Court stops FHA, Lagos govt from Festac houses demolition

One of the demolished houses on 6th Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos

Following the recent demolition of over 600 houses and partial demolition of about 700 others, the residents of 6th Avenue, Festac Town in  Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos State, have secured a court injunction restraining the Federal Housing Authority, FHA and the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LSBCA, from further demolition in the area.

In a motion ex parte by the claimants, Engr. Samuel Ahmed, Martinson Realtors Investment Ltd , Alhajia Taoheed Amusa and Alhajia R. A. Balogun, theu sought a pre-emptive order of injunction against the defendants (FHA and LSBCA).

However, Justice Omolade Awope of an Ikeja High Court had on September 11, 2023, (sitting as a vacation judge as at the time) in the suit marked ID/7396GCM/2023, restrained the respondents from harassing, threatened to demolish the property situated at 6 Avenue, Festac town, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area in alleged enforcement of Town Planning Laws.

One of the partially-demolished houses on 6th Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos

In her pre-emtive order of injunction, the court restrained the first defendant/respondent whether acting by itself or through its agents, privies, assigns or any special taskforce, para-military officers or otherwise howsoever described from demolishing and/or removing any building or property erected in 6th 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/respondent whether acting by itself or through its agents, servants privies, assigns or any special taskforce, para-military officers or otherwise, howsoever, described from further harassing, disturbing and/or threatening to demolish the claimants’ buildings of properties erected in 6th Avenue, Festac Town, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area in alleged enforcement of town planning laws.”

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The order of the court was sequel to the motion ex-parte brought pursuant to paragraph 4 of sub-paragraph 1 of the practice Direction No 2 of 2019 on pre- action protocol.

The claimants listed 10 listed grounds upon which the court granted the application to include that the instant suit was brought before the court pursuant to act order of the Supreme Court in Appeal Ne: 8C.931/2007 delivered on the (March 8, 2022 and re-initiated vide a Writ of Summons and statement of claim dated and January 26, 2023.

In a 40 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Alhaji R. Balogun and Thaddeus Idenyi in support of the motion, the claimants, stated that the suit was the subject matter of the property situate 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 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 defendant has equally pasted demolition notices on the building erected on the land by the claimants and their privies prior to the institution of this suit.

It 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 court, the defendant would not reframe from 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 court be heard expeditiously during the on-going long vacation of the court.

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The claimant stated that the respondents in the suit had threatened to carry out demolition exercise on the land, the subject matter of the suit which the outcome of this suit and foist a faith accompli on the court.

The claimant averred that in the circumstance, it is in the interest of justice that the application be granted.

Meanwhile, in defianance of the order of the court, sometimes in November, the FHA disclosed plan to demolish 677 houses and 744 others would 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 assessing the level of disregard to 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.

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