As evicted residents ask Appeal Court to determine action on merit
By Jane Echewodo – Lagos
The Lagos State Attorney General (AG) and Commissioner of Justice, Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN) has been accused by the 144 evictees of Eric Moore Towers, Surulere, Lagos State, of depriving them of reaping the fruits of the judgement they obtained six years ago by stalling it at the Court of Appeal, Lagos.
The evictees particularly argued that the AG, working for Moshood Salvador, has been filing one process or the other just for the purposes of stalling the case at the appellate court.
The action, which was initiated in 2005 and fixed for hearing at the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal on October 22, 2019, could not hold, and no reason was given as to why hearing on the matter was stalled.
Only the evictees and their lawyer, Daniel Makolo were in court.
No new date was given either.
The evictees said: “We urge the Court of Appeal in Lagos to hear our matter on merit based on the laws and facts presented before it in this case and we ask Nigerians to prevail on the court and watch our backs, hence we are in contest with “powerful Nigerians in power especially in charge of law, justice and order in Lagos and Nigeria at large.”
ALSO READ: Estate agent docked for breach of peace
Armed with evidence of true and genuine occupancy of Eric Moore Towers, the Evictees stormed the Federal High Court in Lagos, led by their lawyer and obtained a judgement delivered in their favour by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court Lagos on November 21, 2013.
Not satisfied, one Opanubi, on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Housing and 2 others, who are the respondents in the case filed a notice of appeal on November 29, 2013.
Our correspondent learnt that the appeal was settled and eventually ready for hearing in 2014, when Onigbanjo (SAN) allegedly jumped into the appeal, claiming to represent Dock Management company represented on the surface by Salvador, believed to be working for Dr Mimiko.
Dr Mimiko, then Minister of Housing, was believed to have directed the eviction of the occupants of the towers, despite the world outcry then and all strongly worded resolutions of both chambers of the National Assembly of Nigeria, ordering Mimiko and the implementation committee to stop what was described as barbaric and dastardly act of eviction.
The residents, in spite of the order from the Federal High Court Lagos, were said to have been finally evicted in the middle of one night in 2005.
The evictees’ 144 families and their dependants were also said to have suffered untold hardship on the streets of Lagos helplessly.
Their representatives led by Makolo reapproached the Federal High Court Lagos.
After tenacious struggle to the Court of Appeal in 2008, another in CA/660/2010 wherein the Court of Appeal ordered the rehearing of the case in March 2013 which led to the current appeal by the implementation committee.
With the ongoing appeal, Onigbanjo suo moto (on his own) was said to have jumped into the appeal, stalling the hearing ever since, and allegedly using the powers of his Silk as SAN.
It was further gathered that after several adjournments, the evictees wrote to the implementation committee to clarify who is the actual lawyer in the matter which they replied that it’s Opanubi and not Onigbanjo (SAN) who was confronted in open court with the implementation committee letter.
“Thereafter he claimed to represent Dock Management Ltd fronted by the all-powerful Hon Moshood Salvador”, an evictee volunteered.
In 2017, the Court of Appeal was said to have granted Dock Management leave to go and file her appeal, it filed only notice of appeal and went to sleep.
The Ministry of Housing and the implementation committee’s appeal which became riped for hearing since 2014 was set down for hearing on October 22, 2019, about the 12th times of such adjournments, for the adoption of the process of the parties for the appeal by the Minister of Housing and the implementation committee.
“We are coming from different parts of Nigeria. I flew into Lagos again yesterday for the appeal today (October 22, 2019), the evictees’ lawyer, Makolo said at the Court of Appeal, Lagos on Tuesday.
He said it is a simple case of a landlord and tenant matter dealing with the residue of the landlord proprietary rights between forcefully evicted tenants and Dock Management Ltd, who is claiming and smuggled into the property by the agent of the landlord despite the landlord’s expressed unilateral covenant code in an act of the National Assembly a 2002 Act from NASS.
“This simple case started since 2005 is still at the Court of Appeal due to Nigeria factor of big man versus poor men. This is absurd,” he said.