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Court halts demolition of Lagos properties for rail line project

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A federal High Court, Lagos has ordered that the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and other defendants should not pull down three properties in Adisa Housing Estate, Ebute Metta for rail lines connecting Lagos to Abeokuta, pending the determination of a motion on notice.

Justice M.S. Hassan in his ruling recently on the motion ex party said the status quo ante bellium be maintained by all parties.

The court granted an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants from further trespassing on the land within Adisa Housing Estate in 308B, Murtala Muhammed Way, Ebute Metta and evicting the plaintiffs in order to build railway lines connecting Lagos to Abeokuta.

The order came following an application made by the counsel to the plaintiffs, A. O. Aponmade, representing the families.

The plaintiffs were Alhaji Moruf K. Salami, Mrs. Uyo Nwajei and Alhaja Aisha Aminu Gwadabe.

They sued NRC, Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, China Construction & Electrical Investment Company Limited, Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation in Suit NO: FHC/L/CS/901/2018, as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants respectively.

The plaintiffs said they had no problem with the Federal Government’s plans to build the railway lines but due process must be followed by the NRC in acquiring the properties such as payment of adequate compensation. The case has been adjourned to September 27.

Meanwhile, Gwadabe in a statement alleged that the NRC was determined to render her family and other property owners at the estate homeless despite court order of the Federal High Court, Lagos retraining the defendants from taking such action.
     
Aisha Gwadabe alleged that the defendants sent a valuer without notifying the property owners.

“The valuers had written the property owners to vacate the premises not more than two weeks after compensation payment,” the statement claimed.

 
The plaintiffs had demanded to know how much compensation they will be paid, but were advised to sign an agreement first before being shown the cheque due to them.

The plaintiffs claimed that agents of NRC have begun heavy drilling activities on the estate.
  
“They are doing this even though they are fully aware that we have a pending case in court.    

They are doing this in flagrant disobedience to a subsisting order of a court of competent jurisdiction. This is impunity and we will not stand by and allow it,” the plaintiffs claimed.
   
In response, NRC Director Civil, Anthony Onyokoko, said the compensation is general, and there is no need to be selective on it, adding that what the NRC paid as compensation ‘was adequate by the law’.

“We know that the three plaintiffs are in court. They need to agree with us and come out of court.

Just a few houses are still standing. It is a Federal Government project. We are pleading with them to collect the compensation money,” he said.


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