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An unidentified woman gesture in front of demolished house in Otodo-Gbame waterfront in Lagos Nigeria. Saturday, March.18, 2017. Rights groups say thousands of people are fleeing a Nigeria slum as security forces use gunfire and tear gas to make way for demolitions in defiance of a recent court order. (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)

Court says Otodo Gbame residents’ eviction was unlawful

The Nation reports that Lagos High Court yesterday declared unconstitutional restrained the state government’s eviction of settlers of some waterfront communities around Lekki.

It restrained the government from carrying out such acts in future.

Justice Surajudeen Onigbangbo made the orders in his judgment in a suit brought last year by 33 applicants on behalf of themselves and other residents of the settlements.

The settlements include Otodo Gbame, Tomaro, Otumara, Orisunmibare, Oko Agbon, Itun Atan, Sogunro, the Ikorodu communities of Ofin, Bayeku, Olufunke Majidun and the Bariga communities of Ago Egun and Ebute-Ilaje.

Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, the governor and the Commissioner of Police are the first, second, third and fourth respondents.

The judge also ordered the parties to begin talks on how to resolve the relocation of the residents.

The suit was initiated following the settlers’ eviction and the demolition of the settlements.

Delivery judgement before a packed courtroom, Justice Onigbanjo held that the case was properly before him.

He observed that the gulf between the parties was not as wide as they made it to appear, adding that there was no dispute over the ownership of the land.

“The land occupied by the applicants is under the control and the management of the executive governor of the state. From the affidavit evidence made available to me, the applicants never claimed ownership of the land, but have over the years settled on the land. It will be wrong for them to be forcibly evicted from a land they have been on for several years,” Justice Onigbanjo said.

 Source: The Nation

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