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ONCE LAND IS REVOKED, PARTY HAS CLAIM IN COMPENSATION ONLY

Dictum

My lords, once Exhibit B is revoked, the appellant and respondent no longer have any rights to the Plot. All their rights stand extinguished. Their only remedy is compensation as provided by Section 44(1) of the Constitution. It is strange to suggest that with the revocation of Exhibit B the appellants interest therein is transferred to Exhibit A. That is not the position in Law or Equity. The appellant’s interest in Exhibit B died with the revocation. Consequently, the appellant forcefully entering Exhibit A confers on the respondent an enforceable cause of action. The respondent was right to go to court to seek redress and the court was correct to enter judgment for him.

— Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Ibekwe v. Nwosu (2011) – SC.108/2006

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REASON FOR REVOCATION OF A PERSON’S LAND MUST BE SPELT IN THE REVOCATION NOTICE

Where right of occupancy is stated to be revoked for public purpose, there is the need to spell out the public purpose in the notice of revocation. See Osho v. Foreign Finance Corporation, supra; Ereku v. Military Governor of Midwestern State (1974) 10 SC 59; Adukwu v. Commissioner for Works, Lands and Transport, Enugu State (1997) 2 NWLR (Pt. 489) 588. The reason for revoking a person’s right of occupancy must be stated in the notice of revocation notwithstanding that the Act did not expressly state that the specific ground of the revocation must be stated in the notice. See Adukwu v. Commissioner for Works, Lands and Transport, Enugu State, supra; Nigeria Engineering Works Ltd. v. Denap Limited (1997) 10 NWLR (Pt. 525) 481.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. C.S.S. Bookshops v. Muslim Community & Ors. (2006) – SC.307/2001

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REVOCATION & ACQUISITION MUST BE FOR PUBLIC PURPOSE

If the forgoing is not complied with, such acquisition shall be illegal, unlawful null and void. The law equally empowers such acquisition when it is required for public purpose. What is public purpose is not defined in the Act but have been identified by the courts in numerous cases. The acquisition must be for bonafide public purpose. It is suggested that for a particular purpose to qualify as public purpose or public interest it must not be vague and the way it benefits the public at large must be capable of proof. The test is whether or not the purpose is meant to benefit the public and not just to aid the commercial transaction of a company or a group of people for their own selfish or financial purposes.

— O.O. Adekeye, JSC. Goldmark & Ors. v. Ibafon Co. & Ors. (2012) – SC.421/2001

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REVOCATION NOTICE IS TO BE SERVED

There is no evidence that any revocation notice was served on plaintiff in the manner stated above. The defendants’s witness’s testimony on service of the forfeiture notice on 13th November, 1979 is no compliance. The 4th defendant’s witness’s evidence of how on the 7th of November, 1980 he went on the land with labourers to clear the person moulding blocks on the land and the blocks is very implicating. More so as he was a Principal Executive Officer with the 1st defendant and acted on instruction of the 1st defendant.

— Obaseki, JSC. Foreign Finance Corp. v Lagos State Devt. & Pty. Corp. & Ors. (1991) – SC. 9/1988

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PROVISION ON COMPULSORY ACQUISITION OF A PERSON’S LAND MUST BE CONSTRUED STRICTLY

Any provision of the law which gives or governs compulsory acquisition of a person’s property must be construed by the court fortissimo contra preferentes. Such a statute should be construed by the court strictly against the acquiring authority and sympathetically in favour of the complainant or the owner or possessor of the property against any irregularity in the procedure for acquisition as laid down by the enabling statute. See Peenock Investments Ltd. v. Hotel Presidential Ltd. (1983) 4 NCLR 122 at 115; Alhaji Bello v. Diocesan Synod of Lagos (1973) 1 All NLR (Pt. 1) 247 at 268; Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd. v. Chief Ogunbiyi (1992) 7 NWLR (Pt 255) 543; Osho v. Foreign Finance Corporation (1991) 4 NWLR (Pt. 184) 157.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. C.S.S. Bookshops v. Muslim Community & Ors. (2006) – SC.307/2001

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SERVICE OF NOTICE MUST BE EFFECTED ON LAND OWNER FOR REVOCATION TO BE VALID

One cannot but continue to emphasize that where a statute specifically provides for a particular way in which Government or any party can obtain title, the Government or the party can only acquire title by strict compliance with the statute, unless the statute or its wording is against the constitution of the Land. Another way of stating it is that there should be strict compliance with the issue of serving notice on land owners or interested persons in compulsory acquisition of land in accordance with the provisions of the law aforesaid. See Provost Lagos State College of Education & Ors v Dr. Kolawole Edun & Ors (2004) 6 NWLR (Pt.870) 476 at 506; Okeowo v Attorney-General Ogun State (2010) 16 NWLR (Pt.1219) 327.

— M. Peter-Odili, JSC. Goldmark & Ors. v. Ibafon Co. & Ors. (2012) – SC.421/2001

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REVOCATION MUST BE FOR OVERRIDING PUBLIC INTEREST; HOLDER MUST BE NOTIFIED

Furthermore, the Act itself provides some checks and balances which must be observed before making any grant, the conditions under which such grants can be revoked and what follows after such revocation. It provides under S. 28 that the Governor can only revoke a right of occupancy for overriding public interest’ which has been defined both in respect of statutory and customary rights of occupancy. If such powers of revocation are to be exercised, the holder of the right of occupancy must be notified in advance. Revocation of a right of occupancy for public purpose or in the public interest does not include the revocation of the right of a grantee for the purpose of vesting it in another. Therefore, since revocation of the grant involves the deprivation of the proprietary rights and obligations of a grantee, all the terms and conditions laid down by the Act must be strictly adhered to and complied with. And so for a revocation of a right of occupancy to be valid in Nigeria, it must be made strictly in compliance with S. 28 of the Land Use Act.

— Mohammed, JSC. C.S.S. Bookshops v. Muslim Community & Ors. (2006) – SC.307/2001

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