by Hauwa Gambo
The nation’s minister of Justice and attorney general of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, has told his colleague at the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory not to go ahead with the demolition planned for Abuja suburb, Mpape.
According to reports, this was via a letter dated today, and made available to sections of the media.
The attorney general advised the FCT minister to suspend the planned demolition pending the determination of a suit before an FCT High Court contesting the exercise.
“All proposed actions be stayed in respect of the subject matter pending the determination of the substantive suit and any appeal arising therefrom,” Abdulahi Yola, solicitor of the Federation and permanent secretary of the Justice Ministry said in the letter.
Mr. Yola said the Justice minister asked for a halt in the demolition “in consonant with this administration’s avowed commitment to the enthronement of rule of law.”
Residents of the area have, not government benevolence, but the activism of new senior advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana to thank for this. The lawyer had written a petition to the AGF.
Mr. Falana petitioned the Attorney General after the FCT minister defied an earlier court order which called for a stay of the planned demolition pending the determination of the suit filled in the court by residents of the area.
According Ogala Samuel, a lawyer with Falana Chambers, the FCT administration moved in to Mpape with bulldozers and had began demolition some houses on Thursday.
The ruling by Justice Idris Kutigi asked for a return to status quo after the judge ordered a speedy hearing for the suit.
The bulldozers, that had already set upon the area today, are now gone, and the people of Mpape can now live in peace with their neighbours in the upscale Maitama just ahead of them.
Not exactly a fairy tale ending, but a victory for the average Nigerian.