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Thursday, June 22, 2017

It will be Unconstitutional to evict Waterfront Community ...Court rules.


A Lagos State High Court has restrained the Lagos State Government from evicting settlers of several waterfront communities in the state without first providing them with alternative place of settlement. The court, in a judgement by Justice Surajudeen Onigbanjo, held that such an action by the government would be unconstitutional.  

The Judge gave the judgement in favour of 33 waterfront settlers who sued the state government on behalf of themselves and their fellow settlers at   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.
 
A typical waterfront settlement in Nigeria.
The settlers joined as respondents in the suit, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, and the Commissioner of Police.

“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 place they have been in for several years,” Justice Onigbanjo held.

“The respondents’ failure to provide alternative settlements before embarking on the forcible eviction of the applicants is unconstitutional. Both parties are hereby ordered to carry out proper consultation on how to resolve the relocation of the applicants. The respondents are hereby restrained from further carrying out evictions of the applicants from the settlements, if alternative settlements are not made available.”

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

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