Court To Hear Badagry Residents’ Case Against Demolition

Demolished-buildingThe High Court of Lagos State, sitting in Badagry, will on May 18 hear the case filed by Badagry residents, seeking court’s intervention for restoration of their land.

They claim the land was forcefully taken over by the police to build residences for police cooperative.

The police stormed the communities of Atiporome and Agelade, with caterpillars, bulldozers and armed policemen, demolishing over 100 completed houses.

The landlords, led by Mr Charles Adu, then filed a case in the Badagry High Court to challenge the forceful takeover of their land.

The respondents in the case are the Lagos State Government, the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Task Force, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, The Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

In the High Court, the Lagos State Government filed a preliminary objection against the case, contending that the reliefs being sought by the landlords do not fall within the purview of fundamental rights.

On July 10, 2014, the High Court, Coram O.A. Adesanya, upheld the preliminary objection of Lagos State and struck out the case of the landlords.

Dissatisfied with the ruling of the High Court, the landlords appealed against it to the Court of Appeal.

On February 23, 2016, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal of the landlords and set aside the ruling of the High Court.

The Court of Appeal then directed the Honourable Chief Judge of Lagos State, to assign the case to another judge for hearing.

The case was subsequently assigned to Justice O. Okikiolu-Ighile, of the Badagry Division.

The case was thereafter fixed for May 5.

On the said day, the landlords were all in court, represented by their counsel, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

Lagos State was represented by the Senior State Counsel from the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mrs Olufunke Olugbeminiyi.

The other respondents were not represented.

Mr Adegboruwa traced the history of the case and informed the judge that all the respondents were notified of the hearing for May 6, 2016, but the police did not endorse acknowledgement for the said hearing notice, served by the Court bailiff.

Adegboruwa said the police, however, received the hearing notice served on it by his law firm and he prayed the court to accept the acknowledgement of service.

He then urged the court to give a specific hearing date that would accord with accelerated hearing, being a matter bordering on allegation of infringement of fundamental rights.

On her part, Mrs Olugbeminiyi said the Ministry of Justice was not aware that the Court of Appeal had delivered judgment in the case on appeal.

She then sought for time to file their counter-affidavit.

Mr Adegboruwa promptly countered this submission, maintaining that under Order 8 of the Fundamental Rights Rules, Lagos State should have filed its counter-affidavit along with its preliminary objection, which it deployed to delay the case for almost three years.

The Judge thereafter adjourned the case, by consent of counsel present, til May 18.

Court To Deliver Judgement On Stella Oduah’s Suit

stella_oduahA Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed January 25, 2016 to deliver judgment in the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by a former Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah, seeking to stop an alleged plan to prosecute her over the two armoured BMW cars allegedly purchased for 255 million Naira.

The vehicles are alleged to have been bought by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in 2013 during her tenure.

Justice Okon Abang adjourned for judgment on Tuesday after entertaining arguments from the parties in the suit.

Fighting An Anti-graft War

Oduah had sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police.

She claimed that the ruling All Progressives Congress’ government had perfected plans to use the defendants to persecute and humiliate her under the guise of fighting an anti-graft war.

She also alleged that the APC government had perfected plans to prosecute prominent members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, including herself, on trumped-up charges in a Lagos State government-controlled court.

She urged the court to stop the defendants from being used against her by the Federal Government.

She had on August 26, 2015 obtained an order of interim injunction from Justice Mohammed Yunusa restraining the defendants from taking any action against her pending the final determination of the suit.

But the AGF and the Inspector General of Police filed a preliminary objection, contending that Oduah failed to establish any cause of action against them, having not proved that she had been invited, arrested or detained by the AGF and the IGP.

They also challenged the jurisdiction of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court to hear Oduah’s suit on the grounds that the alleged rights violation did not take place in Lagos.

They further contended that by virtue of Section 46(1) of the constitution and Order 2 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure, only a court within the state where Oduah’s rights were allegedly violated could hear the case.

The EFCC, had also described Oduah’s suit as baseless and speculative.

Court Stops Jonathan From Signing Amended Oil & Gas Bill

Court JusticeA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restrained President Goodluck Jonathan, from assenting to the bill for an Act to amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone.

The court, presided over by Justice Saliu Saidu, also restrained the National Assembly, the Clerk of the National Assembly from forwarding the Bill to Amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority Act. Cap. 05 to President Jonathan for his assent.

The order was sequel to a motion ex-parte, in a suit filed before the court on behalf of Nigerdock Nigeria Plc, SIMCO Free Zone Company and Nigerdock Nigeria Plc-FZE, who are plaintiffs in the suit.

Justice Saliu Saidu also restrained the National Assembly, the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Honourable Minister of Transport, and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) from prohibiting the usage of the plaintiffs’ facilities at Snake Island Integrated Free Zone for Oil and Gas cargoes destined for use in the free zone.

The plaintiffs had claimed that the Snake Island Integrated Free Trade Zone was approved as a privately owned and managed Free Zone by Presidential declaration in January 2005. It was duly licensed by the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), in April 2005.

The plaintiffs, however argue that in November 2014, they became aware of a Bill for An Act to Amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority Act, Cap. 05, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, adding that the bill was presented to the Senate and a public hearing was conducted without the knowledge of the plaintiffs who claim that the amendment will negatively undermine and violate their constitutional rights.

Justice Saliu Saidu has adjourned till May 26, 2015, for further hearing of the suit.