A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday adjourned hearing till October 15 in the suit filed by seven Igbo deportees, challenging an alleged breach of their fundamental rights.
The plaintiffs are: Joseph Aniebonam, Osondu Mbuto, Osondu Agwu, Nnenna Ogbonna, Emily Okoroariri, Friday Ndukwe and Onyeka Ugwu, suing on behalf of 76 others.
The Attorney-General of Lagos State, and the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State were joined as respondents in the suit.
The case could not be heard at the resumed date, due to a notice of preliminary objection filed by the Attorney General of Lagos State.
The objection was dated June 17, and served on counsel to the plaintiff in court.
Since the application was not ripe for hearing, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia fixed, October 15 for mention.
Meanwhile, the judge ordered hearing notices to be issued to the police before the next adjourned date.
In their motion, the applicants want the court to declare that they, as Nigerian citizens, were entitled to their fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution.
They are seeking a declaration that
their arrest and detention in various camps in Lagos in July 2013, and their subsequent deportation to Anambra, on July 24, 2013, for no offence, amounted to a serious breach of their fundamental rights.
The deportees also sought for an order, mandating the respondents to tender a written apology to them by publishing same in three national newspapers continuously for 30 days, for gross violation of their constitutional rights.
They also want an order, directing the Lagos State Government (LASG), to re-integrate them into the state, as well as perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, their agents, and officers from further deporting or refusing them free entry into Lagos State.
In addition, the applicants claim the sum of N1 billion against the respondents jointly and severally, as general damages for breach of their rights.
Meanwhile, LASG in its counter-affidavit contended that the deportation was not borne out of malice, but out of genuine intention to re-unite the applicants with their families.
They further averred that the applicants were only assisted by the government, to re-join their families, after pleading that they had no homes, relatives or businesses in Lagos State.