From our correspondent
Despite a competent court injunction restraining the FCT Minister from carrying out demolishing of property belonging to Iddo- Sarki – Pada communities in the federal capital territory, an Abuja High Court has ordered the appearance of the offending minister on November 26 to explain why he violated the Court order and why he should not be committed to prison for the violation.
It could be recalled that Justice Folasade Ojo, had on April 13 ordered the FCT administration against executing its planned demolition of residential buildings at Iddo-Sarki-Pada communities, a suburb of Abuja but to the surprise of the court, the plaintiff claimed that the demolishing exercise was executed against the court order.
Justice Folasade then issued forms 48 and 49 (notice of consequences of disobedience of court order and an application by the plaintiff to apply for an order of committal to prison for having disobeyed the order of court).
Also, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), had in a letter signed by its executive secretary, Professor Bem Angwe, urged the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to direct the FCT administration to comply with the order of the court which was not respected as solicited.
According to NHRC, residents of Iddo-Sarki-Pada, had written a letter of petition to the Commission stating that the FCDA had proceeded to demolish their houses despite a subsisting court order that was duly served.
“Pursuant to section 6 of the NHRC (Amendment) Act, 2010, the complain was admitted for investigation. This is because of the question raised about the rights of the petitioners which are protected by section 17(b) and (c) and section 34 of the constitution”, the letter read.
It will be recalled that 11 of the plaintiffs filed the suit for themselves and on behalf of the other Iddo-Sarki-Pada residents on the planned ‘evil’ demolition of 403 executed by four bulldozers at a lightening speed within just four days without minding the plight of those affected.
The petitioners further said the order restraining the minister and his co-travelers from going ahead with the demolition was served on the minister by the court bailiff and that notwithstanding, the FCT administration ignored the order and executed the demolition as planned.
According to them, they were left with no other option as law abiding citizens than to ask the court to commit Senator Bala Abdulkadir Muhammed to prison for acting against the law.
Counsel to the plaintiff, U.P. Ekwueme argued that the minister was under obligation to comply with the court order by decided as a public servant to ignore it for reasons not clear.
Ekwueme added that the order issued by Justice Ojo remains valid and subsisting since it had not been set aside by the court.
“Individuals, government’s agencies, organs and parastatals are duty bound to obey and respect court orders. Where an order of a competent court is disobeyed, the court has the right and indeed the duty to punish the person in disobedience of the order”, he stated.
Observers opined that the disobedience of the court order by a serving minister who is alleged to