Ex-Gov Suswan’s wife escapes mob attack in Abuja over alleged extortion

Posted by News Express | 19 October 2015 | 3,913 times

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Mrs. Yemisi Suswam, wife of immediate-past governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, was on Saturday saved from a mob attack by a contingent of fierce-looking police officers from the Federal capital territory (FCT) Police Command.

Aggrieved traders had taken to the streets to protest alleged extortion and continued denial of access to their shops at the Wuye Ultra Modern Market.

They market was developed by All Purpose  Shelter Development Company, a firm owned having links with Mrs. Suswam and in which she is said to be the major financier..

She was inside the multi-billionaire market under construction, when the protesters arrived.

The former  Benue State First Land, who was held hostage for some hours in the market by the traders who accused her of conniving with  the authorities of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) of not only extorting money from them but also  denying them access to the shops they have since paid  for.

Chairman of Association of Wuye Ultra Modern Market Allottees, Chief Ifeanyi  Ezejim, said the traders paid various amounts of money ranging between N2,000 and N8,000 as allocation free, to the FCDA.

He therefore asked the FCDA authorities to give tell them the statutory fee, so that they can pay and move into their shops to start their businesses.

The protest, according to him, was informed by an order of an Abuja High Court, which had asked the FCDA to declare the statutory fees for the shops but which the latter  had not obeyed.

Ezejim said: “Somebody somewhere who believes that he or she is above the law is now using the police to stop the traders from doing their businesses. This is why we are protesting, we are not happy and we will not continue to wait to be accepting all this intimidation.

“The intimidation is too much and I don’t know the type of country we are that the police who are supposed  to be adhering  to the law of the land  is going against the law. So, we are not happy with the conduct of the Nigeria police today.

“We have gone to the FCDA  and they did not say that  we have no allocation here, they  did not say we did  not pay  for allocation of shops  here even though we are hearing rumour here now that  FCDA  said that  we  did not pay anything. It is not  true, we are telling them here that ‘give us the  statutory fee so that we pay and continue  our businesses.’

“The court has even told the FCDA that ‘give these  people the statutory  feels so that they can pay and they are not ready to do  it.’ We have so far  paid  what  is required  of us but we are talking of the statutory  fees now.

“This is the FCT Area Command  of the Nigeria Police that is deployed here  and being led by the area commander. Mrs  Suswan, the wife of the former governor  of Benue  State is inside  there. She is instrumental  to what is happening  here. She said that she use her money  to construct  the market  and so,  wants to get here money back.”

In his reaction, Lekan Ogunleye, the Secretary/Legal Adviser to All Purpose Shelter Development (Mrs. Suswam’s firm) that developed the market, said the traders had not been given a location because they were not ready to pay some money requires of them.

He said: “In 2002, government advertised for the  construction of four  markets in Abuja, which were in Garki, Kaura, Wuye  and Mabuchi  and All Purpose Shelter  Development  won the contract  for  the construction  of Wuye Market.

“They took  loan  from  bank  to build the Wuye  market. The same government gave the developer a list  of 5,605 traders that can benefit  from  this  market. 

“Meanwhile, the  total number  of shops in this market  is just 1,600 shops and people  have been  paying  the developer  since 2007 for these shops with the same Federal Capital  Development Authority papers.

“Now, in 2012, we went  to court  over  this place (market) based on the year 2002 FCDA papers which  give them  right  to use and enjoy these shops without  making any further  payment other than the N2,000, N5,000 and N8,000 that that have paid.

“But the problem that now arose was  that the court went ahead to also say that they have the right to use and  enjoy the shop. However, we,  the developer  are now of the opinion that  there  are  certain conditions that would  make ‘you enjoy that right’, we  are not  denying that they don’t have right  but  there  are certain things that they  need  to  do to  enjoy the  shops  just like any other person who  carries the same FCDA papers have done.

“But they are here now  saying no, we are not going to do anything. What I expect  their lawyer  to do is to advise  them that they  should  go back  to  that  court  and say  “the shop you gave  us, these  people are denying  us, take the developer  for contempt  of court” so that the court  can make further  order and say go and use it without further  payment or pay  before  you  use.

“For us as a company to achieve that, we have filed paper in court for the court to say so. And the case is coming up on the 10th of December but the way the whole thing  is  going, we  are looking  at  a situation  where  it can come up  earlier.

“Since last week, FCDA have advertised in so many newspapers that they should go and meet the developer to tell them how much to pay. I have personally written letter to their lawyer that this is what you are going to pay but he has not replied me only for them to come up with this protest.”

Photo shows Mrs. Yemisi Suswam.                                                                               

Source: News Express

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