Owerri Community Demands N100bn Compensation for Eke Ukwu Market Demolition

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  •  Asks court to reverse governor’s action

Tobi Soniyi

Twelve representatives of the Owerri community have dragged the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okoroha, before the state High Court, challenging their illegal removal from Eke Ukwu Owere market situate at Owerri, and the demolition of the said market despite the subsistence of a pending suit and a restraining court order.

They want the court to order the governor to pay them the sum of N100 billion as exemplary damages for the said unlawful and unconstitutional acts.

The governor, the state House of Assembly and the state Attorney General are the three defendants in the suit filed by Chief T.O.S Oparaugo and 11 others (for themselves and on behalf of Owerri community).

Chief Unoruka Udechukwu (SAN), who filed the suit on the plaintiffs’ behalf, is leading a team of lawyers, including two SANs-K.C.O Njemanze and N.A. Nnawuchi.

In the originating summons, with No: HOW/695/2017, filed on September 13, 2017, the plaintiffs asked the court to declare that their forcible removal from the market in Owerri and the demolition of the said market despite the subsistence of a pending suit and a restraining court order without any enabling judicial order, constituted an act of state executive impunity and grave violation of the provisions of Sections 6 (1)(2)(3): 36(1) 188(11) and 287(3) of the 1999 Constitution on the part of the Imo State Government.

They also asked the court to declare that by virtue of Sections 6(6)(a) & (b), 36(1), and 272 of the 1999 Constitution, the court has the constitutional power and vires to reverse the said acts of the state government.

The plaintiffs asked the court to hold that they are entitled to compensation to be determined by the court for injuries and damages caused to them by the state government.
They also asked for an order reversing the said act of state executive impunity and grave violation of the provisions of the constitution on the part of the governor and returning the parties to the status quo ante August 26, 2016.

The plaintiffs asked the court to determine the following questions:
Whether the forcible removal of the plaintiffs from their Eke Ukwu Owere Market situate in Owerri and the demolition of the said market despite the subsistence of a pending suit, and a restraining court order, and a fortiori, without any enabling judicial order do not constitute an act of state executive impunity and grave violation of the provisions of Sections 6 (1)(2)(3): 36(1) 188(11) and 287(3) of the 1999 Constitution.

Secondly, whether by virtue of Sections 6(6)(a) & (b), 36(1), and 272 of the 1999 Constitution , this court has the inherent and constitutional power and vires to reverse the said acts of the first defendant, removing the plaintiffs from their Eke Ukwu Owere Market situate in Owerri and the demolition of the said market, which acts were done despite the subsistence of a restraining court order and a fortiori, without any enabling judicial order.

Thirdly, whether the plaintiffs are entitled to compensation to be determined by this honourable court for injuries and damages caused to them by the said acts of the state executive impunity and grave violation of the provisions of the constitution by the first defendant through elements employed by the first defendant.

The case has not been assigned to a judge and the defendants are yet to enter an appearance.