A Rivers State High Court has declared that the disputed land at Rainbow Town in the Trans Amadi area of Port Harcourt, which is currently under the control of the Rivers State Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning, belongs to the Rivers State Government.
The Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt had approached the Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt in February, 2012, after the then Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi administration, through the Rivers State Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning, stopped them from erecting a structure on the disputed government land without approval.
In that instance, the Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt claimed that the Amaechi administration, through its agents and servants, forcibly entered the land in dispute, fenced it up with wired fence and locked it up.
The several claims of the claimants were marked Exhibits A to H1, respectively
Ruling in Suit Number PHC/986/2012 between Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt (claimant) and the Commissioner, Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning, Rivers State, the Governor of Rivers State and the Attorney General of Rivers State (defendants), Justice G.O. Omereji on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 said: “It is very clear that from the above authorities, the effect of Exhibit K, the Certificate of Title in the instant case, the defendants, especially the 2nd and 3rd defendants, have valid title to the land in dispute because the acquisition of the land as in Exhibit K by the government extinguishes every prior existing title over the said land”.
Justice Omereji stated that it was clear that the claimant’s plan AI/RV/2009/013 was charged on both the Ortho-Photo Map and the Greater Port Harcourt Acquisition of 1959, and that the said land is within the Greater Port Harcourt.
The court declared that Exhibits J1 and J2 clearly show that the claimant purchased a land from Dr E.E. Amadi, which was already owned by the state government following its acquisition by the Eastern Nigerian Government in 1959.
Justice Omereji held that: “The defendants have in Exhibits J, J1 and J2 inclusive of Exhibit K, which is the Certificate of Title, established that the land, the subject matter of this suit, was acquired in 1959 by the government.
“My humble opinion is that the claimants have not established that they have better title to the land, the subject matter of this suit, and they have not established that at the material time they were in possession, and that the defendants do not have better title to the land”.
The judge ruled that the defendants established that they have better title to the disputed land.
“My humble opinion is that the claimants in this case have not established that they have better title to the land in dispute in this case.
“The issue I have considered in this suit is to be resolved in favour of the defendants (Rivers State Government) as against the claimants (Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt)”, Justice Omereji ruled.
The Rivers State Government, in its Statement of Defence, carefully outlined its ownership of the land, and spelt out that there was no approval given to the trustees to construct a mosque on the disputed land.
In his judgment, Justice Omereji noted: “The Statement of Defence and the evidence of the defendants’ two witnesses show that the land, the subject matter of this suit, is state land acquired for public purpose by the Eastern Region of Nigeria in 1959 under the Public Acquisition Law as evidenced by the Certificate of Title dated 27th Day of June, 1961 Registered as Number 26 on Page 26 in Volume 2 of the Land Registry, Enugu, now in Port Harcourt, and whose assets the Rivers State Government inherited, which is Exhibit K.
“The evidence also shows that the claimants had no approval from the Rivers State Government to make use of the said land, prior to the use of the land for any religious or other purposes, and that the defendants did not destroy any property belonging to the claimants.
“The said area where the claimants used for religious activities falls within the area acquired by the Rivers State Government as in the Exhibit K. The evidence shows that the claimants acquired nothing from Chief Dr Edward S. Amadi since Chief Edward S. Amadi cannot give what he does not have because the land in dispute has been acquired and has been state land since 1959”, Justice Omereji added.
However, overwhelmed by the chain of projects execution across the state by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bro. Felix Obuah has urged the governor to keep up the tempo as Rivers people are very happy with him.
Obuah, who made the remarks shortly after embarking on projects inspection with the governor, said the State Chief Executive would remain dear in the hearts of Rivers people because of his humane disposition towards governance.
Describing the projects as unprecedented, Obuah said the quality of the projects would go a long way in enhancing the beauty and standard of living of the people.
While lauding the governor for his efforts to revive all critical sectors of the state economy, Obuah said Rivers people would remain eternally grateful to Wike as he strives to take the state to another level.
He regretted that the state under Chibuike Amaechi administration suffered severe calamity with decayed infrastructure dotting the entire state, and thanked Wike for rising to the occasion to reverse the trend.
The PDP chairman also expressed joy that the party and Rivers people are overwhelmed following Wike’s all-round achievements and style of governance, and urged him not to relent or be distracted by those he called fault finders and enemies of progress.
