By Taiye Agbaje
The Abuja Markets Management Limited (AMML), on Wednesday , accused its sister company, Abuja Investments Company Limited (AICL), of sabotaging its operations of managing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)-owned markets in spite of a valid court judgment.
The AMML Legal Adviser, Felix Edacbe, made the allegation during a press briefing in Abuja.
Edache alleged that the Group General Manager (GMD) of AICL, Mr Abubakar Maina, unlawfully directed his workers to take over the AMML offices across markets in the FCT.
The lawyer, who alleged that the development had hindered the company from performing its mandate of revenue generation for FCT, said Maina’s action had also exposed the markets to insecurity as traders now do their businesses in apprehension.
“It has become imperative to get you informed of some sordid events currently putting the survival of AMML, its staff, security and wellbeing of our markets in jeopardy.
“On the 26th of July 2023, the GMD of Abuja Investments Company Ltd unilaterally wrote to all FCT owned markets, intimating them of their decision to suspend and throw open the market gates.
“This communication which was well circulated in the markets, compromised our security architecture.
“This, in our security review, may not be unconnected to the invasion of Wuse Market by suspected members of Shiite Movement on Friday the 28th July 2023.
“This much was promptly reported to the various security agencies for proper investigation.
“While still trying to solve the problems generated by the above wrong decision, on Tuesday, the 1st day of August, 2023, some staff of AICL, alongside some traders at about 6 a.m., went into Wuse market and forcefully break into our office, chased our staff away thereby further jeopardising the security of our market and making it impossible for us to raise revenue for the provision of services across markets.
“From the information at our disposal this is one of the many steps being taken in cohort with some dismissed staff of AMML to take over the market with the view of claiming and deceiving security agencies into believing that they are the authentic staff of AMML.
“They are doing this so that they can use the security agencies to chase away the MD/CEO of AMML and the authentic staff of AMML out of the office and forcefully annexed the office as they have done in the markets in violation of valid court orders/judgement,” Edache alleged.
He called on the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, to call Maina “to order on his hostility against the company’s Managing Director, Alhaji Abubakar Faruk.”
The Manager of Dei Dei Market, Janet Udemezue, also alleged that on Tuesday, some ex-staff of the AMML invaded her office early in the morning, chased them out and locked up the office.
She said the invaders told her that the AICL had taken over the markets in the area.
She said she had to call the district police officer (DPO) in the area who deployed some of his men to the office for prompt intervention.
“The market was thrown into a state of fear and apprehension.
“And we all know that Dei Dei is a volatile area with many miscreants who may want to take advantage of any little misunderstanding.
“This is why we are calling on the permanent secretary to come into the situation,” she said.
The Head of Operations of AMML, Mr Yahaya Ibrahim, said the company was committed to ensuring that the market system is well protected and food supply is stabilised towards generating the needed revenue for the FCT government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the markets under the management of AMML include Wuse Market, Gudu Market, Garki International Market, Garki Old Market, Nyanya Market, Dei Dei Market, Kaura Market, Area 1, 2 and 3 Shopping Centres, among others.
NAN reports that Justice Donatus Okorowo of a Federal High Court, Abuja, in a judgment on July 10, nullified Faruk’s redeployment by yet-to-be ratified AMML Board headed by Maina and the former Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello.
Justice Okorowo 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.
Besides, Justice R.B. Haastrup of a National Industrial Court, Abuja, on July 26, also nullified the termination of Faruk’s employment by Maina on behalf of AMML’s shareholders against a valid court judgment.
Maina in a letter he signed on July 17, had terminated Faruk’s employment.
Justice Haastrup also gave an interim injunction restraining the defendants, including the AICL, from conducting any board of directors’ meeting of AMML or transacting any business affecting the AMML management pending the determination of the counterpart motion on notice. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Sadiya Hamza