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Court nullifies El-Rufai’s revocation of Durbar Hotel’s C of O

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A Kaduna High Court has nullified the revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy of Durbar Hotel by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

In January 2020, El-Rufai demolished Durbar Hotel, which belonged to the family of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, and revoked its C of O while the case was still pending in court.

The Abacha family through their counsel, Dr. Reuben Atabo, consequently dragged the governor and three others to the Kaduna High Court presided over by Justice Hannatu Balogun for the “illegal demolition” of the Hotel and revocation of its C of O.

Joined in the suit number KDH/KAD/51/2020 with the Kaduna governor were the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of Kaduna State, the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency, and the Kaduna State Geographic and Information Service, according to a news report.
The lead counsel to the Abacha family, had, upon a “Motion on Notice brought pursuant to Order 15 Rules 1 of the Kaduna State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2007 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the Honourable Court dated and filed on 17 December, 2020 prayed for an order setting aside and or nullifying the purported Notice of revocation of Certificate of Occupancy No. 177789 in respect of Durbar Hotel addressed to Alhaji Mohammed Abacha during the pendency of the suit.”

He also prayed for “an order setting aside and/or nullifying the revocation of the title of the Plaintiff/Applicant on the 24 day of January 2020 by the Defendants/ Respondents but received on the 29/1/2020 during the pendency of the action.”

The counsel also prayed for “an order to maintain status quo antebellum prior to the commencement of this action, and for such further order (s) as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the present circumstances which came up for hearing on 30/03/2023 before the presiding Judge.”

Counsel for the Plaintiff, E.D Izu Esq, moving their application supported by a nine-paragraph affidavit, annextures and a written address in support of the application, submitted that the Defendants had not been able to counter the averments in the affidavit because they were awaiting directives from the government officials and applied for an adjournment to put their house in order.

In the ruling, the presiding Judge, Justice Hannatu Balogun, stated that, “Having heard both counsel, the oral application to stay hearing of the motion dated 17/12/2020 and filed on the same date cannot be granted because the matter in the Court of Appeal is an appeal against the grant of leave to amend the Plaintiffs processes.

“There is currently no stay of proceedings in this Court and the Defendants appear not to be diligent in prosecuting their appeal while at the same time they continue to disobey the Orders of this Court and also are trying to do acts that will prejudice the other side. The duty of this Court is to ensure that there is a level playing ground for all parties.

“In the circumstance, the application to stay proceedings or adjourning this matter cannot be granted in the interest of justice and fairness. It is accordingly refused and the business of the day shall proceed.

“I have considered the application to adjourn this matter made again after the motion has been moved and I agree with the Plaintiffs Counsel that the Defendants have not shown bona fide. They have not denied the fact that there is tampering of the res by them or others at their instance.

“In the circumstance, since the application has bearing on the res and the Defendants have not deemed it fit to respond to the motion for over 2 years, there is nothing to show that the interest of justice will be achieved by an adjournment of this matter. The application for adjournment is accordingly refused.

“Having considered the Plaintiffs motion of 17/12/2020 which is uncontested, I am of the view that the application has merit in view of the grounds of the application, the unchallenged affidavit and the Exhibits annexed.

“The Supreme Court and in deed all Courts of the land have decried the use of self-help by litigants. It is the duty of the Courts to provide a level playing field for all parties and not allow any side to use the judicial system side by side with self-help to the disadvantage of the other.

“On the whole, I grant the Plaintiff’s motion dated 17/12/2020 and nullify the purported Notice of revocation of Certificate of Occupancy No. 177789 in respect of Durbar Hotel and nullifying the revocation of the Plaintiff’s title made on the 24/01/2020 and received on the 29/1/2020 during the pendency of this action. The status quo antebellum i.e. prior to commencement of this action shall be maintained by all parties.”

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U.S. army sets deadline for troop withdrawal from Niger

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The United States has initiated the withdrawal of its military forces from Niger Republic, following directives from the West African nation’s military leadership.

