Justice A. Aluko of Abakaliki Federal High court, on Friday, ordered parties to the disputed Abakaliki new capital city also known as centenary city, to maintain status quo in further development of the new city, pending the determination of the substantive suit filed by the indigenous land owners against the violation of their fundamental human rights by the state government and the Nigerian Army.
The people of Ndieze Inyimegu Unuphu, Izzi-Amegu in Abakaliki local
government area of Ebonyi state had dragged the Nigerian Army, Police and the state government to the federal high court for unlawful acquisition of their ancestral land, demolition of their homes and ancient cultural sites, farms and economic trees.
Ruling on an ex-parte application filed by the applicants’ counsel, the law firm of Ani & Edemba, Justice Aluko while declining to grant interim injunction against the respondents, nevertheless ordered them to maintain status quo pending the determination of the substantive application.
Hearing of the substantive suit was adjourned to March 6 2017.
In the suit brought before the Court, the community which sued the military, police and Ebonyi state government through some of their members including Chief Egbarada Nwanknwegu, Chief Nwibo Nwogbaga, Chief Christopher Nwaifuru, Comrade Sunday Ogbaga, Mrs. Maria Nkwegu and Mrs. Felicia Igwe alleged that the respondents violated their
fundamental human rights of human dignity, private and family life
contrary to sections 34 and 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended).
The applicants also alleged that the respondents breached their fundamental rights to economic, social and cultural development,
general satisfactory environment favourable to their development, and
freedom from spoliation, contrary to Articles 17(2), 21, 22 and 24 of
the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights, Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The applicants further alleged that the respondents unlawfully,
forcefully and without lawful authority, entered into their lands with
bulldozers and other demolition equipments, destroyed, demolished and cleared away some of their homes, farms and economic tress in December 2013 and 22nd November, 2016.
According to the suit, the unlawful actions of the respondents rendered the affected applicants homeless, broke their families apart and brought starvation upon the applicants.
“The unlawful actions of the respondents have continued to deprive the
applicants of valuable arable land for farming and grazing. As a
people, the economic, social and cultural development of the
applicants has also been shattered by the respondents’ actions. Many of the applicants, having no home of their any longer have become
tenants, even without assurance of where their next rent will come
from. Others have become beggars, sleeping at motor parks and any available shelter”, the community further alleged.
The applicants however sought injunction restraining the respondents from arresting them, carrying out any further evacuation, demolition
and/or destruction of their homes, buildings, farmlands, economic
tress, etc, on the community.
They also sought N1billion exemplary damages against the respondents.
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