BY INNOCENT ANABA
LAGOS—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered parties to address the court on its jurisdiction to entertain the suit by some residents of Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State, over the demolition of their houses.
The court had adjourned for judgment, but when the matter was called, trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba ordered counsel to the plaintiffs, to address the court on the issue of jurisdiction.
The judge noted that since the plaintiffs had averred in their originating processes that there was a subsisting suit before a Lagos State High Court sitting in Badagry, counsel should address the court on its jurisdiction in the suit, after which judgment will be delivered.
He adjourned the case to February 27 for hearing.
The applicants under the fundamental rights suit on behalf of other residents of Atinporome Community in Badagry are also claiming the sum of N100 billion against nine respondents, for alleged wrongful demolition of their houses.
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, Joseph Ibukun, among others, while defendants are the Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police Lagos State, Area Commander, Area K Police Command, Ministry of Police Affairs, Lagos Task Force on Environment and Special Offences Unit, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Develoopment, Lagos State Lands Bureau, Attorney General of Lagos State and Attorney General of the Federation.
The plaintiffs had averred in the suit that on December 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.
“Surprisingly on December 16, 2013 at 4.30 a.m., over 100 armed policemen from the Lagos Task Force, laid siege to the community, and began to pull down their houses with bulldozers. Over 1500 houses were demolished, while a six-month old baby was killed in one of the houses demolished,” they averred.