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Unlawful Eviction: Federal Ministry of Aviation's Agencies Sued For N10.02bn


The retirees of the agencies under Federal Ministry of Aviation, have instituted a N10.2 billion fundamental rights suit against the agencies, before a Lagos Federal High Court, over alleged illegal and forceful eviction from their quarters.
The applicants in the suit; Oni Babatunde, Moshood Kolawole Jimoh, Temitope Tubi, Nwoke Onyebuchi Ogbonna, and Bryank Kaduru, and 35 others, who are former employees of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
While the respondents are; Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Director-General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Director-General of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and Director-General of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
Other respondents in the suit are: Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, and Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
The applicants in an originating summon in suit marked FHC/L/CS/1135/16, filed and argued before the court by their counsel, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, are seeking a declaration that their arrest, harassment, detention by the Lagos state Commissioner of Police,  and IGP at the instigation of respondents on August 6, 2016, without any cause of lawful excuse is wrongful, Illegal unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void, as it violates their fundamental rights as enshrined under sections 33,34,35 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The applicants are also seeking for an order compelling the respondents jointly and severally to pay the sum of N10.2 billion to the applicants and other respondents being general and exemplary damages for their unlawful and  wrongful arrest, detention, forceful invasion and eviction without any court order. And an order reinstating and restoring them back to their residential houses forthwith. And being the cost for instituting the suit.
The applicants also seek an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, jointly and severally, their officers, agents, servants, privies or howsoever called and connected from arresting, intimidating, harassing, humiliating, detaining, evicting or disturbing them in any manner whatsoever on any fa t connected with or related to the facts of the matter.
The applicants in an affidavit deposed to by Oni Babatunde Akanni, aveered that sometimes 2003, there was an issue of monetization in respect of residential quarters due to them as of rights culminating in litigation and subsisting order restraining the respondents. And that the respondents have been threatening and harassing them with arrest and long detention over the matter, despite a substituting court order restraining the respondents.
The deponent also aveered that on August 6, 2016, at about 5.30 am, about 80 armed thugs accompanied by heavily armed policemen and officers of the respondents stormed and invaded their residential houses and laid them under siege in commando-like approach with six police vans and began to arrest and whiskey them away and detained them without cause.
Oni further stated that while they were in detention, the said armed thugs, policemen and officials of the respondents forcefully broke out their doors and threw their properties and valuable assets without any court order. And that all  the respondents have vowed and threatened to continue to use armed thugs, armed policemen to arrest, detain and evict them from them from their residences despite a court order restraining them from taking any step on the matter, and during pendency of the suit in court.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, counsel to the applicants, Ogungbeje, informed the court all the processes of the suit have been served on all the respondents. Adding that all the respondents were duly imformed that the matter was to come up on Wednesday.
Ogungbeje also informed the court that as the matter was going on in court, the residence of the second applicant, Moshood Jimoh, was under siege by the Managing director of NAMA, despite the pendency of the suit.
However, counsel to the NAMA and it's director-general, Mr. Obiekwe Okwusogu (SAN), informed the court that they are yet to file any response to the applicants' suit owing to the fact that the his clients were served of the processes on August 24, and that he was briefed of the matter on Tuesday. Adding that the applicants' application is not ripe for hearing.
He therefore urged the court to grant the adjournment application, to enable him file his response to the applicants' suit.
Upon the agreement reached by the both counsels, the presiding judge, Justice AbdulAziz Anka, adjourned the matter till August 8, for hearing of the suit.

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