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Senate Orders Nigerian Army To Vacate Land Occupied By Barracks In Lagos

 The Senate, yesterday, asked the Nigerian Army to vacate a large expanse of land currently occupied by its Signals Barracks in Apapa, Lagos State. The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, which gave this marching order at its sitting in Abuja, ruled that the contentious 20,652 hectares of land rightly belonged to Kazuma Shipping Company Limited. The Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, gave the verdict based on the petition brought before him by the law firm of Messrs Muiz Banire & Associates. A copy of the petition signed by Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN), and dated November 21, 2021, was made available to journalists by the Committee.

In the petition, Banire explained that the land was originally owned by the family of the late John Saint-Matthew Daniels, from whom the Kazuma Shipping Company Limited, bought it in 2002. He alleged that the Nigerian Army encroached on it despite the fact that it was outside their barracks.

He said the owners of the land commenced series of litigations against the Nigerian Army and got favourable judgments at the High Court, Appeal Court and Supreme Court. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria explained that the Supreme Court while delivering judgment in Suit No SC/68/71, had declared that the land, which bordered the Nigerian Army Signal Barracks, Apapa, Lagos State, belonged to the children of the late John Saint-Matthew Daniels. Banire said, “After the judgment, officers of the Nigerian Army began to trespass on the land by depriving the original owners, access to the large expanse of land on the pretext that the said land belongs to the Nigerian Army.

Upon a petition to the relevant authorities by our our client’s predecessors and in compliance with the said judgment, the Chief of Army Staff vide reference No. NA/412/A, dated April 3, 2002, directed the Commandant of the Nige rian Army Signal, Arakan Barracks, Apapa, Major General S.E. Asemota, to formally handover the parcel of land back to our client’s predecessors-in-title.” He said the company spent N400m to sand fill the land after purchase between 2002 and 2009. He, however, lamented that men of the Nigerian Army, allegedly disregarded the court judgements and invaded the land in 2009 and chased away the workers who were doing the sand filling. The representative of the Nigerian Army at the session, Lt. Col. M. Biambo, however, told the Committee that the case was subjudice because a suit instituted by the Army was already pending before a Lagos High Court on the matter.

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