2. RIGHT AGAINST COMPULSORY ACQUISITION OF PROPERTY.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, being aware of the dreaded powers of government and the selfish interest of its prospective wielders, provided certain protection for landlords. The pitiful plots and scenes of the “Biblical Nabothic Vineyard” still plays in our today society; where jealous and selfish Governors forcefully acquire lands of citizens for their own personal investments. Friends, worry not for our Constitution in Section 44 provides for a right against compulsory acquisition of property. By the above provision, no land or interest on it can be compulsorily taken away from its owner in any part of Nigeria.
The provision went further to provide that on exceptional situations land can be compulsorily acquired but in the manner and for the purposes prescribed for in any of our laws. The law went further to entitle the landlord to receive a prompt payment of compensation from the government. To complement our constitution, the LAND USE ACT 1978, went on to provide the sacrosanct manner and purpose for which a land can be compulsorily acquired by government. By section 28 of the Land Use Act, a governor can only compulsorily acquire a land for overriding public interest. The law went further to explain that “overriding public interest” means
i. The requirement of the land by government for public purposes within the state
ii. Or for mining purposes or oil pipelines or building materials extraction or similar purposes.
iii. The transfer of land or interest in it by landlord without obeying the regulations over such transaction. (it’s a punitive measure).
It is crystal clear that our laws did not provide for compulsory acquisition by Governors’ for their own businesses rather for public purposes or better still for state use. Hence, no Governor can rightly, acquire your land to erect his personal house, hotel, hostel, school or private parks. Don’t succumb to the agitations of a Governor that wrestles to compulsorily acquire you land, for anything short of “for public use” instead get a lawyer.