Court enforces takeover of 82 units of houses to Benue community over non-compensation

From Austine Tule, Makurdi

A Makurdi Federal High court enforced the takeover of 82 units of houses at the Federal Housing, North Bank, Makurdi by a community in Makurdi Local Government Area at the weekend.

The enforcement followed an earlier judgement of the Court which had ruled that the Federal Housing Authority failed to follow due process in the course of acquiring the land upon which the units were erected upon.

The Court equally asked the respondents to pay the sum of N5 million as general damages to the family of Azumbaka for illegally taking over their land without compensation.

It was gathered that take over was sequel to an enforcement order by the Court that all property on the land be handed over to the Community.

It can be recalled that a judgment in suit No: FHC/MKD/NJR/03/2020 between Atem Azumbaka, Tsavzer Adia and Terzungwe Azumbaka who are the applicants and Federal Housing Authority/Attorney General of the Federation (Respondents), the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice C.J. Aneke had noted that the acts of the 1st Defendant was unlawful, null and void and of no effect.

Justice Aneke also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st Defendant by themselves or their privies from entering and or interfering with the plaintiffs’ land.

Following the order therefore, the police at the weekend evicted occupants of 82 blocks of 3 bedroom flats at the Federal Housing units located along University of Agriculture, Makurdi with many wailing profusely in the scorching sun.

The plaintiffs through their Counsel, Barr Terna Agerzua on the 28th October, 2013 filed a writ of summon that, over 100 years ago, their ancestors found, settled on and owed a vast parcel of land lying and situated at Azumbaka village at North Bank area in Makurdi Local Government Area and were farming rice, yam and cassava.

According to the writ, the Federal Government through the Federal Housing Authority requested for the land to build estate and later on in February 2012, asked for additional piece of land to develop more housing which a size of land measuring 2,600 meters by 500 meters.

It said FHA had agreed to pay the Azumbaka family the sum of N15 million compensation, provide boreholes and offer employment to two members of the plaintiffs family and gone ahead to develop it without fulfilling the agreement thereby reneging on the agreement.

Reacting to the judgement and subsequent take over, counsel to the plaintiffs, Barr. Terna Agerzua described the development as sound, saying the defendants could not have obtain judgment in their favour having dumped and abandoned a statement of defence before the court.

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