The lingering crises at Utako Motor Park in Abuja that before now had led to several casualties
or even loss of lives, National WAVES’ Chris RICHARDS writes could have been avoided if the
leadership of Abuja Municipal Area Council had fulfilled their own part of the Landlord/Owner-
Tenancy/Developer terms agreement reached in 2006 with Ekesons Bros. Nigeria Limited.
Just recently, in a bid to sanitize Abuja city, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB operatives charged with the responsibility of keeping the city clean were attacked by motor park touts for allegedly disturbing their business of illegal loading and hawking, purporting that they paid AMAC with official receipts to operate. This, our investigations reveal made AEPB to always be at the receiving end of any fracas unleashed whenever these aggrieved illegal operators wake up to fight for their selves/AMAC imposed street businesses against the Environmental Protection Act No. 10 section 36 of 1997.
It is stated in the agreement that Utako General Motor Park shall be the only approved bus terminal outside in all areas within the jurisdiction of the Landlord/Owner and the same shall be managed solely and exclusively by the Tenant/Developer in accordance with the terms of this agreement, whereas the seven private motor parks owned by C.N. Okoli, Chisco, ABC, Ekene Dilichukwu, E.Ekesons, Ifesinachi and The Young Shall Grow already existing in all areas within the jurisdiction of the Landlord/Owner and the same be managed solely and exclusively by the Tenant/Developer in accordance with the terms of this agreement, pointing out that the management committee shall determine rates/revenue accruable from these seven private parks.
It further stated that the Tenant/Developer shall after signing this agreement mobilize resources and shall within seven weeks of the date this agreement commence work/development on the Demised Premises by clearing the bush and uprooting the trees and erecting the fence walls.
According to a letter from the office of the Council Secretary reference AMAC/ADM/VOL.III/225 dated November 10, 2008 addressed to the Chairman of E.Ekesons Bros Nigeria Limited and signed by one Yakubu M. Adamu on behalf of the Hon. Chairman to this effect, it stated thus, “It would be recalled that a Tenancy/Developer agreement was entered between the Abuja Municipal Area Council and Messrs E.Ekesons Bros. Nigeria Limited to build and operate Jabi Motor Park, Utako subject to terms and conditions contained in this agreement”.
“In strict adherence with the provisions of the agreement, I am directed to convey to you the approval of the Council to manage and collect revenues accruable in Jabi Motor Park. You are on receipt of this letter requested to meet with the Head of Finance Department for the purpose of revenue remittance from the park”, the letter concluded.
Flouting the above agreement National WAVES gathered that AMAC instead, further leased the same portions of the said motor park to other transporters which necessitated litigations against them by Tenancy/Developer and since then the centre has not remain the same, as problems and troubles have been the order of the day at the park because AMAC never allowed the Tenancy/Developer full authority to operate.
A detailed investigation by National WAVES revealed that the Utako Motor Park crises did not start today. For instance, our correspondent gathered that in a suit No. FCT/HC/CV/5692/2001 on motion No. FCT/HC/M/3710/11 between E.EkesonsBros.Nigeria Limited as Plaintiff and Abuja Municipal Area Council AMAC as Defendant in an application between E.Ekesons Bros. Nigeria Limited as Applicant and Abuja Municipal Area Council and El-Salam Nigeria Limited as Respondents before Hon. Justice O. C. Agbaza on Thursday, December 1, 2011, upon hearing the motion exparte dated November 29, 2011 and filed on November 30, 2011 by the Plaintiff/Applicant brought pursuant to order 7 rules 8 and 9 of the FCT High Court (Civil Procedure) rules and under the inherent jurisdiction of this court praying for the following:
“An interim order restraining the Respondents, their agents, servant, privies or however called from embarking on any form of execution, construction or evacuation work in Utako Motor Park pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice and for such further or other order(s) as this honorable court may deem fit to make in the circumstance”.
Upon the reading of the motion paper and the affidavit of 37 paragraphs deposed to by one Jude Chikwendu and upon further hearing of OghenovoOtemuEsq, Plaintiff Counsel, the respondents are by this order of court restrained in the interim, by themselves, agents, servants, privies or however called from embarking on any form of excavation, construction or evacuation work in Utako Motor Park pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice. Now, how far have AMAC and its agents adhered to this rather than breeding problems by playing double standard. Therefore if peace should return absolutely to the Utako Motor Park, AMAC should play the game by the rule.