Nigeria: How Kano Governor Violates Legislation in Demolishing Property – Legal professionals

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Mustapha Kashim, a lawyer, mentioned although the federal government can demolish properties, it should notify the tenants beforehand.

On 3 June, the Governor of Kano State, Abba Yusuf, ordered the flattening of a three-storey constructing with 90 outlets situated on a race course on the Nasarawa GRA. The governor gave this order barely six days after he was sworn in. Within the days that adopted, different notable buildings within the Kano metropolis such because the Daula Resort, a industrial constructing at Hajj Camp, outlets on the annexe of the Kantin Kwari textile market owned by Integrated Trustees of Masallacin Eid Store Homeowners and Merchants Affiliation have been demolished.

The federal government additional demolished buildings in Salanta Quarters, a residential neighbourhood within the Kano metropolis, amongst others.

Legal professionals who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on the matter mentioned the federal government’s motion could have violated the related legal guidelines of the land. Each the Nigerian structure and the Land Use Act are key legal guidelines governing the usage of land within the nation.

What the regulation says

Part 28(6) of the Land Use Act 1978 states, “It shall be lawful for the Governor to revoke a proper of occupancy for overriding public curiosity. The revocation of a proper of occupancy shall be signified below the hand of a public officer duly authorised on that behalf by the Governor and see thereof shall be given to the holder”.

Based mostly on the regulation, Mustapha Kashim, a lawyer, mentioned although the federal government can demolish properties, it should notify the tenants beforehand.

He mentioned whereas the governor can train his energy of revocation of a legitimate statutory proper of occupancy, there should be compliance with the availability of the Land Use Act 1978, notably with reference to not solely giving discover however enough discover of revocation to the holder.

“It is because the phrase ‘shall’ is used below each part 28 (6) and part 44 of the Land Use Act. In impact, the place revocation of a proper of occupancy didn’t comply strictly with the availability of sections 28 (6) and (7) and 44 of the Act, such revocation will likely be null and void and of no impact by any means,” Mr Mustapha mentioned citing a case between NITEL and one Ogunbiyi (1992).

“Be it famous that below our extant legal guidelines, the commando-style of storming residents’ premises with a caterpillar within the dearth of the precise and demolishing buildings is nothing however government lawlessness and brigandage. Our courts frowned at this way back way back to 1986 when the Supreme Court docket condemned in sturdy phrases such acts within the case of Lagos State and Ojukwu.

“The Land Use Act revolutionised land possession in Nigeria. Its provisions, nonetheless, are often construed strictly towards the buying authority, which is the governor, and sympathetically in favour of the particular person whose property rights are being taken away. This was the choice within the case of Adole and Gwar as held by the Supreme Court docket,” Mr Mustapha mentioned.

Equally, Nasiru Aliyu, a professor of regulation on the Division of Public Legislation, Bayero College, Kano, mentioned the state authorities’s motion within the demolition of the properties violated the Land Use Act and the Nigerian structure.

Mr Aliyu mentioned there should be a process whether or not the property is acquired legally or in any other case, the process should be consistent with the provisions of the Land Use Act. In keeping with him, the regulation states that if the federal government desires to accumulate a property, it should notify the one who owns the land, as a result of part 44 of the structure provides residents a elementary proper to personal property, Mr Aliyu mentioned.

“It’s important to notify an individual that the property was illegally acquired and the particular person has the precise to go to court docket and the court docket will decide whether or not the property is correctly granted or not.

“These properties that have been categorized by the Kano State Authorities as illegally granted and the federal government went and demolished, for my part, the federal government should observe due course of in both buying or demolishing them. If finally, it’s decided that the properties have been illegally granted, it signifies that the house owners of such properties aren’t entitled to any compensation.

“A authorities has the ability to accumulate property for the general public curiosity, however the public curiosity should be clearly outlined. A mixed studying of Part 29 of the Land Use Act and Part 44 of the Structure states that the buying entity (authorities) should pay compensation, and it should immediate and pretty, so additionally in giving discover and the compensation, the federal government is obliged to observe due course of.

“Due to this fact, written notification of the acquisition should be served or delivered to the celebration involved, shere the aim of the acquisition is within the public curiosity. Therefore, the federal government is meant to pay compensation first earlier than buying the property. Nigerian regulation entails that no one’s property ought to be taken unjustly with out following due course of.

“It’s to be famous that within the demolition case of properties, notably, the Filin Idi Retailers, the Federal Excessive Court docket dominated that the demolition train was unlawful, null and void. I do know there are additionally many different related circumstances towards the federal government over the breach of elementary rights of the house owners of properties in Kano that have been both demolished or earmarked for demolition by the Kano State Authorities. By the Authorities agreeing to pay the sum of N3 billion out of the N30 billion judgement sum, it reveals that the federal government had admitted that they ought to not have performed what they’d performed.

“It’s attention-grabbing to notice that, the Kano Judicial Division of the Federal Excessive Court docket’s Judgement awarding the sum of N30 billion compensation towards the federal government was strictly for the breach of elementary rights of the Filin Idi Store house owners for the demolishing of their properties/outlets with out due means of regulation.

“I imagine the store house owners should even have a case earlier than the Kano State Excessive Court docket the place they need the court docket to declare that they’re the rightful house owners of the properties, as a result of they’ve adopted all of the due processes in buying the outlets, as they’ve paid the federal government all vital charges payable, and had obtained the required authorities’s permissions or consents for the task of the properties into their respective names,” Mr Aliyu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, mentioned.

Authorities settles out of court docket

Whereas the variety of court docket circumstances towards the federal government by these whose properties have been demolished proceed to rise, the federal government appears to have realised the error in its motion, because it has now agreed to an out-of-court settlement with one group of claimants. The settlement got here after the Federal Excessive Court docket in Kano awarded the claimants, the house owners of Masallacin Eid Store, a N30 billion compensation for the unlawful demolition of the property.

On 14 December, the state authorities was compelled to reached a N3 billion settlement with the group after the court docket ordered the freezing of 24 financial institution accounts of the federal government for refusing to adjust to its order to compensate the merchants.

Demolition: Legal professionals threaten to sue Sanwo-Olu over ‘5,000 displaced households’

Whereas the house owners of the property have been compensated for the demolition, tenants, whose items have been looted from the property through the demolition train, have been left to bear the price of their losses alone.

Ibrahim Muktar, who owns a store on the Eid Floor property, mentioned he misplaced items valued at tens of millions of naira to looters. He mentioned the federal government gave merchants solely three days to vacate after their items had been looted.

“The federal government simply got here with out prior discover till after three days of the demolition, they got here and put the crimson paint (notification) after we had misplaced virtually all our valuables to looters.

“My neighbour, who was promoting curtains and carpets, additionally misplaced every little thing to looters. He misplaced over N100 million in funding,” mentioned Mr Muktar.