Residents say homes were demolished while case was pending in court
A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered parties to address it on its jurisdiction in a suit filed by residents of Badagry Local Government Area over demolition of their property.
The suit which was fixed for judgment could not go on as Justice Ibrahim Buba ordered counsel representing plaintiffs, Chukwu Odumodu, to address the court on the issue of jurisdiction.
The judge said that since the plaintiffs averred in their originating processes, that there was a subsisting suit before a High Court in Badagry; counsel should address the court on its jurisdiction in the suit before judgment is delivered.
He adjourned the case till February 27 for hearing.
The applicants had filed the suit under the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules on behalf of other residents of Atinporome Community in Badagry.
The plaintiffs are Charles Adu, Joshua Medepo, Korede Mayegun, Godwin Ogungbe, Oluseyi Adeleye, Alao Alapanla, Johnson Adebiyi, Justice Ovemurai, Afolabi Olukoya, Ibrahim Adedeji, Kolawole Adewumi, Edun Talabi, Joseph Onwueka and Joseph Ibukun.
Others are Adebayo Oke, Olanipekun Ayanleye, Sylvester Enebeli, Shittu Abdullahi, Afolabi Kehinde, Ahmeed Alade, Iwueze Emmanuel, Oladimeji Oluwaseun, and Martha Adeogun.
They are claiming the sum of N100 billion against nine respondents for alleged wrongful demolition of their houses.
Joined as respondents are the Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Area Commander, Area K Police Command, Ministry of Police Affairs and Lagos Task Force on Environment and Special Offences Unit
Other respondents are Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State Lands Bureau, Attorney General of Lagos State and Attorney General of the Federation.
In the affidavit deposed to by the first applicant; the plaintiffs said that on December 14, 2013, they received a letter from the police that residents of the area should vacate.
“The letter from the second respondent specifically mentioned Agemowo and Agelado Mowo, Badagry, while our Community is at Atiporome, Araromi extension and Mowo Phase 2. We contacted our solicitors and informed them of the situation. And then, a letter was drafted to clear the air that our communities were at Atiporome; but all our efforts to serve the letter on the second respondent were rebuffed.All efforts made to also serve the letter on the third respondent’s office, was equally rebuffed by the respondents, who chased us out of the area command,” they said.
The applicants said that on December 16, 2013 at about 4.30 a.m., more than 100 armed policemen from the Lagos State Task Force, laid siege on the community, pulling down houses with bulldozers.
“More than 1,500 houses were demolished, while a six-month-old baby was killed in one of the houses demolished,” they said
According to the applicants, they were not allowed to pick anything from their houses before the demolition, while scores of residents and youths were arrested.
They, therefore, sought a declaration that the forceful demolition of their premises by the respondents was wicked, oppressive and unconstitutional and are claiming the sum of N5 million as cost of action.