Lagos-based lawyer, Femi Falana, on Sunday, said the State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, should be held responsible for the death of the Makoko traditional ruler.
The chief, Timothy Agbe, was allegedly killed on Saturday during a demolition exercise at the Makoko and Iwaya waterfront, by Cpl. Pepple Boma, who was attached to the Task force unit overseeing the exercise.
Falana, who described the killing as “illegal and unconstitutional”, blamed the state government for Agbe’s death and the destruction of properties in the coastal 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,” he said.
He also called for the adequate compensation of the deceased’s family, including other persons affected by the demolition exercise.
“The Lagos State Government should pay adequate monetary damages to the dependants of the deceased whose fundamental right to life has been brutally violated,” he said.
“Similarly all those whose houses have been destroyed by the government are equally entitled to compensation that is fair and just.”
The State Police Command had earlier announced Boma’s arrest, saying investigation had commenced into the killing.
However, Falana asked that the accused be prosecuted for murder.
Also, according to him, the state government acted illegally by engaging in the demolition of shanties and structures in the community 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 of any person resident in Lagos State without an order issued by a competent court and executed by the Sheriff and Bailiff of the court,” he said.
He, however, called for the immediate end to the ongoing demolition exercise and the eviction of the residents, saying it would have far-reaching consequences.
Falana said that the mass displacement of the residents had led to the “disruption 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 Nigerians to the mercy of elements during this rainy season,” he said.
“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.”
He also warned the state government not to turn the confiscated land over to moneybags, as done with Maroko, a poor community demolished in 1990.
“The brazen stealing of Maroko under a military dictatorship should not be tolerated under a quasi-democratic regime,” he said.
In its defence, the state government had claimed that the coastal area was unsuitable for habitation, and that the demolition exercise was necessary to prevent flooding casualties.