Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Kaduna State Director of Litigation in the Ministry of Justice, Sanusi Usman, told a court on Monday that it is sad that the state government did not comply with the court order restraining Governor Nasir El-Rufai from demolishing and taking over the disputed Durbar Hotel.
A high court in Kaduna presided by Justice Hannatu Balogun had on January 21 restrained Governor Nasir El-Rufai and agencies of the Kaduna State Government from demolishing and taking over of Durbar Hotel.
Usman pleaded with the court that he would call for a roundtable discussion with all the parties in the case and report back at the next adjournment.
The court restraining order is sequel on an ex parte motion brought before the court by the counsel to the management of Durbar Hotel Plc, Mr Reuben Atabo, praying the court for an order of interim injunction restraining El-Rufai and agencies of the state government from demolishing, taking over, or tampering with the property.
However, when the case came up on Monday before Justice Hannatu Balogun for determination of the motion on notice, Mr Atabo applied for a stay of proceedings of motion on notice until the court order restraining El-Rufai from taking over the hotel is complied with.
Usman, who is the counsel to the state government said, “it is really sad that the court order was not complied with, but I am not aware of the fact that the order of this honourable court has been disobeyed by any party but to me. It is sad, my Lord.
“I honestly feel bad about it. I am proposing a meeting with all the parties and Atabo to see how this can be addressed.
“Our reputations as lawyers are at stake because it will not be in our interest to see that court order is not obeyed. We have to find the way out by Thursday next week.”
Earlier in his submission, Mr Atabo said: “The decision of the court is meant to be fulfilled by government officials, institutions and individuals. Our simple application is that your Lordship order must be complied with before another step could be taken in this case.”
The presiding judge, Justice Hanatu Balogun, thereafter, adjourned the case, saying, “in the interest of justice we will hear the report of compliance with the court order on February 11, 2020.”
The ownership of the hotel had been in contention between the Federal Government and the family of late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, since 2001.