area at Muhammadu Buhari Way (WAFF road), Kaduna North local government area.
The plaintiff is further seeking a declaration that the demolition of the plaintiff’s property covered with certificate of occupancy of 7th May, 1990, by the Kaduna State government is unconstitutional, illegal, null, and void.
The plaintiff also asked the court for an order of injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, privies, and whosoever from transferring, assigning, or selling in any way part of the property lying and situate at Muhammadu Buhari Way (Waff Road) Kaduna measuring about 5.4 hectares pending the determination of the motion on notice.