Police demolition: N100bn suit against IGP, others adjourned

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BY INNOCENT ANABA

LAGOS — A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, adjourned till February 21, hearing in the suit by some residents of Atiporome community in Badagry Local Government Area Lagos State, over demolition of their houses.

Trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, adjourned the case after counsel representing the Attorney-General of Lagos State, informed the court that he had not seen any of the processes from the applicants with which to respond to the suit and prayed the court for more time to sort out his processes and regularise his position on the matter.

The applicants, through their counsel, in the fundamental rights enforcement suit, are claiming N100 billion against nine respondents for alleged wrongful demolition of their houses in Atiporome community in Badagry council.

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 and others.

Respondents 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 Development; Lagos State Lands Bureau; Attorney General of Lagos State and Attorney General of the Federation.

The plaintiffs, in an affidavit, deposed to by Chief Charles Adu, averred that on December 14, 2013, they received a letter from the police that residents of the area should vacate their houses and land, adding: “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 were rebuffed. All efforts to also serve the letter on the third respondent’s office were equally rebuffed by the respondents, who chased us out of the area command.”

He further averred that 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 1,500 houses were demolished, while a six-month old baby was killed in one of the houses demolished.”

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.

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