Illegal Demolition: Badagry Residents Demand N100bn From Lagos, FG
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today fixed February 21 to hear a suit filed by some residents of Atinporome Community in Badagry Local Government Area, Lagos, over the demolition of their property.
Justice Ibrahim Buba fixed the date after the counsel representing the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr M. T Ogunsanya, informed the court that he had not been served any of the processes from the applicants with which to respond to the suit. He therefore prayed the court for more time to sort out his processes.
The applicants had filed the suit through their counsel, Mr Declan Kemdirim, under the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules, on behalf of other residents of the community.
They are claiming the sum of N100 billion against nine respondents, for alleged wrongful demolition of their houses, at the Atiporome Community in Badagry L.G.A.
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.
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 the Attorney General of the Federation.
In the affidavit deposed to by the first applicant, Chief Charles Adu, the plaintiffs contend that on Dec. 14, 2013, they received a letter from the police that residents of the area should vacate their houses and land.
“The said 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 was rebuffed.
“All efforts made to also serve the letter on the office of the Area K police commander, was equally rebuffed by the respondents, who chased us out of the area command” he said
The applicants said that suprisingly on Dec. 16, 2013 at about 4.30 am, over 100 armed policemen from the Lagos Task Force, laid siege on the community, and began to pull down their houses with bulldozers.
“Over 1500 houses were demolished, while a six-months old baby was killed in one of the houses demolished” he averred
According to the applicants, they were not allowed to pick anything from their houses before the demolition, while scores of residents and youths were indiscriminately arrested.
The applicants therefore, seek a declaration that the forceful demolition of their premises by the respondents, was wicked, oppressive and unconstitutional.
They are also asking the court to make an order compelling the respondents jointly and severally, to pay the sum of N100 billion as exemplary damages for wrongful invasion and demolition.
In addition, they are claiming the sum of N5 million as cost of action.