A high court of the federal capital territory has been asked to restrain about 707 traders from forcefully gaining entrance and possessing the N6.5b Wuye Ultra-modern market for business activities.
The 707 traders led by Abah Denish, dragged the minister of the FCT, the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), All Purpose Shelter Limited and Abuja Investment and Property Development Company to the court over allocation of shops at the market.
The market has been a subject of litigation since last year after it was commissioned by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
One of the defendants in the case, APSL has filed a motion before the court asking it to set aside the writ of possession issued to the traders by the court on June 9th, 2015.
It also asked the court to restrain them from forcefully taking possession of the market.
November 10 has been fixed as the hearing date of the motion. But APSL, in a letter is asking the court to shift the hearing to a earlier date for a speedy hearing of the motion.
Also in the motion, the court was also asked to make definite pronouncement on the judgement to end the different interpretation being given to the judgements by parties.
A stay of the execution of the judgement of the court has also been filed by the Abuja Investment and Property Development Company as well as an appeal against the judgement.
In the motion for stay of execution of judgement filed by James Idiih, the court is being called upon to declare that the plaintiffs in the suit lack the locus stadi to institute the actiion.
They are also challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter.
In the appeal, the company said the judgement is against the weight of evidence before it.
It also said that the judge erred in law in his failure to appreciate the quality of evidential burden that had to be discharged by the party who asserts.
Justice O.A. Musa had on March 23, 2015 ordered that the traders should be allowed access into the market after paying grounded rents and other statutory charges.
But the traders are claiming that the court had given them unfettered access to the market saying that the FCT should bear the cost of the construction of the market.
Justice Musa, in one breath in his judgement, after going through submissions of of counsel in the matter said, “Also the 4th defendant (the firm) told the court that it was issued a piece of land at Wuye District, Abuja by the 1st and 2nd defendants (FCT minister and FCDA) which was covered by exhibit ‘F’ (Certificate of Occupancy) dated November, 2004. Therefore, it is clear that both the plaintiff and the 4th defendant got their grant from the same grantor i.e. 1st and 2nd defendants and from simple arithmetic, the plaintiffs’s offer was first in time i.e. 2002 as against 4th defendant’s own which was in 2004.
“From the totality of the. Evidence, no single evidence to sho or prove that the 1st and 2nd defendants either withdraw or revoke the plaintifs’ offer.
“To this end, having fortified myself with the above decisions, iit is my considered opinion that exhibit AA being the first in time definitely takes priority over and above exhibit F. I so hold.”
In another breath, after the plaintiffs amended their statement of claim for a declaration that they are not under any lawful obligation or duty to pay any amount of money over and above the various specific amount of money demanded by the 1st and 2nd defendants from the plaintiffs for the allocation of shops and open spaces in the market.
Also, after asking the court to declare that the 1st and 2nd defendants shall be liable for and bear the cost of the construction of the shops allocated to the plaintiffs.
Justice Musa said, “the plaintiffs (the over 700 traders) did not lead evidence to sustain these claims. It is trite law that the court cannot speculate on the evidence not place before it. In support of this, see the casee of IGBELE Vs. State (2006) 6MWLR (pt.975) 100 at 199 paras F-G wheree it was held that: This court has decided that it is trite law that court should not speculate in evidence but decide on evidence presented before it.
“More so, a declaration on these claims will amount to a court declaring that the plaintiff should not pay even grounded rent and other statutory fees which the plaintiff are bound to pay under the law. I am not ready to do that heree. Therefore, these two claims referred above of the plaintiffs cannot be granted for the reason stated herein. On that not, they aree hereby refused accordingly.
In the final analysis, I am of the considered opinion that the plaintiffs in view of the evidence they led, have proved their case in part and for that reason, the plaintiff case succeeds in part and fail in part. I so hold”.