Traders at the Sangotedo Community Market in Lagos State have sued the Chairman of Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area, Rafiu Olatunji, for N500m over illegal demolition of their shops.
The case, with suit number LD/10226MFHR/2020, was brought before a Lagos State High Court by a trader, Oladokun Olufunke, on behalf of her colleagues.
The traders are seeking the enforcement of their fundamental rights to property and dignity.
Other respondents in the suit include the Eti-Osa East LCDA, Sangotedo Community Development Association, and a firm, Total Value Integrated Services Limited, which allegedly demolished the market.
The traders are seeking seven reliefs from the court including a declaration that the invasion of the Sangotedo Community Market at No 45 Lekki/Epe Expressway, Sangotedo Lagos, by the armed agents of the respondents July 25, 2020, was illegal, unconstitutional, in contravention of the fundamental rights of the applicants to personal liberty and dignity guaranteed by sections 34 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Articles 5, 6 and 23 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.
They are also seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, their privies, and agents from further demolishing the market.
The applicants asked the court to “direct the respondents severally and jointly to pay compensatory damages in the sum N500m to the applicants for the illegal demolition of their shops and the destruction of their goods.”
They asked the court to compel the respondents to pay the sum of N15m as the cost of legal fees incurred in the suit.
In an affidavit deposed to by a trader, Oladokun Olufunke, on behalf of her colleagues, it was stated that sometimes in January 2020, the chairman and the LCDA entered into the market and posted a demolition notice dated January 10, 2020.
Olufunke said most of the shop owners confronted the respondents but the latter denied any intention to demolish the market and stated that they only intended to renovate it.
She said while the parties were still discussing on the best ways to resolve the issue of the renovation plans, the chairman, the LCDA and the firm and their agents on July 23, 2020 posted a notice at the market to demolish without further talks, agreement or due consultation.
“To our chagrin, on July 25, 2020, the 1st, 2nd and 4th respondents and their agents invaded the market, demolished my shop No. F228D as well as shops owned by other shop owners at the Sangotedo Community Market, 45 Lekki/Epe Expressway, Sangotedo Lagos and destroyed all the goods therein,” the trader said.
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