Court Case Against Enugu Government By Northern Traders Suffers Set Back

By Tony Adibe

The appeal filed by some traders at New Artisan Goat Market, Enugu against the state government which came up for hearing yesterday at the Court of Appeal Enugu, suffered a setback, as the defendant (Government) failed to attend.

NewsBits reports that the Case, with reference Number: CA/E/526/2017 is between Alhaji Adamu Maiwa, Peter A. Agbo & Civil Rights Realization & Advancement Network (CRRAN) V. Attorney General of Enugu State and 2 others.

Due to the state government absence in Court, the 3-man panel presided over by Hon. Justice U.I. Ndukwe Anyanwu, therefore ordered that hearing Notice be served on the Respondents and adjourned the case to next year.

The case was an appeal against the decision of the Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Dugbo Oghoghorie which declined jurisdiction to entertain fundamental rights action against the Enugu State government in view of the manifest gross violation of the fundamental rights and invasion of homes of the over 50, 000 inhabitants of the Goat Market popularly referred to as the New Artisan Market.

NewsBits recalls that the Applicants at the lower court through its Counsel, Olu Omotayo of Civil Rights Realization Advancement Network (CRRAN), had prayed the Court inter-alia for the following Reliefs:

A Declaration that the act of the Enugu State Government in giving the 1st and 2nd Applicants and other traders of Goat Market Enugu 48 hours- notice to vacate their homes and properties at Goat market Enugu on the 19th day of December 2016, and thereafter, used the agents of 2nd and 3rd Respondent to forcefully throw them out of their homes, shops and properties they built on the market land which was granted to them by virtue of Enugu State Official Gazette of 6th April 2006.

The platiff, through its Lawyer, Olu Omotayo Esq, argued that the government action constitutes a flagrant violation of the 1st and 2nd applicants’ and all the traders fundamental rights to privacy and their homes guaranteed under sections 37 and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended) and Articles14, 18.and 21, of the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights, (Ratification and Enforcement Act) Cap. A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and is therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

They also sought an order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, their agents, privies or otherwise.

They are equally sought relief from further harassing, intimidating, trailing, scaring away the 1st and 2nd applicants and the comity of traders of goat market from their homes, mosques and properties, arresting or detaining them upon the same facts constituting the complaints enumerated in this application or in any other manner infringing on the applicants’ fundamental rights.

“50billion Naira being exemplary, punitive, aggravated, special and general damages against the Respondents, jointly and severally for their infringement of the 1st and 2nd applicants and traders of Goat market Enugu constitutional and fundamental rights.

According Omotayo, “it should be noted that while the appeal was pending, the state government fraudulently ceded the entire market land to Nwanjanja family, relying on a decision in Landlord and Tenant matter between Citigas and Mineral Resources CO. Limited V. ALHAJI SANI MOHAMMED AND OTHERS SUIT NO.E/539/05, delivered on 9th October 2007, by Hon. Justice I.A. Umezulike(OFR) Chief Judge of Enugu State.

“But we believe that justice though delayed shall be served at the end of this matter. As neither the Ogui people who owns the vast portion of the market land nor Citigas and Mineral Resources Limited (Nwanjanja Family) challenged the revocation of titles of owners of the land by the then Governor Chimaroke Nnamani, who later named the land as Goat Market and published it in the Enugu State Official Gazette of 6th April 2006 Vol.15, and known as Enugu State Notice No.1, Land use Act No.6 of 1978, Notice For Public Land Acquisition (Acquisition Notice).

“Even if there is right of reversion, the vast portion of the land should revert back to Ogui people the real owners and the small fraction of the land belonging to Citigas back to Nwanjanja family.” Desmond Kaakan Esq. holding the brief of Omotayo Esq of appeared for the Appellants in the appeal.

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