– Warns Lagos State, Others Against Disrespecting Court Order
A Lagos High Court, sitting in Ikeja, has warned the State Government and other parties against disregarding a Court order, restraining them from further demolition of about 795 shops in the Alaba Section of Mile 12 market.
Justice Lateefat Atinuke Oluyemi had earlier on January 11, 2023, ordered parties in the suit filed by the Incorporated Trustees of Orirere Commodity Leaders and Traders Association, to maintain status quo ante on the land.
Apart from the Incorporated Trustees of Orirere Commodity Leaders and Traders Association, the other plaintiffs in the matter include: Yeye Precious Modupe Ojo, Alhaji Akinwale Jimoh and Babatunde Adetula.
Kosofe Local Government, Ikosi/Isheri Local Council Development Area, Dr. Chris Onyekachi, Total Value Integrated Services Limited, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice,
Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, are listed as first to fifth respondents respectively.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Mr. Gbolahan Quadri, informed the Court that, despite the subsisting order, the respondents were seen still constructing on the land known as the Alaba Section of Mile 12 Market, Ikosi-Isheri.
However, in line with his submission, Justice Oluyemi warned the respondents to desist from disobeying the Court order, and also threatened to commit them, and anyone who violates the Court’s order to prison.
A lawyer, who appeared for respondent prayed the Court to give them time to file necessary applications, and responses to the suit.
The judge subsequently adjourned the matter to March 30, 2023 to enable the defence to file necessary applications.
In the meantime, hundreds of traders and owners of the 795 shops being demolished thronged the Court during the proceeding, protesting over the Lagos State Government and other parties alleged flouting of the Court order restraining them from further demolition.
The protesters alleged that three traders have died in less than one week, following the decision of the State Government to intensify the demolition of their shops.
Speaking to newsmen, the market leader, Yeye Modupe Ojo, said three traders, Mujidat Suleiman, Adejoke Olawole and Ademola died as a result of the shock from the demolition of their shops. She noted that the deceased children are with them in the struggle.
Mrs. Ojo noted that last year on October 26, 2022, a notice of contravention was pasted, notifying them that the State Government will commence demolition two days after the notice.
She said they approached the Court for justice after the Iyaloja General of Lagos State, Mrs. Iyabo Ojo, refused to plead on their behalf, but urged them to collect forms and make payment for the new structure.
“Now, I’m in Court to seek justice for these poor people, despite the interim injunction, they are working there with over 200 thugs and policemen.”
She added that the traders want the government to stop demolition. “We should sit on round table to talk and compensate our people. We welcome innovation, we don’t want war.”
On his part, a leader in the electronic section, Mr. Titus Ezeugo, a 70-year-old man, said the land was allocated to them by the Lagos State Government and they developed the market with their personal money.
He said they have documents of allocation with receipts of payment, adding that the State Government should tell them what type of structure they want now and they will restructure to that effect.
According to him, the market was not built by the State Government but by private developers.
He noted that since the market was built, the traders have been making payments to the state government and that some of them, who collected loans, have not been able to offset their loans.
Ezeugo wondered what he and his family would live on now that he is at retirement age, as he calls for justice.