The Akoh community in the Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State has dragged Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc to court for alleged forceful takeover, destruction or demolition of their immovable properties.The takeover, the community alleged, was to enable the company to establish a sugar refinery.
Others joined as respondents in the suit include the Nasarawa State Governor Mohammed Ibrahim; the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.
In the originating motion on notice they filed before the Nasarawa State High Court in Lafia, the applicants prayed the court for a declaration that the “forceful takeover of land, houses and economic trees at Akoh village on September 10, 2018 and thereafter, for the establishment of a sugar refinery did not follow the due process prescribed by the Land Use Act, 1978, but is arbitrary, unconstitutional and a flagrant abuse of the applicants fundamental right.”
The applicants also prayed the court to declare that “the purported revocation and acquisition of the applicants right of occupancy by the second respondent (Governor of Nasarawa State) over their land situated at Akoh village for the establishment of the first respondent (Dangote Sugar) is not in the manner nor for the purposes prescribed by the Land Use Act, 1978.”
The applicants were also seeking “a declaration that the invasion of their farmlands in June 2019 by the first respondent, with heavy trucks and a detachment of military officers, ploughing through the farms, surveying and planting beacons therein, and destroying the applicants’ food crops and economic trees without notice of acquisition nor prompt payment of compensation was illegal, unconstitutional and blatant infringement on the applicants’ fundamental right enshrined in Section 44 (1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.”
They prayed the court to perpetually restrain the respondents and their agents “from further violating the applicants’ fundamental right or freedom from compulsory acquisition of their private property.”
They asked the court to award N100m award of N100m special damages against the first respondent, “being the estimated value of the applicants’ houses destroyed by the respondent.”
They also demanded payment of N1bn as aggravated or exemplary damages allegedly caused them by the respondents.
Justice Suleiman Dikko has adjourned the suit till February 26.