Noah Ebije, Kaduna
At Tuesday’s resumed hearing on the Durbar hotel crisis by a Kaduna high court between late Head of State, General Sani Abacha’s family and state Governor Nasir El-Rufai, the counsel to the Kaduna State government, Mr Sanusi Usman, told the court that individuals still residing in site the property are scavengers, following the hotel’s revocation and demolition.
Usman said the state government had handed off the disputed hotel soon after the demolition and that no government agent is on the site.
The high court presided by Justice Hannatu Balogun had fixed Tuesday, February 11, to receive a report on whether Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai and other agents of the state government have complied with a court order restraining them from demolishing and taking over the disputed Durbar hotel.
It would be recalled that 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 the Durbar hotel.
Usman, who is the Director of Litigation in the state Ministry of Justice, said “Individuals seen on the property are scavengers following information of revocation and demolition of the property.
“Scavengers are there to see what they can get on the property.
“The presence of a large number of scavengers attracted security agencies who went there to keep peace,” he said.
Earlier, counsel to Durbar hotel management and Abacha family Mr Reuben Atabo told the court that the Kaduna State Urban and Property Development Agency (KASUPDA) went to the hotel site with trucks and demolished the hotel and made away with items recovered from the area.
Atabo also told the court that 21 security guards engaged by the management of Durbar hotel were chased away by state security agents.
“I had a meeting with the Attorney General of the state and the Director of Litigation, but the meeting could not proceed because of the absence of the Governor to give a directive.
“But it was agreed that another date be fixed for the meeting.
“I made the point clear that pending further discussion no activity should take place on the disputed land.
“But it is very unfortunate that activities have continued on the disputed land against the court order.
“I have absolute confidence in government and the rule of law.”
The judge had ordered that the Assistant Court Registrar move to the site and “find out who and who is there on the site.”
Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned till February 26 for the report on compliance with the court order.