Demolition: Badagry Landlords Drag Lagos To Appeal Court | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Demolition: Badagry Landlords Drag Lagos To Appeal Court

Posted: May 14, 2015 at 12:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Tunde Opeseitan



The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal has fixed June 1, 2015 to hear the case of some Badagry landlords and residents who sued the Lagos State Government over alleged unlawful demolition of about 1,500 buildings in the area.

The appellants, from Atinporome, Araromi Ale Extension and Mowo Phase 2 communities in the area, had sued the Lagos State Government and others, demanding N100 billion compensation over the demolition exercise, which sacked them from their homes.

The appellants had also sought the reversal of the judgment of a Lagos State High Court in Badagry, which struck out their fundamental rights enforcement suit for want of jurisdiction.

The lower court judge, Justice Y.A. Adesanya, had, on July 10, 2014, struck out the appellants’ suit after deciding that it fell outside the scope of fundamental rights enforcement action.

But in their notice of appeal before the Justice Sidi Bage-led appellate panel, the appellants want the court to either decide their case on its merit or return the file to the Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, for reassignment to a new judge for fresh trial.

They had, in their suit marked BD/EDAMFH/2014 before the Badagry High Court, alleged unlawful invasion and demolition of their properties, indiscriminate arrest, torture and detention by agents of the state.

The appellant, who claimed that their communities were invaded about 4.30am on December 16, 2013, had urged the lower court to declare that the demolition of their properties by agents of Lagos State was wrongful, wicked, oppressive and unconstitutional.

They also wanted a pronouncement that the action of the respondents amounted to a breach of their fundamental rights as protected by Sections 33, 34 and 36 of the Constitution.

But Justice Adesanya struck out their suit after holding that the dispute cantered on ownership of title on the property and not a breach of the appellants’ fundamental rights.

However, the residents and landlords, who were displeased, had through their lawyer, Mr. Declan Kemdirim, appealed Adesanya’s judgment.

At the resumed proceedings before the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, none of the respondents were present.

Kemdirim obtained the leave of the court to move an application to be heard alone as the respondents had failed to file any process.

The panel, after hearing Kemdirim, adjourned till June 1 to take the appeal and also ordered the service of hearing notice on the respondents.

The 23 appellants, who sued for themselves and on behalf of other landlords and residents in the communities include Charles Adu, Joshua Medepo,  Oluseyi Adeleke and Adebiyi Johnson.

The respondents are Lagos State Task Force on Environment and Special Offences Unit; Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development and Lagos State Lands Bureau.

Others are the Attorney General of Lagos State; Inspector General of Police; Lagos State Commissioner of Police; Area Commander, Area K Police Command; and the Attorney General of the Federation.