A Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained the Minister of FCT, 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, in a judgement, also made an injunction order restraining the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and Arab Contractors (OAO) from further encroaching on the site.

Justice Ekwo also 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 beacon coordinates: PB57-PB59, PB60-PB69, PB70-PB79, PB80PB89, PB90-PB99, and PB1000-PB104, located at Airport Road, Wawa District, Cadastral Zone E24, FCT, Abuja.”

“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 to 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), at a cost of 35 million dollars.

The judge, who ordered the company to pay a N50 million 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 Feb. 6, was sighted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday.

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