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Fintiri battles APC Man in court over land revocation

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Fintiri battles APC Man in court over land revocation

From Mohammed Tikka

The Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri is drawn in a fierce legal battle over the revocation of certificate of ownership of a two-hectare of Land belonging to Abubakar Babazango (Abaza), member of Adamawa All Progressives Congress (APC) who is representing Yola South/Yola North/Girei Federal Constituency.

The revocation of the plot of land, according to Fintiri, is done for public interest for the purpose of building a model school.

However, counsel to Hon Abubakar Babazango, Barrister Desmond Adewale debunked the claim, arguing that the revocation was purely a political witch hunt.

Barrister Desmond, who insists the revocation was illegal and self-serving, recalled how the All Progressives Congress (APC) wanted to use Mahmud Ribadu Square Venue for their presidential campaign and the Government of Adamawa State, under the leadership of Rt Hon Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri refused.

He said the magnanimity of Babazango who decided to give them his land for the campaign is the main reason Fintiri is witch hunting him through the unlawful seizure of the said land, which is strategically situated close to Yola International Airport.

Desmond argued that the former owner acquired the Land in 1976 and the current title owner (Abaza) legally owned it with constant payment of ground rent and therefore cannot at this moment be seized in the name of public interest.

Addressing media men after the case was mentioned in the Yola High Court with Justice Ahmed Isah presiding, Desmond asked why the revocation is taking place now, bearing in mind that Fintiri has been in office since 2019.

Desmond claimed his client (Babazango) was a victim of political witch hunt, because he allowed the land to be used by Bola Tinubu campaign and Hon Binani during last year’s electioneering campaign rally in the country.

“The Governor is also aggrieved that my client contested with the candidate of the PDP and the House of Representatives election and won in the Court of Appeal.” Barrister Desmond emphasized.

Barrister Desmond also viewed the revocation in the angle of human rights, even as he said there are genuine fears of gross human rights violation by government.

He accused Governor Fintiri of deploying illegal methods in the process, including backdating the letter of revocation and serving the revocation order to a dead man, someone who has no connection to the Land, among other things.

Barrister Desmond revealed his client’s determination to fight for his rights up to Supreme Court if need be.

In a counter motion however, the counsel to the Fintiri led government, Barrister Abayomi Akamode said the Governor has a right to revoke the land for overriding public interest.

Abayomi while quoting section 28 of the Land Use Act said the public interest is far above the interest of an individual.

He faulted the Plaintiff (Babazango) for not giving a pre-action notice of thirty days to the Governor as the Land Use Act provided.

“We are challenging the competence of the action itself asking that the Court should strike out this suit because they have not given out the necessary pre-action notice and when you have not done so the court has no jurisdiction to entertain the case.” Abayomi argued.

The motion was adjourned by the presiding Judge for ruling on the 26th February.

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