The Lagos state government, the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA)) have strongly disagreed a over who holds the rights over certain parcels of land on the coastal area.
The parcels of land are in Eko Atlantic City, Lekki Phase 1 ( Admiralty Way), and Queens Drive , Ikoyi, Lagos.
This was as the House committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways moved into the third day of its investigations into alleged disposal/occupation of lands belonging to the Nigerian Ports Authority and National Inland Waterways Authority”..
The Lagos State government and the federal agencies failed to agree on the interpretation of NIWA Act and the Land Title Vesting Act and the Land Use Act.
Lagos state, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau, Mr. Bode Agoro said all the land bordering the sea, lagoon and ocean belongs to Lagos State by right.
“Lekki was acquired since 1972, the NIWA was not in existence then. NIWA was created in 1997. The law made in 1993 by the military was backdated to 1973 and our laws frowns at retroactive laws.”
He then wondered how NIWA could hold title over shorelines that had been in the possession of the Lagos State government long before it was created.
While speaking, Muazu Sambo, General Manager, Lagos Zone for NIWA said the NIWA Act and the Land Title Vesting Act vests all land within a 100 meters from sea, lagoon or ocean front within the prerogative of the Federal Government and that the NIWA holds such in trust for the government .
According to him, it’s a constitutional issue and any law that may have been made by Lagos State which is inconsistent with the constitution is null and void.
He said the situation was so bad that Lagos State has jumped on land meant for the federal government to the extent of giving it out to third parties, with Certificates of Occupancy.
He said the NIWA Act is superior to the Lagos State Land Use Act. ” We will not’ by any stretch of imagination concede our powers to anybody,” he said , adding that that NIWA gave permit to a certain operator on Queen’s Drive to operate a jetty and the Lagos government is now turning around to claim such land. ” because they want to sell it. NIWA has taken over that land and Lagos State cannot get it…No way!”
While speaking, for the Nigeria Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello, Executive Director Finance and Administration said they did not get a fair deal on the issue of Eko Atlantic City as the State took 12 hectare of NPA land and could only replace it with four hectares in Epe which was a far cry from what they took.
The Chairman of the Committee, Pat Asadu said it’s imperative that they know who has the legal right over the lands under contention and asked NPA, NIWA and Lagos State government to produce documents to that effect.
The Committee however noted that NIWA’s IGR is small, especially as it has relationships with oil companies and right way for pipelines.
Furthermore, the lawmakers asked both NPA and NIWA to present a list of property disposed and the statement of account that the proceed was paid into.