A High Court in Jalingo has delivered judgement in favour of Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Alhaji Hassan Ardo, in a protracted land dispute with Sardauna Local Government, Taraba, and nine others.
Justice Yusuf Bashir, who delivered the judgement, said that the defendants were not able to prove that they were the rightful owners of the land, adding that their action amounted to criminal trespass.
He awarded a N200,000 cost against the defendants, and issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining them from further encroaching or trespassing on the land in dispute.
In the suit filed at the High Court on Feb 20, 2013, Ardo had prayed the court to stop the defendants from encroaching on his land.
He also demanded N500,000,000 as damages from the activities of the defendants.
“Based on the evidence made available to this court, title is hereby declared in favour of the plaintiff and all other successors of the Late Ardo Hassan Hainare, over all the land in dispute.
“An order of perpetual injunction is hereby issued restraining the defendants, their privies and agents from further encroaching or trespassing on the land in dispute.
“A declaration that the action of the defendants amounted to trespass attracted a sanction of N200,000 awarded to the plaintiff as damages.
“The defendants are ordered to retrieve all trees planted by them on the land or forfeit them to the plaintiff,” he said.
Reacting to the judgment, Counsel to the defendants, Mr S. B. Mariyaki, said that it reflected the position of the court, hinting that his clients were most likely to appeal the judgment.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Martins Milkman, said that the judgment was “an iron cast judgment that reflected very sound judicial prudence,” adding that it had a tenacity that would stand the test of time.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), recalls that Ardo had, in 2013, dragged the Sardauna Local Government of Taraba and nine others to court over alleged criminal trespass and encroachment on his land situated at Hainare Village in Sardauna Local Government Area.