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Residents file N50b suit against Sanwo-Olu, others over alleged demolition

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Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Owners of properties and houses at Water Front Estate, Ibeshe in Ikorodu area of Lagos State have filed a N50 billion suit before a Federal High Court, Lagos against the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and five others over alleged demolition of their multi-million buildings.

Other defendants in the suit are the Inspector-General of Police, Lagos State government, Attorney-General of Lagos State, Lagos State Task Force on Land Grabbing and its chairman, Owolabi Arole.

The applicants, Alhaji Yinus Adedokun, Mrs. Nasiru Funke, Mr. Gabriel Oluwadare, Mr. Will Atanda, Demola Adesoye, and 44 others, in suit number FHC/CSL/956/2021 are praying the court for an order compelling the respondents to pay them N5 billion as exemplary damages for the flagrant violation of their fundamental rights to fair hearing as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.

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The applicants, through their counsel, Mr. Olusola Salawu, are also praying for a declaration that the respondents’ act of demolishing their houses and properties without due process and order of court is unlawful, illegal, and a violation of their fundamental rights to own property as guaranteed under the provision of Section 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution.

They also prayed the court for a declaration that the locking up of 10 of the applicants on July 8, 2021, in a Black Maria for over 12 hours without justifiable reason during the demolition of their houses is a violation of their fundamental rights to liberty and dignity as guaranteed by Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution.

In a 25-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Alhaji Yinus Adedokun, he stated that the applicants at various times between the years 2009 – 2015 purchased landed properties at Ibeshe, Ikorodu area of Lagos State from Shosanya Ajako Family who handed over possession to them.

He stated that Shosanya Ajako Family has been in exclusive and undisturbed possession of the landed property from time immemorial before selling to the applicants.

He further stated that the family issued receipts and executed agreements of sales at various times to the applicants.

According to him, the applicants at various times surveyed their portions of landed properties and commenced works at their various portions of land without any hindrance.

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He further stated that the applicants developed the entire area, built their houses, layout of the area and named it Water Front Estate without any hindrance.

He swore that sometimes on July 8, 2021, Mr. Arole, the chairman of Lagos State Task Force on Land Grabbing, in the company of armed policemen came into the Estate in about 10 trucks, and with bulldozers as early as 7 am to pull down their houses.

“Before one could say Jack Robinson, the policemen arrested me and other residents and locked us in the Black Maria for over 12 hours during which they carried out their illegal acts of demolition of our houses.

“The respondents did not serve us notices before they carried out the illegal act of demolition of our houses. They did not show or serve us any court order before the demolition of our properties worth several billions of naira’’, he averred.

He urged the court to declare the acts of the respondents reprehensible, oppressive, and abuse of power.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.

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