By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has been directed by an Ikeja High court to testify in a suit he allegedly instituted seven years ago against a medical doctor, Mrs. A. G. Taiwo over a property that belonged to Abubakar Umar (Walin Bauchi).
Buhari, one of the Trustees to the estate of the Walin Bauchi, according to the information instituted the suit alongside a company, Intercontinental Assurance Limited who bought the property in question after the said occupant allegedly failed to fulfill her rent obligation. The matter was initially slated for the defense to continue with his case but when it was called before Justice Benedicta Shitta-Bey, the defense counsel, Kunle Salawu told the court that his client would like to close her case against the claimant, who had been directed to appear before the court.
â€œThe witness to be subpoenaed is in UK for medical treatment. We have text messages to show our interactions with his personal assistant in order to confirm our efforts. We apply to close our case now so that when he comes back, we will seek the leave of court to bring him to give his testimony as this case has dragged for so long. â€œWe are applying for a date to adopt our written addresses, close our case and bring him in when he comes back to the country.â€ Immediately, the presiding Judge, Justice Shitta-Bey agreed with the defense position. â€œYou have waited for him for too long. I give you the permission to close your case now and call him when he comes into the country.â€
She consequently granted the defense 21 days to file and serve their written address and also the claimant 21 days to serve theirs while she gave the defense an additional seven days to reply on the point of law. Subsequently, she adjourned the case till July 8, 2010 for adoption of final written addresses. Gen. Buhari was one of the Administrator of the estate belonging to late Abubakar Umar (Walin Bauchi), situated at Plot 1689C Oyin Jolayemi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The estate was rented out by Buhari to Taiwo under a lease agreement of two years starting from March 1, 1998 to February 2000. According to the statement of claim signed by Buhariâ€™s counsel, Obasanjo Fagbemi, the total rent for the period was N1, 300, 000, but Taiwo allegedly managed to pay N1 million leaving a balance of N300, 000.
The claim also stated that due to the failure of Taiwo to pay the balance, Buhari decided to sell off the property on August 21, 2002 to Intercontinental Assurance Company Limited. Consequently, Taiwo was given notice to quit the plot which has four bed room wings of duplex and two roomsâ€™ servant quarters. But for her alleged refusal to quit the said property, Buhari and the new purchaser (Intercontinental Assurance Company Limited) took Taiwo to court.