“Governor Wike is ruling the state with the fear of God, and that explains why Rivers people are happy and will remain happy with him.
“This clearly shows that the choice of the party in 2015 and 2019 was divine”, Obuah declared.
While still eulogizing the governor on the landmark projects being executed across the state, the PDP chairman said the move remains a milestone in the annals of the state, and commended the governor for prudent utilization of scarce resources.
Obuah called on the people of the state to remain supportive of the governor, as according to him, it would be a good way to reciprocate Governor Wike’s good works.
The state PDP boss, who also joined the governor to visit the site of the alleged demolition of mosque at Rainbow Town, Port Harcourt, condemned those peddling the rumour on the incident, describing them as agents of the devil.
Meanwhile, a Muslim cleric in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Ustaz Yahaya Imam Abdulahi, has assured that Muslims are not under any form of attack in Rivers State.
He said that Muslims in the state are living in peace and going about their normal businesses without fears of molestation in the state.
Imam Abdulahi, who is the leader of Bori Central Mosque in Khana Local Government Area of the state, spoke against the backdrop of a video clip circulating in the social media about the alleged demolition of Trans-Amadi Central Mosque in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
There were concerns that Muslims in the state are under attack.
“We (Muslim leaders) have been receiving lots of telephone calls from every state because there is a misconception about the issue of mosque demolition. Muslims in Rivers State are not under threat and the state is not hostile to the Muslim community,” he quoted a national daily as alleging.
“We have over 130 major mosques in Rivers State, not counting the smaller ones in the streets, and I assure the Muslim leaders everywhere that there is no threat (to Muslims),” he added.
“There was an area called Rainbow Community along Trans Amadi area. Five to seven years or so ago the government of Rivers State gave a notice that they need the land. The issue went to court, there was a legal tussle and the state government won.
“The state government demolished everything there; churches, mosque, houses and shops.
“After some years again, the Muslim community resident in the area got another land from a local chief for over N11.5million. they built a mosque there – that was after the demolition of the first mosque, which affected all the residents, not only the Muslim community.
“Sometimes again, another demolition took place and they lost this mosque that was about five years ago. They didn’t leave the place, but are praying there every day and every week. It was when the state government went to clear there again that started this.
“Governor Wike addressed his supporters (on Ruga), assuring them that Rivers is a Christian state and he has no regret. That is what people are relating to and saying Muslims are under attack or threat. I see the video in circulation which is not connected with the latest matter.
“I am calling the Executive Governor of Rivers State that he should continue to be the leader he his who does things accordingly. If there is a land bought for mosque and the government has interest in it they should replace it with another one”, he added.
2023: PDP Govs Task NASS On New Electoral Law
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum has tasked the National Assembly to immediately set up a conference committee to harmonize the two versions of the Electoral Act Amendment passed recently by the two chambers.
In a statement, yesterday, the Chairman of the forum and Sokoto State Governor, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, said any delay in the passing and assenting of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill will hamper preparations for the conduct of the 2023 polls.
The forum also charged the National Assembly to adopt the version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives, as it gives the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the latitude to adopt electronic transmission of election results.
“The PDP Governors’ Forum requests the Senate and House of Representatives (House) Conference Committee when set up, to adopt the House version of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill on the issue of electronic transmission.
“It should be noted that Section 52(2) of the House version says, ‘Voting at an election and transmission of result under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission,’ and Section 52 (2) of the Senate version provides, ‘The commission may consider electronic transmission of results provided that the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.
“The Senate version which subjects the decision of INEC to deploy electronic transmission to the decision of the Nigerian Communications Commission and National Assembly is manifestly a usurpation of the powers of INEC and offends relevant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution that guarantees INEC’s autonomy and independence,” the opposition governors.
According to them, INEC has demonstrated capacity to transmit votes electronically with the introduction and deployment of the Biomodel Voters Accreditation System (BVAs), used in the recent bye-election in Delta State.
The PDP governors further charged the National Assembly conference committee on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, to jettison the position of the House to compel all political parties to adopt one method of conducting primary elections.
“The forum is of the view that political parties should be allowed discretion to adopt either direct or indirect primaries in their Constitutions and in practice.
“The Senate version that retains the original provision in the Electoral Act should be adopted in the interest of the growth of our political parties and freedom of choice, the hallmark of a functional democracy.
