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Court lacks jurisdiction to determine case on demolition of Senator Hunkuyi’s house – Kaduna govt

Kaduna State government has asked the High Court sitting in Kaduna toa dismiss the prayers and requests of Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi over the demolition of his house for lack of jurisdiction.

Senator Hunkuyi, representing Kaduna North Senatorial District is demanding N10 billion from Mallam Nasir el-Rufai-led government as compensation for illegally demolishing his house at No 11B Sambo Road, Kaduna.

Recall that the head office of the All Progressive Congress, APC, faction, which suspended Nasiru El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, was demolished. The faction is led by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi.

The building, located at Sambo Road, Ungwar Rimi, was said to have been demolished in the early hours by officials of the Kaduna State Urban Development Authority, KASUPDA, due to non-payment of ground rent for eight years.

Responding to the prayers of Hunkuyi through his lawyer, Prof Yusuf Dankofa, lawyers from the Ministry of Justice asked the court to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.

The lawyers, who were briefly rebuked in a joking manner by Justice Mohammed Lawal Bello for their inability to file their defence papers, based their argument on the ground that the applicant’s lawyer had filed two similar cases in the court seeking the same reliefs.

Citing relevant authorities, Hunkuyi’s lawyer said their requests and reliefs in the cases were not the same hence the need for the court to grant their request as prayed.

Prof. Dankofa, among other things, in suit KDH/KAD/236/2018 is praying the court to “declare that the action of the respondents (Kaduna State Government and Kaduna Geographic Information Service, KADGIS) in arrogating to themselves the power to punitively sanction the Applicants (Hunkuyi and his Company, Muna Investment Ltd) property, even if the Applicants were purportedly in default of payment of either ground rent or land use charge or for any other reason constitute a gross violation of Applicant Fundamental Human Right guaranteed under section 43 (1) and 46 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.”
The reliefs sought, “A declaration that the purported takeover of the applicant’s property located at No 11B Sambo Road, Kaduna by the respondents on the basis of purported non-payment of ground rent/land use charge or for any other reason is wrong, illegal and unconstitutional.

“An Order of this Honourable Court mandating the respondents to pay the applicant the sum of N10,000,000,000 (ten billion naira) being aggravated, punitive and general damages against the respondents jointly and severally for the violation of the applicant’s Fundamental Human Right.”

Also sought is an order of the court “setting aside the purported takeover of the applicant’s property.”

The court in the interim order had stopped the state government from taking further action on the Hunkuyi property at No11B Sambo road as well as the purported notice on his house at Inu Wada pending the determination of the case.

The case is adjourned to June 5, 2018 for ruling on the competence of the court.

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