The Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered an investigation into demolition of a property belonging to former First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan by the Federal Capital Development Administration (FCDA).
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba gave the directive on Monday following submissions by Jonathan’s counsel, Mr Mike Ozekhome, that the property was demolished despite a lingering court battle.
The building belonging to Aruera Reachout Foundation/Women for Change and Development Initiative is an uncompleted structure, said to be located on Shehu Yar’Adua Way along Mabushi-Kado Life Camp Expressway, Abuja.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed an ex parte motion asking the court for temporary forfeiture of the property, but Ozekhome filed an objection.
Ozekhome and counsel to the EFCC, Mr Benjamin Manji, were in court for hearing of the applications when Ozekhome raised the issue of the alleged demolition.
He told the court that he had video recordings and pictures of the demolition.
He insisted that the state of the property should be ascertained before the suit could proceed.
Ozekhome explained that the exercise would afford him the opportunity to file a proper affidavit and exhibit video recording, pictures and newspaper publications of demolition of the property.
But Manji told the court that he was not aware that the property was demolished.
“I am hearing for the first time that the property, the subject of the suit, has been demolished.
“If that is true, it is certainly not by us. Our mandate is clear; it does not include demolition.
“We need to confirm if the property is still in existence before we can proceed with our application for temporary forfeiture,” he said.
In his ruling, Justice Dimgba said that the status of the property must first be ascertained as the court could not act in vain.
“I will adjourn for the claim that the property has been demolished to be ascertained to enable the court to know what proper steps to take.”
The judge adjourned the matter until February 26 for a report on the state of the building and possible hearing of the applications for forfeiture and the objection to it.