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Ex-President Yar’Adua’s daughter, Zainab, forged land documents –FCT Minister tells court

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello, yesterday told an Abuja High Court that Zainab, daughter of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, allegedly forged several documents to lay claim to ownership of a disputed plot of land in Abuja. Bello further stated that there was nothing to show that Zainab ever applied for land in the FCT or made any payment officially or otherwise to the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to enable her entitle to own any land in Abuja. In a joint statement of defence to a legal action instituted by Zainab on the ownership of plot 506, Zone B 09, Kado District, Abuja, the minister and FCDA, who are 3rd and 4th defendants, in the suit denied ever allocating any plot of land to the plaintiff.

In the defence statement dated September 21, 2021 and filed on their behalf by their counsel, Yakubu Abubakar, the minister and FCDA informed the court that Zainab claimed ownership of the plot of the land through a Power of Attorney which the donor, one Haliru Malami, later disowned as purported seller. Zainab through her company, Marumza Estate Development Company Limited, had sued Itban Global Resources Limited Haliru Malami, Bello and the FCDA laying claim to ownership of plot 506, Zone B 09, Kado District, Abuja, having allegedly purchased the land from the FCDA through Itban Global Resources and Malami.

However, in their statement of defence, the 3rd and 4th respondents averred that before filing the court case, Zainab had allegedly given conflicting accounts of how the land was acquired through a former Minister of the FCT as well as acquisition by way of purchase from the 1st defendant. They stated that the 1st defendant, who allegedly sold the land, issued a letter on March 4, 2021, denying ever selling the land and ever issuing Power of Attorney to the plaintiff. They further argued that there was nothing in the records of their Department of Land Administration and the Abuja Geographic Information System indicating that the plaintiff paid any money, whether official or otherwise in respect of the land, adding that their review of events revealed that the registration of the purported Power of Attorney was irregular.

The 3rd and 4th defendants further claimed that upon the discovery that the plaintiff was laying claim to the plot of land through irregular documents, they voided and set aside a Certificate of Occupancy purportedly obtained from the FCDA. They therefore asked the court to dismiss the case of the plaintiff with cost because she is not entitled to any claim in the originating summons.

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi had permitted the plaintiff to amend her statement of claim and subsequently fixed December 15 and 16, 2021 for definite hearing of the matter. The judge on July 11, 2021 declined a request by Zainab for an injunction against Bello and three others over the disputed land. Zainab, through her counsel, Chief Sebastine Hon (SAN), filed a motion on notice praying the court to issue an injunctive order stopping the minister and other defendants in her suit from taking any further actions on the disputed land. Justice O Adeniyi had held that request for an injunctive order at the stage of the suit would not only delay the hearing of the matter but will affect the substantive claims and counter claims in the case.

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