The family of late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, has cried out over the action of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai in mobilising equipment to clear the site of the demolished Durbar Hotel despite a court order restraining him and government agencies from doing so.
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A High Court in Kaduna presided over by Justice Hannatu Balogun on January 21 restrained Governor Nasir El-Rufai and agencies of the Kaduna State Government from demolishing and taking over of Durbar hotel Plc.
Daily Trust recalls that the governor had in a letter dated December 31, 2019, and addressed to Alhaji Mohamed Abacha revoked the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) belonging to the disputed Durbar Hotel, located along the Gen. Muhammadu Buhari/Independence Way, Kaduna.
The lawyer to the Abacha’s family, Dr Reuben Atabo, told journalists on Wednesday in Kaduna that the governor is alleged to have concluded plans to turn the hotel land into a public garden and relaxation spot.
He noted that governor El-Rufai had moved equipment to the land and clearing of the site had begun in earnest in the past one week.
“We were surprised to see a Caterpillar clearing the site in the first week of May till date when Kaduna High Court has fixed May 30, 2021, to rule on the injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with the land,” the family lawyer said.
Dr Atabo, who was represented by Mr Joshua Rimven at a press briefing in Kaduna, said, “We are suspecting the government of Kaduna State to have taken Caterpillar to the site to clear the place because we have a case between the demolished Durbar hotel and the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai as the first defendant.
“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).
“There is already an injunction restraining them from interfering or coming into this land or do anything on the land after demolishing the place last time.
“There are two matters in the case; there is one at the Supreme court and also at the High court before Justice Hannatu Balogun which is about the demolition of the hotel.
“The case at the Supreme court is about the Durbar hotel itself before it was demolished; who owns it between the federal government and the Abacha family which we won at the Appeal court.
“There is a court order from the High court that none of the parties should interfere with the land. But we are surprised that we saw people on the ground taking measurements and clearing the land.
“When we asked them they said it was the Kaduna State Commissioner for Works that sent them to do so.
“To us, this is against the Court Order that none of the parties should interfere with the land or do anything on the land.
“But they decided to take the law into their hands. This is very unfortunate. It is the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai that should be held responsible for this violation of the law.
“They removed all the Caveat Emptor notice placed on the land without the permission of legal process.
“They have disobeyed Court Order, it is contempt of court. The police are there to enforce law and order. We will petition the Commissioner of police to enforce court order”.
When contacted on phone to react to the allegation of contempt, the State Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP), Mr Bayero Dari. said he was not in a position to react to the allegation.
He, therefore, directed our reporter to speak to the Special Adviser to Governor Nasir El-Rufai on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye.
However, Mr Adekeye did not respond to calls put across to him for his response on the allegation of contempt.