Court adjourns suit challenging relocation of Igbo from Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday adjourned hearing till February 10, 2015 in a suit filed by seven persons relocated by the Lagos State Government.

The plaintiffs are Joseph Aniebonam, Osondu Mbuto, Osondu Agwu, Nnenna Ogbonna, Emily Okoroariri, Friday Ndukwe and Onyeka Ugwu.

They filed the suit on behalf of themselves and 76 others against the Lagos State Government, claiming the sum of N1 billion as damages for breach of their fundamental rights.

Joined as respondent are the Attorney-General of Lagos State and Commissioner of Police, Lagos State.

The case could not be heard when it resumed due to a notice of preliminary objection filed by the counsel to the plaintiff.

When the case was called, Leo Nbu, counsel to the plaintiff, informed the court that a notice of preliminary objection had been filed.

Mr. Nbu, holding the brief of Ugo Ugwunnadi, told the court that he had also filed a counter affidavit which he had just served on counsel to the first respondent.

Olubola Akinsete, counsel to the first respondent, confirmed receipt of the plaintiff’s processes.

Consequently, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, adjourned the suit to February 10, 2015 for hearing of all pending applications.

The plaintiffs in their motion want the court to declare that they, as Nigerian citizens, were entitled to their fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution.

They are seeking a declaration that their arrest and detention in Lagos in July 2013 and their subsequent relocation to Anambraon July 24, 2013 amounted to a breach of their fundamental rights.

The plaintiffs also want the court to compel the respondents to tender a written apology to them and publish same in three national newspapers continuously for 30 days for gross violation of their constitutional rights.

They also want an order directing the Lagos State Government to re-integrate them in the state and grant perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, their agents and officers from relocating or refusing them free entry into Lagos State.

In addition, the plaintiffs are claiming the sum of N1 billion as damages from the respondents jointly and severally as general damages for breach of their rights.

Meanwhile, the LASG in its counter-affidavit contended that the relocation was not borne out of malice, but out of genuine intention to reunite the people with their families.

The state government further averred that the applicants were only assisted by the government to join their families when they pleaded that they had no homes, relatives or businesses in Lagos State.