By Adebisi Onanuga
Retired staff of Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) occupying Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) quarters by Ikeja Along Bus Stop have accused the agency of disobeying a court order by forcibly evicting them from their homes.
They told journalists that FAAN management defied subsisting orders of Justice Isaac Essien in suit No. NICN/ LA/ 336/2019 directing parties to maintain the status quo in the matter of their ownership of the quarters, while they explore amicable settlement of the matter.
The ex-NiMET staff said that on Friday, FAAN officials stormed the estate, broke into their homes and forcibly moved their personal belongings out and locked up the flats.
The evictees claimed that after retirement from government service, they paid for the houses following a monetisation scheme implemented during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure.
Their counsel, Mrs Sussy Agu, said she was representing nine NiMET retirees in a matter pending before Justice Essien at the National industrial Court in suit No. NICN/ LA/ 336/2019.
She said the retirees were offered the various flats they occupied as NiMET staff under the Federal Government monetisation policy and that they all made full payments to the presidential implementation committee and had remained in possession ever since.
She said they were only awaiting their Certificate of Occupancies.
Mrs Agu said they recently received quit notices from NiMET asking them to vacate their flats and that this resulted in the suit filed at the NICN where the retirees are seeking declarations that having acquired leasehold interest in the flats, the Federal Government cannot evict them as threatened.
She said they also sought in the alternative, compensation should the Federal Government insists on not giving effect to their rights over the flats.
According to her, Justice Isaac Essien made orders directing parties to maintain the status quo in the matter and further directed that parties should explore amicable settlement of the matter in view of its sensitive nature.
They alleged that FAAN, rather than comply, sent its officials to the flats, who broke in through the roof, and threw the occupants out. They allegedly destroyed the roofs, ceilings, and louvres and left with some of their valuables.
FAAN had served quit notices on the retirees two weeks ago giving them only seven days to vacate the flats.
“We immediately wrote to them informing them of the suit pending and the order of court. A motion was thereafter filed to join FAAN to the action. That motion has since been served on FAAN.
“Despite being aware of the case and the subsisting injunctive order of Court, some staff of FAAN led by one of its managers, together with three staff of NiMET and hundreds of area boys came to throw the retirees out of their flats leaving them out in the cold after serving Nigeria for over 35 years”, she alleged.