Abuja Court Order Demolition of ₦2.5 Billion Property for Encroaching on a Disputed Land
17 July, 2017
An Abuja High Court has ordered the demolition of 7-units of 5-bedroom property worth ₦2.5 billion as penalty against White Diamond Property Development Company, the developer of the property for encroaching on a piece of land that belong to another company, Trade Wheels Ltd. The judgement is based on the premise that the plaintiff was the first to be issued a Certificate of Occupancy by the FCT Minister.
The judge in the land dispute case, Justice Peter Kekemeke ordered White Diamond to remove all physical structures or building that is erected on the disputed land, including building materials, gravels and sands at its own expense.
The 22-page judgement was delivered on the 15th of June 2017 with the judge stressing that the plaintiff has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant encroached on its land. In this respect, the court issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant and its agent from further trespassing on the land or interfere the statutory rights and interests over the disputed land.
The argument of the counsel of the defendant was based on a formal request by the defendant to the FCT Minister for an extension of the plot of land, a request which the FCT Minister granted through a letter dated 19th of May 2010. In spite of this, the court held that the testimony of the defendant’s witness supports the plaintiff’s case and it’s a testimony that defendant encroached on the land.
The evidence presented before the court show that the plaintiff was issued a notice of allocation on the 19th of October 1994 while the land was granted to the defendant on the 2nd of November 2010. The judge held that evidence supports the plaintiff’s case since “the plaintiff’s title is in first time, the defendant’s Certificate of Occupancy is not clear and readable. And that once a Certificate of Occupancy is produced, it is a prima facie evidence of a title.” The court also awarded damages of ₦10 million against the defendant.