The withdrawal process, slated to be completed by September 15, 2024, marks the end of an era of American military presence in the country.

According to a press release jointly issued by the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland and the US Department of Defense on Sunday, discussions between the two parties, held from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Niger, aimed to ensure the orderly and safe withdrawal of US forces from the region.

Led by high-ranking officials such as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher Maier, and the Chief of Staff of the Nigerien Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Kiaou, the discussions emphasised transparency and mutual respect.

The withdrawal encompasses troops stationed at key bases, notably the strategically significant $110 million drone base in Agadez.

“Representatives of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger met from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Republic of Niger, as part of a Joint Disengagement Commission, to coordinate the orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger.

“These discussions between the militaries were conducted in complete transparency and with perfect mutual respect between the two parties.

“The U.S. Department of Defense delegation was led by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Mr. Christopher Maier; and the Director of Joint Force Development in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lieutenant General Dagvin Anderson. The delegation of the Ministry of National Defense of Niger was led by the Chief of Staff of the Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Sani Kiaou,” the statement read in part.

Despite the military disengagement, both nations affirmed their commitment to ongoing diplomatic dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including counterterrorism efforts.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Ministry of National Defense of Niger have reached a disengagement agreement to effect the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which has already begun. It is therefore agreed that this disengagement will end no later than September 15, 2024.

“Both delegations confirmed the guarantees of protection and security to the American forces during their withdrawal. The delegations also established procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of U.S. personnel, including overflight and landing clearances for military flights.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defense recall the joint sacrifices of Nigerien and U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism and commend each other’s efforts to build up the Nigerien Armed Forces. The Parties undertake to continue cooperation in areas of common interest.

“The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger does not affect the continuation of U.S.-Niger development relations. The United States and Niger are committed to ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations,” it added.

The US initially established a military base in Niger to combat armed groups aligned with al-Qaeda and ISIL operating in the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso and Mali. The primary airbase in Agadez, located about 920km from the capital Niamey, has been a crucial site for both manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other military operations.

On April 19, 2024, the US announced plans to withdraw its troops from Niger due to the West African nation’s growing alignment with Russia and its distancing from Western powers. Consequently, the US Department of State agreed to pull out approximately 1,000 troops from the country, which has been under military rule since July 2023.

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Reps seek more financial investment for federal teaching hospitals

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The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, has called for a sustained financial investment in the federal teaching hospitals across the country.

He said this will be in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for the betterment of the citizenry.

Magaji disclosed this during an oversight visit of members of his committee to the Federal University of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital, Otukpo.

He stressed the need to allocate more funds in health sector, considering the primary responsibility of health institutions in the country.

Magaji appreciated the Chief Medical Director, CMD, and his management staff for showing interest in the growth of the teaching hospital, considering the tremendous achievements recorded within a period of one year.

He assured that he would work with his members to ensure that more funds are made available to develop the needed infrastructure including the medical equipment to meet up with the expectations of the people.

“We are glad to be in Otukpo today to see things for ourselves. We don’t want to depend on second hand information on the true condition of the Federal University Teaching Hospital Otukpo,” he said.

He assured the management of full support of the Federal House of Representatives as appropriate incentives would be given through interface with other critical stakeholders in Abuja.

The committee chairman enjoined the staff, whom he described as foundation staff to work as team despite the working condition, “we have seen how the environment is looking and we will continue to monitor the progress.

“So, as foundation staff, you all have the opportunity to write your name in gold.”

While welcoming the committee, the CMD, Prof Silas Ochejele, appreciated the federal government for the establishment of the teaching hospital in Otukpo which has drastically changed the medical services narratives in the state.

Ochejele thanked the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions for the pains to come down to Otukpo and believed that the visit has made them to see things themselves, which would go a long way in repositioning the hospital for the betterment of the people.

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JUST IN: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President crashes

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X. BREAKING: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President involved in an accident

A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X.

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