Newly-appointed Senior Advocate of Nigeria and lagos lawyer, Femi Falana, has said that the Lagos State Government should be held liable for the killing of the Itunbaale of Makoko area of the state, Timothy Agbe, by a policeman attached to the state’s Task Force.
Falana, in a statement on Sunday, said the since the killing was carried out on the directive of the Lagos State Government during the eviction of the Makoko residents, the state government should “be held vicariously liable….”
The statement reads in full: “My attention has just been drawn to the illegal and unconstitutional killing of the Baale of Makoko in Lagos State by armed mobile policemen for protesting the forceful eviction and demolition of the houses owned by members of the Makoko community. As the unlawful killing and the wilful destruction of properties were carried out on the directive of the Lagos State Government the latter should be held vicariously liable in the circumstance.
“Therefore, the killers of the Baale of Makoko should be immediately arrested and prosecuted for murder while the Lagos State Government should pay adequate monetary damages to the dependants of the deceased whose fundamental right to life has been brutally violated. Similarly all those whose houses have been by destroyed the government are equallly entitlled to compensation that is fair and just.
“A 72-hour quit notice was reportedly pasted in the houses at Makoko on Friday, July 20, 2012 to prevent the owners from seeking redress in court. Before the expiration of the illegal ejection the Lagos State Government took the law into its hand by engaging in the demolition of houses without a court order. This is a reckless violation of the provisions of the Lagos State Rent Control and Recovery of Premises which have criminalised the forceful ejection any person resident in Lagos State without an order issued by a competent court and executed by the Sheriff and Bailliff of the court.
“The eviction of the residents of Makoko has since led to a mass displacement of people and the distruption of the education of thousands of innocent children. Unless adequate arrangements are made for the provision of alternative accommodation for other people who may be displaced as a result of the ongoing demolition exercise the Lagos State Government should halt the exercise and stop sending Nigerian to the mercy of elements during this rainy season. More so, that a duty has been imposed on the State by virtue of Section 15(3)(b) of the Constitution to “secure full resident rights for every citizen in all parts of the Federation.
“Any attempt to capitalise on the poverty of the Makoko people by confiscating their march land, develop it with public funds and then turn round to distribute it to some petit bougeois elements will be resisted by the progressive extraction of the civil society. The brazen stealing of Maroko under a military dictatorship should not be tolerated under a quasi democtratic regime.”