By Stanley Onyekwere
Following a purported demolition of the multi-billion dollar healthcare facility located at Katampe District, Abuja, being warehoused by Sustainable Health Initiative (SHI), the items there are now under threat.
The property owned by Dupyomi International Ventures Limited, comprises of warehouse and offices was reportedly demolished by some unknown individuals, who came arrived the site at about 8pm on the 3rd December 2014, in company of some policemen.
In a swift reaction to the development, the solicitor to the owner of the property, Deji Soremi & Co in a 3-page petition to the Director, Development Control Department, dated 3rd December 2014, expressed displeasure over the demolition of the property ‘for which the sum of N3, 507,962.50 was paid for its building plan.’
Soremi alleged that “after receiving payment, the Department of Development Control halted the processing and issuance of the building plan. Our client was informed that the reason was because there was a rival claimant in respect of the plot of land. It is on record that no ‘demolition notice’ was issued or served.
He argued that the demolition exercise, which occurred on the 3rd December 2014 and the early hours of 4th December 2014 on the land “have shown a brazen, shameful, desperate move and a clear and calculated mockery of the judicial system.”
The solicitor further disclosed that “there are questions and doubts about the existence of a rival claimant; in circumstances ad on the facts, which in itself, raises issues of possible complicity in certain quarters.
“These were the issues taken to court (via suit No. CV/120/2014 between Dupyomi International Ventures Limited vs. Hon. Minister of FCT; FCTA; FCDA and Muftahul Hairi & Company Limited) by our client for resolution.”
“The structure intended to be cited on the plot of land and for which approval was sought, is a warehouse/storage facility for the ultra-sensitive and fragile drugs, vaccines, equipment and related items being used in the Federal Government’s nationwide HIV/AIDS and malaria eradication, control and treatment programme.
“The programme is in the control of the Federal Ministry of Health and involves donations in drugs from donor countries, agencies and individuals. These drugs and materials are of a perishable nature especially if not stored in specific temperatures and settings.
“The land and structure in issue had the target of meeting these factors to save the drugs and help the nation’s healthcare system,” as contained in the petition.
“This deliberate act of brigandage and self-help will certainly not settle the issues at stake over this land. Instead, it will only create an avenue for chaos in land allocation in the FCT and a resultant loss of faith in the ability of FCDA to grant perfect tiles. This act will also undermine the nation’s judicial system, if left unresolved.
“It is for the foregoing reasons that we now make this formal report and convey our client’s humble petition that you kindly use your good office and cause an investigation into this extremely reprehensible act. Our client remains resolute and unshaken in the belief of the rule of law and your unwavering respect for same, hence this application,” the solicitor stressed.
While narrating his ordeal, one of the security guards on site (name not given), who spoke in Hausa through an interpreter, disclosed that the policemen, who arrested them for interrogation, said that they were acting on “order from above.”
He lamented that the unknown men, had invaded the area with caterpillars and demolished the buildings in the presence of their wives and children, while the policemen detained them at Berger Bus stop, and released them some kilometers away from site at midnight.
When contacted on phone, the Public Relations Officer of the Development Control, Kalu Emetu, who claimed ignorance of the said demolition exercise in the area, said the department has since slowed down on removal of structures in the FCT.
“I’m not aware of any petition regarding the demolition of the said healthcare facility in Katampe, and not even the District Officer was aware of such exercise in the area,” he insisted.