Lagos government says it was helping deportees reunite with their families.
A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday adjourned to October 15 hearing in a suit filed by seven Igbo deportees challenging an alleged breach of their fundamental rights.
The plaintiffs – Joseph Aniebonam, Osondu Mbuto, Osondu Agwu, Nnenna Ogbonna, Emily Okoroariri, Friday Ndukwe and Onyeka Ugwu – are suing the Lagos State Government on behalf of 76 others for infringing on their fundamental rights.
The plaintiffs filed the suit through their lawyer, Ugo Ugwunnadi.
The Attorney-General of Lagos State and the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State were joined as respondents in the suit.
The case could not be heard at the resumed date due to a notice of preliminary objection filed by the Attorney-General of Lagos State.
The objection was dated June 17 and served on counsel to the plaintiffs in court.
Since the application was not yet ripe for hearing, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia fixed October 15 for mention.
The judge also ordered hearing notices to be issued to the police before the next adjourned date.
In their motion, the applicants wanted the court to declare that they, as Nigerian citizens, were entitled to their fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution.
They sought a declaration that their arrest and detention in various camps in Lagos in July 2013, and their subsequent deportation to Anambra on July 24, 2013, for no offence, amounted to a serious breach of their rights.
The deportees also sought an order mandating the respondents to tender a written apology to them by publishing same in three national newspapers continuously for 30 days for gross violation of their constitutional rights.
They asked for an order directing the Lagos State Government to re-integrate them into the state as well as a perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, their agents, and officers from further deporting or refusing them free entry into Lagos.
In addition, the applicants claimed the sum of N1 billion against the respondents jointly and severally as general damages for a breach of their rights.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government in its counter-affidavit contended that the deportation was not borne out of malice, but out of genuine intention to re-unite the applicants with their families.
It further averred that the applicants were only assisted by the government to re-join their families after pleading that they had no homes, relatives or businesses in Lagos State.