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Court restrains Lagos from harassing Festac residents

By Innocent Anaba

LAGOS — A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday restrained the Lagos State government from further intimidating and harassing Festac Town, Lagos residents over non-payment of tenement rates pending the determination of the suit by the residents.

Trial judge in the matter, Justice Binta Nyako, gave the order at the resumed hearing in the suit against the state government over its Land Use Act.

The residents are challenging the Lagos State Land Use Act, which was passed into law by the state House of Assembly, requiring residents of Federal Government estates to pay certain amount of money stipulated by the state.

Plaintiffs in the matter, Jola Ogunlusi, Anthony Okolo, Emmanuel Ichoko and Emmanuel Ukaegbu, who brought the suit for themselves and on behalf of Festival Town Residents Association, are contending that the Lagos Land Use law was aimed at making profit out of the property of the plaintiffs without off-setting any liability and that the law amounted to double taxation.

Defendants in the suit are the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Attorney-General of the Federation and the Federal Housing Authority, FHA.

The plaintiffs’ counsel, at the hearing of the matter yesterday, showed the court series of threat letters dated December 29, 2009 allegedly  emanating from the Lagos State government, threatening to deal with the residents, despite the pendency of the matter in court.

Lagos State, however, denied any knowledge of the letter, contending that the government was  law-abiding.


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