“This intervention of the PDP governors is predicted on the need to ensure a free, fair and credible election, that strengthens Nigeria’s democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law. Only a credible election will guarantee accountability and good governance which Nigeria so desperately needs today,” the governors stated.
Cholera: NCDC Records 46 New Deaths In One Week
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 46 new deaths linked to suspected cholera cases were recorded in the country in the past one week.
The NCDC said this via its officially verified website, yesterday morning, stating that the situation report was published based on data sent in by the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, for the respective reporting week.
It stated that eight states accounted for the new cholera fatalities.
The public health agency, in its epidemiological report for August 30 to September 5, said a total of 2,323 people had so far died as a result of suspected cholera infections in 25 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), since the beginning of 2021.
It stated that 1,677 cholera infections were recorded in 12 states within the period of one-week, bringing the total suspected cases to 69,925 as at September 5.
“In the reporting week, 12 states reported 1,677 suspected cases – Bauchi (566), Katsina (282), Sokoto (258), Yobe (183), Borno (179), Niger (94), Kaduna (66), Adamawa (34), Gombe (8), Kano (4), Kebbi (2), and Nasarawa (1),” the report said.
“There was a 58% decrease in the number of new suspected cases in week 35 (1,667) compared with week 34 (3,992).
“Of the cases reported, there were 46 deaths from Borno (13), Sokoto (12), Katsina (8), Bauchi (6), Niger (3), Kaduna (2), Adamawa (1) and Kano (1) states with a weekly case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.7%.
“Twenty-five states and the FCT have reported suspected cholera cases in 2021. These are Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, FCT, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara.
“As at September 5, 2021, a total of 69,925 suspected cases, including 2,323 deaths (CFR 3.3%) have been reported from 25 states and FCT in 2021.
“Two new states (Osun and Ekiti) reported cases, though with dates of onset in weeks prior to week 35,” it explained.
The NCDC added that the national multi-sectoral EOC activated at level 02 continued to coordinate the national response.
Cholera is a waterborne disease with a high risk of transmission where there are poor sanitation and disruption of clean water supply.
The wrong disposal of refuse and practices, such as open defecation, endanger the safety of water used for drinking and for personal use, thereby leading to the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera, and without proper WASH, Nigeria remained at risk of cholera cases and deaths.
Buhari Seeks Senate’s Approval For $4bn, €710m External Loan
President Muhammadu Buhari, has asked the Senate to approve a fresh loan of $4,054,476, 863.00, €710million, and a grant of $125million to finance critical projects in the 2021 budget.
Buhari’s request was contained in his letter read by Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, at plenary following the resumption of the upper chamber from its two-month annual vacation, yesterday.
According to the President, the request is an addendum to the proposed 2018–2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan earlier approved by the National Assembly.
He said that the projects listed in the addendum to the 2018–2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Credit Suisse Group, among others.
“In view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by FEC as at June, 2021 are incorporated, I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed borrowing plan,” Buhari said.
The letter titled, ‘Addendum to the request for Senate’s concurrent approval of multilateral fund projects under the 2018-2021 Federal Government external borrowing (rolling) plan’ reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached addendum to the proposed 2018-2021 Federal Government external borrowing (rolling) plan for the consideration and concurrent approval of the Senate for same to become effective.
“The distinguishing Senate President may wish to recall that I earlier transmitted a request on the proposed 2018-2020 Federal Government External Borrowing Plan for the concurrent approval of the Senate in May, 2021.
“However, in view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by FEC as at June, 2021 are incorporated. I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed borrowing plan.
“The projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE), in the total sum of $4,054,476,863.00, plus €710million, and grant component of $125million.
“The Senate is kindly invited to note that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on positive, technical and economic evaluations and the contribution they would make to the socio-economic development of the country, including employment generation and poverty reduction as well as protection of the most vulnerable and very poor segments of the Nigerian society
“The Senate may also wish to note that all the listed projects in the addendum form part of the 2018-2021 External Borrowing Plan and covered both the Federal and States Government Projects and are geared towards the realization of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan that cut across key sectors such as infrastructure, health, agriculture and food security, energy, education and human capital development and Covid-19 response efforts.
“I hereby wish to request for the kind consideration and concurrent approval of the Senate for projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan to enable the projects become effective.”
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