A Professor of Law and Director of Research at Nigerian Institute of
Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye yesterday
lambasted Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State for the forceful
displacement of some Igbo destitutes from Lagos state.
Speaking at a “forum on internal deportation of Nigerians from one
part of the country to another”, organized by NIALS in Abuja,
Owasanoye held that the action of the Lagos state governor amounts to
a violation of the rights of the “deportees”
In a paper entitled, “Historical review of internal deportation in
Nigeria”, he delivered, the Professor held that the forcible removal
of the persons from one part of the country to another is not
deportation but a violation of fundamental rights of those persons.
While querying the use of deportation, in the case of Lagos state, he
said deportation connotes a complete removal from one country to
He said the constitution of the country guarantees one to stay in any
part of the country, the NIALS director however pointed out that the
inability of both state and the federal government to provide adequate
infrastructures and amenities for the citizenry was the reason why
people move from one place another, in search of greener pastures.
According to him, “the constitution enjoins state and the federal
government to take care of the citizens, once this happens, movement
from one point to another will be minimised”.
He added that deportation targets the poor, the marginalised and the
vulnerable and commended NIALS for providing the platform to discuss
what he called a national problem facing the country.
He said the forum will look at the rights of the citizens, reasons for
the deportation and will also come out with far reaching
recommendations that would assist the state and the federal government
to have a legal basis for addressing the problem for socio-economic
development of the country.
In his own presentation, Dr. Adebisi Arewa, the director, Centre for
Transnational Legal Practice and Trans-border Crimes of NIALS said the
deportation of Nigerians from one place to another qualifies as a
“degrading treatment”, as every Nigerians has the right to settle in
any part of the country.
He attributed the movement of people from one part of the country to
another to the un-even development, adding that, “development in the
country is not even and people tend to go towards where they feel they
will get better condition of living”.
Earlier in his welcome address, NIALS’ Director General, Professor
Ephipany Azinge said the forum was informed by the growing practice of
some state governors forcing people unlawfully to return to their
state of origin.
He said: “Deportation is only known to international law. The concept
of deportation is not known to municipal law.
“It is a development that has crept into our jurispudence through the
back door. We have to interrogate why people, on ground of ethnicity,
are asked to return to their homeland, particularly when such
deportation is not based on ground of criminality or illegal act”, he