Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Nigerians protest Gov Ayade's move to illegally grab land belonging to Nigerian Navy

26 February 2020 

A handful of Nigerians resident in and indigenous to Cross River State, Tuesday, protested what they refer to the obnoxious policy of the Cross River State Government CRSG especially the move to grab land belonging to the Nigerian Navy. 

The State Government led by Gov Ben Ayade has been adviced by Cross River Progressives Forum CRISSPROF to follow the rule of law in her move to grab land belonging to the Nigerian Navy NN. 

The spokesperson of the group, Eyo Nsa Ekpo a legal practitioner disclosed to the press during the peaceful protest in Calabar that the move by the state government to grab the said land meant for the construction of a War College by the Navy contravenes Section 49 of the Land Use Act which states among other things that if land is to be taken there should be publication of notice revocation of right of occupancy. He informed that the State Government has not published a single notice of revocation of right of occupancy yet, they still chose to grab land until now. 

Ekpo added that should the state government fails to adhere to their request, they will continue to protest and even explore litigation on a public interest suit. He charged the Attorney-General of the state to refer the governor to the Land Use act. 

His words, 'We are moving on a very peaceful march against the obnoxious policies of the Ayade led administration especially as it pertains to the issue of grabbing people's land without due process. The impunity of this government has gotten to a place where Cross Riverians can no longer close their eyes, it is time we get up and act as one. We must get up and tell this government that this is a democracy and democracy simply means the rule of law as opposed to the whims and caprices of men. 

'Therefore, if a state government wants to take over land there are processes to follow. The first process is to publish a notice of revocation of right of occupancy; as we sit now this state government has not published a single notice of the revocation of right of occupancy. But they have been grabbing people's lands. And we ask the question, are these lands been taken in the public interest or for a private individual? 

'The Navy wants to bring a war college to Calabar... this is something that other people in other states will be struggling to have and our governor wants to take the land that the Navy has occupied for over forty years. 

'And by Section 49 of the Land Use Act, if a Federal Government agency has occupied a land before the coming into force of the Land Use Act 1978, no state government has the powers to revoke their right of occupancy; please the Attorney-General of Cross River State should refer this Governor to Section 49 of the Land Use Act. And tell him to stop this impunity. It is getting out of hand.'

Youths numbering over five hundred youths in their peaceful protest began Barracks Road, through Leopard Town Road, by Governor's Office and Muritala Mohammed Highway were seen to carry placards with the inscriptions:
'Nigerian Navy is performing better than you', 'The land does not belong to CRS', 'Gov. Ayade your land grabbing is too much', 'You have taken CROSPIL land, don't extend it to Nigerian Navy', 'Where is your deep sea port?'

CRISSPROF decried the deplorable state of security in the state, the depth of uncleanliness particularly of the Cross River capital city, Calabar. 

Recall that last week government news sources reported that the Navy was building a 5-star hotel facility. According to them the Commissioner for Lands, Prof. John Inyang decried the attitude of the Navy and directed the immediate stoppage of work on the site. They said the commissioner said the land on which the Navy is building the hotel was never allocated to it by the state, even as he raised security concerns about situating a 5-star hotel on the land, given that it lies within the precincts of government offices, including the governor's office.

But Ekpo had observed that the position of government are lies because we have Transcorp Hotel towering the Governor's Office, government Secretariat building etc and the government had never raised concerns. 

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