Following the recent demolition of over 600 houses and the partial demolition of about 700 others, the residents of 6th Avenue, Festac Town, in the Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos State, have secured a court injunction restraining the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and the Lagos State Building Control Agency from further demolition in the area.
In a motion ex parte filled by the claimants, Engr. Samuel Ahmed, Martinson Realtors Investment Ltd., Alhaji Taoheed Amusa and Alhaji R. A. Balogun, they seek a pre-emptive order of injunction against the defendants (FHA and LSBCA).
However, Justice Omolade Jadesola Awope of an Ikeja High Court had on September 11, sitting as a vacation judge at the time, in the suit marked ID/7396GCM/2023, ordered restraining the respondents from harassing and threatened to demolish the properties situated at 6 Avenue, Festac town, Amuwo Odofin local government area, in alleged enforcement of town planning laws.
In her pre-emotive order of injunction, the court restrained the first defendant or respondent, whether acting by itself or through its agents, privies, assigns, or any special task force, paramilitary officers, or otherwise howsoever described, from demolishing and/or removing any building or property erected in 6″ Avenue, Festac Town, or in any other part of Festac Town, in alleged enforcement of ‘Town Planning Laws pending the applicants’ compliance with the Lagos State High Court Practice Directions No. 2 of 2019 on Pre-action Protocol.
“A pre-emptive order of injunction restraining the first defendant or respondent, whether acting by itself or through its agents, servants, privies, assigns, or any special taskforce, paramilitary officers, or otherwise howsoever described, from further harassing, disturbing, and/or threatening to demolish the claimants’ buildings or properties erected in 6″ Avenue, Festac Town, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, in alleged enforcement of town planning laws.”
The order of the court was a sequel to the motion ex parte brought pursuant to paragraph 4 of sub-paragraph 1 of Practice Direction No. 2 of 2019 on pre-action protocol.
The claimants listed 10 grounds upon which the court granted the application, including that the instant suit was brought before the Honourable Court according to the act order of the Supreme Court in Appeal Ne: 8C.931/2007 delivered on March 8, 2022, and re-initiated vide a Writ of Summons and statement of claim dated January 26, 2023.
In a 40-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Alhaji R. A. Balogun and Thaddeus Idenyi in support of the motion, the claimants stated that the suit was the subject matter of the property situated at Fesac Town, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State, which is more particularly described on the Survey Plan No. KESII/L/106 dated October 4, 1980.
It further stated that during the pendency of the suit, the defendant, in disregard for the process of the court, entered into the land, the subject matter of this suit, and marked all the buildings erected thereon by the claimants and their privies for demolition on the basis of an alleged violation of the defendant’s own planning laws, which is premised on the defendant’s alleged ownership of the land subject matter of this suit.
The claimants stated that the defendant had equally pasted demolition notices on the building erected on the land by the claimants and their privies before the institution of this suit.
It was averred that the defendant’s claim of ownership and the basis on which the alleged demolition notices were pasted is subject matter of the instant suit.
The claimant said unless by an order of the Honourable Court, the defendant will not reframe their intended demolition of the claimant’s properties on the land subject matter of this suit to the detriment of the claimants and their privies.
The claimant averred that it has therefore become expedient that the said applications seeking the intervention of the Honourable Court be heard expeditiously during the on-going long vacation of the court.
The claimant stated that the respondents in the suit had threatened to carry out demolition exercises on the land, the subject matter of the suit, which would affect the outcome of this suit and foist a faith accomplice on the court.
The claimant averred that in the circumstance, it is in the interest of justice that the application be granted.
Meanwhile in defiant to the order of the court, sometimes in November, the FHA disclosed plan to demolish 677 houses and 744 others will be partially demolished over infringement by a developer in Phase 2, Festac Town, Amuwo-Odofin area of Lagos State.
FHA’s South-West Zonal Manager, Mr. Akintola Olagbemiro, disclosed this during a visit to the affected area to assess the level of disregard for building codes and the environment.
Olagbemiro had said that despite letters and stakeholders’ meetings, the developers continued to build on the swampy land without meeting the specific requirements.