Abuja Markets Forcefully Taken Over by AICL, AMML Raises Alarm

L-R HoD Operations Abuja Markets Management LTD (AMML), Ibrahim Yahaya Joe, Legal Consultant to AMML,Barr. Kunle Kolawole and AMMl Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, Barr. Edache Abuh Felix at media briefing held at AMML HQ, Friday August 8 2023

By Kemi Yesufu

Markets hitherto managed by the Abuja Markets Management Ltd (AMML) have been illegally hijacked by the Abuja Investment Company Limited to the detriment of traders and other stakeholders, Legal Consultant to AMML, Barr. Kunle Kolawole has said.

Speaking during a press briefing held at the Head Office of AMML on Friday, Kolawole, said the forceful takeover of these markets was the culmination of prejudicial actions taken by AICL with the taciturn backing of the Federal Capital Development Authority and certain individuals fronting for the ministry and AICL.

AMML’s Legal Consultant stated that the AICL, FCDA and other defendants have ignored the judgment of the Federal High Court Abuja and another judgment of the National Industrial Court.  

“The markets that this organisations manage have been forcefully taken over by these authorities without recourse to the rule of law. There was a facility management agreement between the AICL representing the FCTA and AMML which contains express terms by which that agreement can be brought to an end with either of the parties.

“Unilaterally the AICL terminated the facility management agreement without abiding by the expressly stipulated terms as contained in that agreement. It is important to note that the actions taken by these authorities including the takeover of markets came after the judgements and orders of the court have been handed down. These actions cannot stand because at law, all these actions are a nullity”, he said.

 Recall that Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, had in a judgment on July 10, nullified Abubakar Usman- Faruk’s redeployment by yet-to-be ratified AMML Board Chairman, Maina, and the former Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello.

The judge consequently ordered Faruk’s reinstatement as MD of AMML.

He also ordered the defendants, their staff and privies to restrain themselves from interfering with the Faruk’s exercise of his powers or carrying out the ordinary business of the company as an MD, including but not limited to holding board meetings.

The judge held that the decision of Maina and Bello to reconstitute the AMML’s Board of Directors in the manner done and publish in a press release of Feb 21 and inaugurated the said board on April 4 was unlawful, null and void.

Justice R. B. Haastrup of the National Industrial had also in a ruling dated, Wednesday July 20 2023, restrained the minister of the Federal Capital Territory, AICL, AMML, directly or indirectly from convening any meetings of the board of directors of AMML or transacting  business touching on or affecting the management of AMML or the relationship between Faruk and AMML.

Haastrup had also ordered that status quo ante, that is, before the issuance of the purported letter of termination of employment against Faruk pending the hearing and determination of the counterpart motion of notice, be maintained.

This is as the judge issued an order of interim injunction restraining the FCDA, AICL and AMML from giving effect or further giving effect to the purported letter of termination of employment issued against Faruk dated July 17 2023, pending the hearing and determination of the counterpart motion on notice.

Faruk had, on July 12, resumed to his office following the judgment about three years after the office was left unoccupied.

But following the failure of the FCDA and AICL to obey the judgement of both courts, AMML and Faruk returned to the Federal High Court Abuja on August 8th. The presiding judge, A.R. Mohammed, ordered the AICL, FCDA, Permanent-Secretary FCDA, Abubakar Sadiq Maina MD/CEO of AICL, Engineer Mohammed Abass Yakubu and the Corporate Affairs Commission to maintain status quo antebellum from the date of filling the suit, as well an order directing all defendants in the suit to appear before the court on 16th August.

However, Kolawole further told reporters at the briefing that FCTA and AICL have continued to disregard earlier judgements which have not been overturned.

He said: “Obviously, the decision of our M.D/CEO to challenge his redeployment and the reconstitution of the board of AMML, both done illegally did not go down well with the powers that be in the FCT, specifically, by some staff of the FCT administration and the AICL, who viewed the court action as a challenge to their powers and authorities. Consequently, they started throwing every stone at our M.D/CEO, with many of the stones, falling on AMML, who has decided to abide by the judgments of the courts of law.

“They have done many things and are still doing everything possible, to frustrate the M.D/CEO of AMML, and AMML itself. For instance, the AICL and FCTA have among many other illegal actions perpetrated against the AMML and its M.D/CEO, done the following without any caution as to the damaging consequences of these negative actions.

“They held, albeit unlawfully a General Meeting allegedly of the Members of AMML on the 17th of July 2023, where a supposed decision to terminate the appointment of Alh. Abubakar Usman Faruk was allegedly taken, even though none of the members on record was at the meeting. There is the publication of the said purported termination letter in national dailies despite a valid and subsisting court order of the National Industrial Court, restraining them from doing so”.

“You have the managing director of AICL writing to bankers of AMML to PND/Freeze the AMML accounts with the aim of crippling her operations and among other things make it difficult for AMML to fulfill her operations and fulfilling her tax obligations to government. 

“There have been defamatory media campaign against AMML and its M.D/CEO.  They have also been holding meetings with traders with a view of inciting them and actually incited them against AMML. There was the wrongful termination of facilities management agreements between AICL and AMML” and the forceful takeover of all AICL markets including but not limited to WUSE and other markets, under the lawful management of AMML”.


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