An FCT High Court in Jabi on Tuesday ordered the Abuja Metropolitan Management Coubcil (AMMC), to N2 million as compensation to a businessman, Chief Ogbu-James Onoja, for destroying a sign post lawfully acquired by him.
AMMC is a department under the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).
Justice Charles Agbaza of the court equally granted other relieves sought in the suit with No. HC/CV/2922/2018 filed in the court in July 2018 by Onoja, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
According to the Judge, based on the findings of the court, the plaintiff has proved his case with credible evidence and has made out a case to warrant the granting of the relieves sought.
Others joined in the suit are the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and AMMC).
The plaintiff (Onoja) had told the court in the originating summons that the respondents breached the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) in respect to sections 7, 303, 318 First Schedule Part 2, Paragraph 1(G) of the fourth schedule.
The plaintiff had claimed that after following due process as enumerated by AMAC when he was first approached the council to name in Wuye District of the FCT as “Ogwu James Onoja Crescent’, AMMC, a department under FCDA went ahead to dismantle it after some months.
According to the plaintiff in the originating summon, he was approached with the idea by the officials of AMAC since he had a building in the area, in which his office is also situated.
The plaintiff added that he was asked to pick a form for N25, 000 in this respect, and also carried out and did everything he was asked to do.
The plaintiff said that after the payment of the N25,000 and filling of the form, he was asked to pay another N7, 000 for per metre length and another N3, 106 per metre as social service contribution to the area.
Onoja also told the court in the summon that he paid N1 million on March 6, 2018 and another N1 million on March 7, 2018 to AMAC in respect of the transaction.
According to Onoja, his letter paper to his office and other correspondence were changed at the period to reflect the new name of the street, and that he was surprise to see another parallel sign post with the inscription of “Amma Pepple Crescent’’ on that street after few weeks.
The plaintiff had prayed the court for a declaration that only the AMAC has the powers of naming of roads, streets and numbering of houses in the area council and no other, and a declaration that the AMMC and any other department or the FCDA itself do not have the powers to do such.
Onoja is also prayed the court for a declaration that AMMC, other department or FCDA itself do not have the powers to demolish, dismantle, or destroyed street signs and post mounted by AMAC and other area council for that matter.
The plaintiff also prayed for an order mandating, directing or compelling AMMC to remove the street post bearing Amma Pepple Crescent from the street with immediate effect.
He also prayed for an order restraining the AMMC and any other department or agency of the FCDA from tempering with the street named after the plaintiff and an order restraining them from carrying out any other destruction on the crescent.
The plaintiff also prayed the court to grant N500 million as general damages against the AMMC.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AMAC had bowed to the pressure of the plaintiff during their argument admitting that the plaintiff was right in his argument but FCDA and AMMC disagree with the position.
Mr M. A Ebute, the plaintiff counsel had maintained a position in the originating summon , that only AMAC had the legal say and right as contained in the Nigeria constitution to name a street after person and not the FCDA and AMMC.
Mr Idris Yakubu, counsel for FCDA and AMMC, had argued that there was no Act of National Assembly establishing the structure, composition, finance and functions of the area council in the FCT as contemplated by Section 308 of the 1999 constitution.
Yakubu also backed his argument with Section 7(5) of the 1999 saying that the National Assembly was yet to conferred a law on AMAC to carry out such function to name a street after person adding that, it is only National Assembly that can give such power to AMAC.