From IKENNA EMEWU, Abuja
The Nigerian partners of the Malaysian Gardens Estate, Abuja who have been locked in a cold war with the Federal Capital Territory Administration has alerted the Chief Judge of the FCT about the failure of the FCT to file its defense for arbitration. In a letter made available to Daily Sun, the partners, Global Formwork Limited noted that the time allowed for the FCT to file its defense before the arbitration commences work expired yesterday.
A letter signed by Chief George Ebom, the CEO of Global Formwork stated: “We hereby bring to your notice that the FCT has defaulted in its obligation to respond to our positions. The application was served on them via a newspaper publication of the writs on November 4. The allowed 30 days expired yesterday, December 5. “We, therefore, urge you to call on the FCT Administration, especially the FCT Minister to comply with this rule and file before your lordship and the AMDC their response.
“But if the FCT continues to refuse to do this, we might deem it a deliberate act to further frustrate our interest in the matter, especially when the same body had been placing media advertorials to canvass its position against us. We are aware that if they should react through the media, that means they are aware of the pending process as indicated in the tone of the letter from the AMDC, and they can also extend the same media response to file their responses before the arbitration.
“Should the FCT continue to negate its duty to file its defenses as required, we may be left with the option of bringing an application before the court and the arbitration to enter judgment in our favour to forestall a situation where the FCT would succeed in frustrating the development of the $600 million mass housing estate of over 14,000 homes seated on 510 hectares of land, which was flagged off by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in the company of the former FCT minister, Malam Nasir El-Rufai over six years ago.” Ebom said their petition was “expeditiously acted upon, as we got a letter from the Abuja Multi-Door Courthouse on November 15.
The letter indicated that: “The “Chief Judge has referred this matter to the Abuja Multi-Door Courthouse (AMDC). Without prejudices to the Notice of Arbitration dated October 23 issued herein named claimant, Global Formwork, the centre hereby invites the parties above stated to a pre-session meeting scheduled to hold on Wednesday 21 by 11.00a.m at the Conference Room of the Abuja Multi-Door Courthouse.”
It indicated that the essence of the meeting was for the parties to explore the possibility of an amicable settlement of the dispute and noted that, “it is essential for the parties to be physically present or represented by persons with authority to enter into binding agreements.”
“In reply, we informed the AMDC on November 20 that as indicated in our processes before the court, we already have an arbitrator. He is Chief J.C. Okolo (SAN) “We equally brought to the knowledge of the AMDC that it is “expected not only to name and nominate/appoint an arbitrator of its choice, for each representation, and that ‘it seems to us that your invitation for pre-hearing scheduled for November 21 when affidavit for service on respondents was effected on October 24, would be premature in the light of the details that the rule stipulates 30 days from the day of service.
“We also humbly urged the arbitrators to comply with the rules as stated, while thanking the AMDC for taking quick action on the matter and expressed faith in its ability to resolve the disputes and make the work progress.”