October 25, 2021

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Illegal Demolition: Water Front Estate Residents drag Sanwo-Olu, Others to Court, demand 5bn damages

Owners of properties and houses at Water Front Estate, Ibeshe in Ikorodu area of Lagos State have instituted a N5 billion suit before the Federal High Court in Lagos against the Inspector General of Police, Lagos State Governor, Attorney-General of Lagos State, Lagos State Task Force on Land Grabber and its Chairman, Mr. Owolabi Arole.

The applicants, Alhaji Yinus Adedokun, Mrs. Nasiru Funke, Mr. Gabriel Oluwadare, Mr. Will Atanda and Demola Adesoye and 44 others in suit number FHC/CSL/956/2021 are praying for an order compelling the respondents to pay them N5,00,000,000.00 (Five Hundred Million Naira) as exemplary damages for the flagrant and oppressive violation of their fundamental rights to fair hearing as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.

The applicants through their lawyer, Olusola Salawu are also praying for a declaration that the respondents’ act of demolition of their houses and properties without due process of law is unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional and a violation of their fundamental right 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 ten of the applicants on July 8, , 2021 in black Maria by the for over 12hours without justifiable reason during the demolition of their houses is a flagrant violation of their fundamental rights to liberty and dignity as guaranteed by Section 35 of1999 Constitution.

In a 25-paragraph affidavit deposed to by, Alhaji Yinus Adedokun he stated that the applicants at various time 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 their landed properties to the applicants.

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

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

He 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 added that sometimes on July 8, 2021, Mr. Arole, the Chairman of Lagos State Task Force on Land Grabber in company armed policemen came into the Estate in about 10 trucks with bulldozers as early as 7 am in the morning to pull down our houses.

He said, “Before one could say Jack Robinson the policemen with the 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 any 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 houses and properties worth several billions of naira.”

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.

It was gathered that the affected owners could not hold their tears, as they look helpless while bulldozers turned their multi-million naira houses into rubbles.

The team, led by Chairman, Lagos Task Force on Land Grabber, Mr. Owolabi Arole accompanied by mobile policemen carried out the demolition exercise.

It was gathered that shortly after the demolition, hoodlums stormed the area and carted away doors, windows, and roofs of the demolished houses.