Some traders from Northern Nigeria who were evicted from Enugu Goat Market on Thursday warned that nobody can intimidate them out of Enugu State, saying as Nigerians, they were free to do business wherever they like.
The traders spoke at the premises of Federal High Court Enugu, shortly after Justice Rosemary Dugbo Oghoghorie delivered judgment on the fundamental human rights suit jointly brought by traders of the Enugu Goat Market and Civil Rights Realization and Advancement Network (CRRAN).
In the suit, the plaintiffs asked for N50billion compensation for the forceful eviction of the traders from the market on 48 hours notice.
Delivering her judgment, Justice Oghoghorie said since the reliefs sought by the applicants bother on land, it was her humble view that the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction on the matter.
Oghoghorie said by virtue of Section 51 of Land Use Act, it is the State High Court that has jurisdiction on the matter.
“By virtue of Section 22 of the Federal High Court Act, the case is hereby transferred to the State High Court” Justice Oghoghorie said.
Reacting to the judgment, Hamza Buba, the spokesman of the evicted traders, said they were ready to follow every lawful means to fight for their right.
Buba said the matter they brought to court was enforcement of their fundamental human rights and not land.
“We were given 48 hours to vacate the Goat Market and at the expiration of the 48 hours, we were forcefully thrown out. Since that time, we are suffering. We are ready to fight for our rights. The constitution says as citizens of Nigeria, we are free to operate business wherever we want.
“We are ever ready to make sure that we prove to the world that we can fight for our rights. The country we are in is one Nigeria.
Speaking in a similar vein, Sani Mohammed, the Patron of Enugu Goat Market, regretted that many of the traders have died as a result of the action taken against them by the State Government.
Mohammed said it was obvious that Justice Oghoghorie was biased in her judgment, pointing out that her decision contradicted her statement in the course of the hearings that it was wrong to evict somebody on 48 hours notice.
“Some have died. Some are sick. Some have no capital to manage their business. We are appealing to be given dividends of democracy as sons and daughters of Nigeria who were occupying the duly gazzetted Goat Market” Mohammed said.
Meanwhile, Olu Omotayo esq., the counsel to the traders has indicated the interest of his clients to appeal the judgment of the Federal High Court at the Court of Appeal.
Omotayo maintained that the reliefs they were seeking had nothing to do with land, but they were talking about infringement on fundamental human rights.
“We are talking about asking citizens of the country to vacate a place they were leaving in 48 hours” Omotayo said.