Court Stops FCT Minister, FCTA from Altering Abuja Master Plan on Berger Park, Recreation
…Fixes Oct 30 for hearing of suit against FCT Minister, four others
Sunday Ejike – Abuja
An Abuja High Court has restrained the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and three others from altering, reconstructing, rebuilding the area designed for Parks and Recreation Center (Berger Parks, Wuse zone 6, Abuja) for any other use except as designated by the Federal Capital Territory master plan, pending the hearing and determination of suit filed by concerned residents of the area.
The trial Judge, Justice Njideka Nwosu-Iheme gave the interim order after an oral application to that effect by Mr. James Onyilo, counsel representing Hon. Haruna Saidu, Dr. Itonye Efebo, Sunday Uche, Moses Osiboh and Shehu Abba, who are listed as first to fifth plaintiffs in the suit dated June 20, 2023.
The plaintiffs had sued the FCT minister, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Nigerian Police Force Property and Construction Company Ltd and Brains and Hammers Ltd as first to fifth defendants for themselves and on behalf of the landlords and tenants of Wuse Zone 6 and other users of Berger Park and Recreation, Abuja.
When the matter came up on Thursday, counsel to the plaintiffs informed the court that all the defendants have been served with the court process and that they (Defendants) are still within time to respond.
“We cannot go with the matter as it is now. However, the subject matter in this case, which is the building being erected by the Nigerian Police Force Property and Construction Company and Brains and Hammers Ltd (4th and 5th Defendants) is causing flood and erosion in the area because of the raining season”, Onyilo told the Judge.
He added that, the area is a public recreation park which the 4th and 5th defendants are erecting building and prayed the court for an order directing parties in the suit to maintain status quo ante bellum pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
While adjourning the matter till October 30, Justice Nwosu-Iheme ordered parties to maintain status -quo anti bellum to avoid tempering with the subject matter of the suit.
The plaintiffs had, in their originating summons prayed the court to declare that the FCT minister and the FCTA’s action allocating, redesigning and or selling off an area designated and commissioned as a park and recreation center (Berger Park, Wuse Zone 6, Abuja) to FCDA and the NPF Property and Construction Company Ltd, private companies for commercial purposes consequently denying them and other members of the public of their use and enjoyment thereof, is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
“A declaration that the construction work being carried out by the 3rd and 4th defendants preparatory to the erection of a housing estate is unlawful, illegal and without any legal justification whatever.
“A declaration that the defendants’ action in allocating, redesigning, selling and reconstruction of an area designated and commissioned as a Park and Recreation Center, to a private entity for commercial purposes amounts to a flagrant violation of the FCT, Abuja master plan”.
The plaintiffs are seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from altering, reconstructing, rebuilding the area designated for park and recreation for any other use, except as designated by the FCT master plan as well as an order that the sum of N1 billion be paid by the 3rd and 4th defendants to them as exemplary damages for the restoration of the damage done to Berger Park and Recreation Center, Wuse Zone 6, Abuja.
“The sum of N1 billion for specific damages against the defendants jointly and or severally for the destruction of economic trees, physical structures which include sports facilities, retail shops and aesthetic landscaping of Berger Parks and Recreation Center, Wuse Zone 6, Abuja”.
They also want the court to declare that the action of the defendants in erecting residential buildings on the Berger Park designated for park and recreation will interfere with their rights and easement.