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Published On: Tue, Jul 30th, 2019

Kaduna based lawyer drags AG, police commissioner to court over client’s detention

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From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna

A kaduna based legal practitioner, Reuben Atabor, has dragged Kaduna State Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State Command to court for arresting and detaining his client at a peace meeting in Kaduna Government House to resolve a land dispute.
According to Atabor, his Client, Alhaji Umar Mohammed Farouk, is the owner of 209 hectares of land at Kaduna-Abuja expressway, which he has developed and use as farmland for about 20 years.
He added that the government gave the disputed farmland to Crowns Flour Mills Ltd, a private limited liability company.
This development, according to him, made his client be aggrieved, but the State government promised to give him alternative land in 2017 but to no avail.
The legal practitioner further said when the State government failed to keep its promise, his client decided to take the matter to court in a suit number KDH/KAD/1146/2017 before Justice Hanatu Balogun.
In the documents, it was noted that Farouk was given the Certificate of Occupancy (C/O) on March 2nd, 2012 by the Kaduna State government, while Crown Flour Mills was issued CofO for the same land on March 16th, 2016.
“The defendants in that case, which involved the State governor and five others, approached my client for settlement out of court. The first meeting was held in Government House and Kaduna State government, as well as Crown Flour Mills proposed to pay my client certain amount of money.
“However, the parties could not agree on the amount and a meeting was fixed on the 22nd day of May, 2019 to harmonise the position. This meeting of 22nd May, 2019 could not hold.
“The State government through Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice thereafter invited the applicant through me (his counsel) for a meeting on 23rd day of July, 2019 at government house, Kaduna and my client honoured the invitation.
“The meeting, however, ended in deadlock and when my client left the meeting, he was arrested and detained in a room at government house.
“After some hours of detention at the government house, Kaduna, Farouk was taken to the ministry of Justice, Kaduna in a bus with police officers at about 1.30 pm.
“And after about 30 minutes at the ministry of Justice, he was taken to Special Investigation Bureau (SIB) at the police headquarters, Kaduna.
“It is against this background that my client put up application in court for the enforcement of his fundamental rights”, Atabor stated.
However, when contacted by our correspondent, Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dari Bayero said, “There was such meeting, but I don’t have the details yet, and I will give you the details as soon as I get it”.
But at the time of filing this report, Bayero did not get back to our correspondent for details.
When also contacted, is the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Chris A. Umar, who wrote the invitation letter on behalf of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice for the July 23 meeting, said “I am aware of the meeting, but I was in Abuja on the day of the meeting”.
When the Counsel to Crown Flour Mills, Mr. Olusola Idowu (SAN) was equally contacted, he said, “I left the meeting as soon as it ended, so am not aware of any arrest”.

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