Moves by Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the family of late military Head of State Gen Sani Abacha to settle out of court over the Durbar hotel demolished by the El-Rufai administration broke down on Thursday.
Counsel to Abacha family Dr Reuben Atabo informed the Kaduna State High Court presided over by Justice Hannatu Balogun at a Thursday sitting that he was served a “Notice of Preliminary Objection” by the defendants saying that the court has no jurisdiction to hear the case.
Atabo, who was represented by Folake Adeneye, told the court that, “Though the actual structure of Durbar hotel was destroyed, its Certificate Of Occupancy (C of O) still subsists, so we are left with no option than to proceed with the case by asking for the setting aside the revocation of the hotel”.
Adeneye further informed the court that the defendants actually approached his clients for settlement, but no meaningful step has been taken for possible settlement.
On his part, Sanusi Usman, the Counsel to the defendants, who is the Kaduna State Director of Litigation in the Ministry of Justice, said, “It appears they are not interested in settlement any more, but we are interested. Do we take it that the issue of settlement has broken down?”
However in the Notice of Preliminary Objection, Usman, insisted that the court has no jurisdiction to hear the case because due process of law was not initiated, pointing out that, “The present action discloses no reasonable cause of action against the 1st and 2nd defendants herein.”
“There is no actionable dispute whatsoever between the plaintiff and the 1st and 2nd defendants herein that warrant the invocation of the Judicial powers of this court.
“This court cannot therefore exercise jurisdiction in this as same was not initiated by due process of law.”
The presiding judge, Justice Hannatu Balogun then adjourned the case to 18 March for general hearing of preliminary objections.
Recall that on 2 December 2020, Atabo joined in the suit, Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KASUPDA) and Kaduna State Geographic Information Service(KADGIS) as 3rd and 4th respondents respectively because, “they are desirable parties to the determination of this suit”.
The 1st and 2nd respondents being the State governor and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Kaduna, respectively.