Court bars Wike, others from Abuja Centenary City

Nyesom Wike
Nyesom Wike

A Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained FCT minister Nyesom Wike and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) from intruding into the Centenary Economic City Free Zone along Airport Road, Abuja.

Justice Inyang Ekwo also made an injunction order restraining the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and Arab Contractors (OAO) from further encroaching on the site.

Also, Justice Ekwo made an order nullifying and setting aside in its entirety, all executive actions, steps, decisions, and administrative controls, including the forceful encroachment of the premises by OAO at the instructions of the minister, FCTA and FCDA without the prior consent of the plaintiffs and the overriding approval of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA).

The judge held that the encroachment contradicted Sections 4 and 13 of NEPZA Act Cap N107 LFN 2004, provisions of Section 5 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and therefore, was unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, void and of no effect whatsoever.

He also made an injunction order restraining them from exercising any executive or regulatory control on the zone, “which occupies the Land, measuring 1,264.78 hectares with beacons coordinates: PB57-PB59, PB60-PB69, PB70-PB79, PB80PB89, PB90-PB99 and PB1000-PB104, located at Airport Road, Wawa District, Cadastral Zone E24, FCT, Abuja.”

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“An Order is hereby made directing Arab Contractors (OAO) Nigeria Limited, to immediately vacate the portion of the Centenary Economic City Free Zone, which it illegally occupies at the instructions of the 5th, 6th and 7th defendants against the provisions of Sections 4 and 13 of NEPZA Act, without the express approval of the NEPZA,” he added.

Justice Ekwo, therefore, ordered Arab Contractors to pay the plaintiffs, the sum of N100 million only for the forceful invasion and destruction of the plaintiffs’ master plan of the zone, designed by Eagle Hills Properties LLC, of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for $35 million.

The judge, who ordered the company to pay N50 million in general damages, also directed the firm to pay N5 million as cost of the action.

He equally ordered an interest on the entire judgement sum at the rate of 10 per cent per annum, commencing from the time of the delivery of the judgement till the entire judgement sum is fully liquidated by construction firm.

The certified true copy of the judgement, delivered on February 6, was seen by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday.

The first and second plaintiffs – Centenary Economic City Free Zone and Centenary City Free Zone Company – sued the Nigerian president, attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and NEPZA as first to third defendants in 2022.