A Federal Capital Territory High Court No 51, Jikwoyi, Abuja, has granted an order restraining the Federal Government and its agencies from demolishing Trademore Estate in Lugbe, in Abuja.

According to the court judgment obtained by our correspondent, the order was granted in favour of Trademore International Holding Nigeria Ltd ( developers of Trademore Estate, Lugbe, Abuja ) for the maintenance of status quo and an interim injunction  restraining all the federal government defendants and their  employees, agents, officials and privies from demolishing Trademore Estate, known as Plot 1981, Sabon Lugbe, Abuja. 

Human rights lawyer, Prof. Mike Ozekhome, had on behalf of Trademore Estate filed a suit against some Federal Government functionaries and Agencies who had threatened to further demolish Trademore Estate, Lugbe, Abuja, over issues concerning flooding of the estate.

In the said writ of summons filed by Prof Ozekhome, Trademore International Holding had, amongst other  reliefs, asked the court to restrain the Hon Minister of FCT, the Federal Capital Development Authority ( FCDA), the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council ( AMMC ) and the Abuja Municipal Area Council ( AMAC ) from demolishing the estate with the buildings and appurtenances thereon; or evicting the occupants from the said Trademore Estate; or from trespassing on in any manner howsoever, into the Trademore Estate, Lugbe, Abuja; or from carrying out any further or fresh demolition exercise of any structures or buildings in the said estate; or in anyway interfering with the plaintiff’s exclusive right of ownership and possession of the said property.

Trademore Holding in the main suit complained to the court about earlier “illegal” demolition of buildings belonging to occupants in the estate by agents of the defendants after three consecutive floods in the estate since it was built in 2007.

Trademore had submitted that the floods was not its fault nor the occupants’ but by acts of “gross negligence occasioned by the Defendants; or through outright inaction by agents of the Federal Government, by refusing to implement  any of the anti-flooding measures jointly devised and agreed upon at various meetings and through several correspondences by representatives of the Federal government and Trademore Holding International Ltd ( owners of theTrademoreEstate ).”

The Plaintiff argued, amongst others, that if the Defendants through the Ecological Fund had not built a very narrow carnal instead of a huge bridge to allow free passage of water coming from a now broken down and disused dam that runs through several adjoining settlements, coupled with several unstrained excavatory acts of other developers in the area, there would have been no incidence of flooding in the estate.

 Trademore Holding therefore sought from the court an order for maintenance of status quo and also an ex parte order of interim injunction “restraining all the Defendants, or their agents, servants, employees or privies howsoever and whomsoever, from any acts of further trespass or demolition of the estate or any part thereof, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

The motion on notice for interlocutory injunction was also filed alongside the writ of summons, statement of claim and the motion for interim injunction.

In the ex parte application argued on Wednesday, ( 12th July, 2023), by Benson Igbanoi, leading Vivian Uche ( holding the brief of the Plaintiff’s Counsel, Prof. Ozekhome ), the learned trial Judge, Justice Zubairu Mohammed, granted all the Claimant’s injunctive reliefs against  the federal government functionaries and agents. 

The judge also specifically granted the second prayer asked for, to wit, that “all parties maintain status quo, while the Motion on Notice and Writ of Summons be served on the Defendants forthwith”.

The Judge thereafter adjourned the motion on notice for hearing to the 22nd of September,2023.

The FCT Administration had marked houses in the estate for demolition on the strength that the houses were built on water ways thereby narrowing the water channel.

Flooding in the area in 2021 resulted in the death of not less than three persons, besides the huge damage to properties.

After floods took over the estate again in 2022, the FCTA  marked 23 houses for demolition.

Property owners at the estate went to court to stall the demolition of their properties, urging the government to find an alternative solution to the problem.

Executive Secretary of the FCTA had also vowed that all structures on the waterways across the nation’s capital would be demolished.

Ahmed, in a statement on Sunday, said some structures are preventing water from flowing freely through its natural course, hence, the flooding in some parts of the city.

It followed a statement from the FCTA declaring Trademore Estate a disaster zone.

However, with flashes of floods resurfacing during the week, the FCTA  planned to commence a demolition exercise at the Estate to create a free passage for oncoming water.

However, residents of the Estate on Monday shut its gates in protest against the planned demolition of structures in the estate by officials of the FCTA.

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