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High Court Orders Nasarawa State to Pay N100m for Demolishing Property

A high court has ordered the government of Nasarawa State to pay N100 million as damages for demolishing a property belonging to Kinric Construction and Fabrication Company and its affiliate, HARPS Property and Investment Company Limited.

Justice D.D Adeck, who gave the order, held that the government was to pay the money for aggravated damages for unlawful termination of contract, trespass and demolition of property.

The companies filed a case against the state government at the High Court for unlawful demolition and destruction of developments on the proposed Kinric Commercial Park along Abuja-Keffi Expressway, Mararaba-Karu.

Also joined in the case as co-defendants are the Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice, Usman Yusuf, and the KAPDA Property Company Limited.

Counsel to Kinric and HARPS Property, Sebastine Hon asked the court to declare the invasion, demolition and destruction of his clients’ investments, despite the memorandum of understanding with Greater Karu Planning and Development Authority (GKAPDA), as unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, null and void.

Other demands included an order for the immediate right to repossess the property without any further interference or disturbance, as well as a refund of N898 million as full value for the development of the property.

The lawyer told the court that his clients had a MOU incorporated by KAPDA Property Limited, in whose name a Right of Occupancy (R of O) issued on January 23, 2007 by the state, through the then GKAPDA, which later became Nasarawa State Urban Development Board.

The MOU had leased to Kinric Construction and HARPS Property to develop for 25 years, the 23 hectares of land that belonged to KAPDA property, near the international market.

But counsel to the state government, Solomon Ayenaje, said because Kinric and HARPS did not do anything substantial for more than two years after the execution of the MOU, including submission of building plans for approval, the government was compelled to order work stopped and subsequently terminate the contract.

Justice Adeck ordered that Kinric and HARPS repossess the property and that N98 million be awarded to them as general damages, and another N2 million as aggravated damages against the defendants.

An additional 10 per cent interest would be paid by the state on the N100 million.

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