By OLASUNKANMI AKONI
LAgos — Lagos State Government, yesterday, said she is responding appropriately to the N1 billion and N20 million suits against it by some of the Igbo indigenes deported out of the state to Onitisha, Anambra State in July, 2013, adding that it had begun preparations toward the challenge in court.
Seven of the deportees, namely, Joseph Aniebonam, Osondu Mbuto, Osondu Agwu, Nnenna Ogbonna, Emily Okoroariri, Friday Ndukwe and Onyeka Ugwu sued on behalf of others, the Attorney-General, AG, of Lagos State and the Commissioner of Police and Lagos State Government to the tune of N1 billion.
Two other applicants namely: Osondu Agwuogo and Dandy Eze, through their counsel, Lekan Odunsi and Associates, sued the Executive Governor of Lagos State, AG and Commissioner for Justice as respondents for a N10 million each over damages they incurred through the illegal, forceful removal from Lagos State and infringement of fundamental right to freedom of movement.
The state Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye, while speaking with Vanguard on the suits, said the government was not moved by the suits as it would appropriately respond to the challenge.
Ipaye, confirmed that the state government had been served the court papers as government was ready to meet them in the court.
He, however, stressed that the suit could either be politically motivated or not, insisting that government was responding to it appropriately.
He explained: “We are not moved by the N1 billion suit. The suit could be politically motivated or not. We are going to respond to it as we have been served the court papers.”
Ipaye, also, added that the decision to transport the affected persons to their home state was based on their request after due consultation with their state of origin.
In his own reaction, the State Publicity Secretary, All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said: “We will meet them in court,” noting that the suit was politically motivated as those deported could not have garnered the power to sue the government.
According to Igbokwe, those behind the lawsuit should also sue Peter Obi for deporting several Igbo indigenes in his state to Ebonyi State in 2011, and accused the Anambra State Government of drumming up the issue because of the coming election.