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VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO OWN PROPERTY AS GUARANTEED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION

Lawyers Alert V. Government of Bornu State & Anor BOHC/MGCV/68/2018


WHETHER THE WANTON AND UNWARANTED DEMOLITION OF PROPERTIES BELONGING TO CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS ON THE FLIMSY EXCUSE THAT SUCH PROPERTIES HOUSE FEMALE SEX WORKERS IS NOT A GROSS VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 43 AND 44 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AND OTHER RELEVANT INSTRUMENTS?


For reasons best known to the Borno State Government in Nigeria, it woke up one day and decided to carry out a random or discriminate demolition of properties seen to be housing sex workers and the trading of alcoholic substances. These led to the destruction of property running into billions of naira belonging to individuals who have sweated and toiled to put up such property. Following complaints to Lawyers Alert, the organization wrote to the state government demanding a reversal and compensation for demolition victims within a stipulated time. When there was no compliance, LA approached the court on behalf of the victims regarding the enforcement of their fundamental rights. Lawyers Alert contended that the action of the Government to demolish the properties was made in bad faith, ultra vires and unconstitutional, contrary to sections 43 and 44 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


OUTCOME:

The court refuse the Applicant’s clams on grounds that same applicant lacks the locus to institute the matter. Even though the suit was rejected on technical ground, it elicited a lot of media and public interests, which ultimately put so much pressure on the Borno State Government that led to the halting of further actions on the demolitions. In addition, LA's action in court compelled the Borno State Government to stay all further actions on the demolitions and wanton arrest of females suspected to be sex workers.



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