Fintiri sued over revocation of land used for Tinubu’s presidential campaign

Contrary to Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri’s reason for revoking a two-hectare land belonging to Abubakar Babazango (Abaza), an Adamawa All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, representing Yola South/Yola North/Girei in the House of Representatives, for public interest to build a model school, Barrister Desmond Adewale, on Monday argued in court that the revocation was purely political.

Barrister Adewale said it was an illegal revocation and recalled how APC wanted to use Mahmud Ribadu Square for its presidential campaign which the Fintiri government denied them.

He said the magnanimity of Babazango to give APC his land for the campaign is the main reason Fintiri is allegedly hunting him through the unlawful seizure of the said land strategically situated close to Yola International Airport.

Adewale argued that the former owner acquired the land in 1976 and the current title owner (Abaza) legally owned it with constant payment of ground rent and should not be at the moment seized for public interest.

Addressing journalists after the case was mentioned in the Yola High Court with Justice Ahmed Isah presiding, Adewale asked why now given the fact that Fintiri has been in office since 2019.

“We’ve feelers from government quarters that because my client gave that land to the then President Muhammadu Buhari, the current President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the APC governorship candidate, Hajiya Aisha Ahmed Dahiru Binani, they are going to withdraw the certificate of occupancy (C of O). So, we got interim injunction restraining them from the use of the land, which is our reason of coming to court to challenge it,” Adewale said.

He alleged that the undiluted reason is that Fintiri revoked the land because Babazango gave Tinubu the piece of land for campaign, noting that the governor’s action under the guise of public interest is unlawful.

He claimed his client (Babazango) was a victim of political rivalry who incurred the wrath of Fintiri after chasing away a PDP HoR member at the Court of Appeal.

Counsel to Babazango argued that the Fintiri administration is basing their argument on the Adamawa limitation of law, saying that he has not exhausted the pre-action notice of 30 days before coming to court.

Adewale explained that whenever there are genuine threats, imminent danger, and infractions of human rights there’s no need to abide by that provision.

According to him, the case has a semblance of an infringement of human rights and is nothing more than a brazen display of lawlessness, and they will vigorously pursue the case up to the Supreme Court.

He alleged that the government is trying by all means to forcefully take over the land as, according to him, the letter of revocation was served on someone who has no connection to the land on the 10th January 2024.

He accused the Fintiri government of backdating the letter of revocation to render useless the court order restraining them from using the land.

In a counter motion, however, counsel to the government of Adamawa state, Barrister Abayomi Akamode, said the governor has the right to revoke the land for overriding public interest.

Citing section 28 of the Land Use Act, he said public interest is far above the interest of an individual, Babazango.

He faulted the plaintiff (Babazango) for not giving a pre-action notice of 30 days to the governor as provided by the Land Use Act.

The motion was adjourned by the presiding judge to February 26, for ruling.