Durbar Hotel: Court rules in favour of Abacha family

Justice Hannatu Balogun, of the Kaduna State High Court, yesterday ruled that nobody was misled when one of the parties in the case of Durbar hotel Plc vs Kaduna State government was referred to as Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency instead of Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority, (KASUPDA).

While delivering her ruling on the matter, she said, “It was a mistake in a name. Won’t every sane person say Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency is Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority? The answer is Yes”.

The Counsel to the State government, S S. Umaru, had in a previous court sitting argued that, “We opposed the application because it was against a non-existent party. The party sued is Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency, which is a non-existent party”

The Lead Counsel to Durbar hotel and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria ( SAN), Dr.Reuben Atabo, said his clients had earlier filed a motion for amendment of the name.

Dr. Atabo who was represented by Samuel Katung (SAN), in an interview said that “what transpired in Court today (Monday) is that we had earlier filed a motion to amend the name of Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency. You will recall that pursuant to the KASUPDA law of 2015, KASUPDA was known as Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency.

“However, there was an amendment to that law in 2018, and the name was changed to Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Authority, instead of Agency. But the Court said it was a common denominator in both laws, and that it has alias; alias KASUPDA in both laws. So, we had inadvertently referred to it as an Agency instead of an Authority, but our position was that that was a misnomer, nobody was misled. Both the 2015 and 2018 laws make reference to KASUPDA.”

“So, we filed a motion to amend; our Motion was opposed by the defendants, and the Court in its wisdom delivered the procedural ruling today, holding our position”.

“The Judge said it was a clear case of a misnomer, especially within the peculiar circumstance of the case where parties have agreed for settlement. So, nobody was misled. The amendment was granted. The judge granted the plaintiff leave to amend its claim from N1.2 billion to N11.5 billion”, he stated.

The matter was adjourned to July 5, for hearing.

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