However, particulars of the Certificate of Occupancy in question was neither found in the records of Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) nor at the Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS), the agencies responsible for keeping records of grants or titles in lands within the Federal Capital Territory.
In another breath, Gbagi who earlier claimed that his client bought the property from Nnaemeka Elobi (1st Defendant) wrote the Claimant’s lawyer noting that: “Our client who applied for a landed property to construct their residences, a property situated at House 30, Plot 1000, Pope John Paul II Street, Maitama, Abuja was allocated to the Ghana Government. The Ghana Government took appropriate steps to obtain building permits and constructed the aforesaid property for their own use.”
A perplexed Justice Halilu on sighting the letter which was marked Exhibit ‘A’ then asked: “Was the land in question allocated to Ghana Government by the FCT Minister? If yes, how then is the 2nd Defendant (Ghana High Commission) relying on an alleged purchase of the said land from one Nnaemeka Elobi now deceased… Where is the evidence of approval of building permits obtained…from the authorities…? Where are the approved drawings of the said property?
“It is instructive to state here that, in their respective pleadings and oral testimony of DW1, no building plan approval was tendered… Available records in the department indicate that there was no submission of building plan approval in respect of the above mentioned plot. It can easily be deduced from what played out that 1st defendant never had any land to have sold to the 2nd defendant… You can’t give what you don’t have.”
The court equally observed that the 1st defendant’s sole witness who deposed to the witness statement on oath, Richard Anim was never called to adopt the witness statement on oath in support of their defence.
“The Estate of the 1st Defendant who allegedly claimed it was allocated the said land with no such record found at the applicable land registry at the Federal Capital Development authority (FCDA) or Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS) was missing in action. 2nd defendant which claimed to have bought the said land could not have had the support of the law…in the absence of registration of their interest pursuant to the extant provision of the law…
“They are at best meddlesome interlopers and mere busy bodies. Clearly, Defendants are squatters for all intents and purposes on the subject matter…”
After awarding the sum of twenty million naira as general damages against the defendants, the court went further to berate the Ghana High Commission.
“The 2nd Defendant is the Ghana High Commission. I am taken aback as to how Ghana High Commission will be involved in such a scandalous and embarrassing situation. Why and why would Ghana High Commission be speaking from both sides of its mouth on how it came about the subject matter i.e. land? this is so sad.
“Indeed the plight of the 2nd Defendant has been left in limbo to wither away as a judicial gate-crasher that has by provisions of law been consigned to a forlorn heap of legal fossil.
“I will recommend, and I hereby recommend that the how and manner Defendants came unto the subject matter be investigated by the Nigerian Police and authorities of the FCT Administration…”
Speaking after the court session, Mr. Moses Ebute SAN, who led Ibrahim Idris and Mayowa Ajileye said: “This case has further exposed the hydra headed problems and unholy dealings or practices perpetuated by land syndicates that has characterized land acquisition process in the Federal Capital Territory over the years. What is more worrisome is the fact that it has attained an international flavour.”