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PURPOSE OF GIVING A NOTICE OF REVOCATION OF LAND

Dictum

The purpose of giving notice of revocation of a right of occupancy is to duly inform the holder thereof of the steps being taken to extinguish his right of occupancy. In the absence of notice of revocation of right of occupancy, it follows that the purported revocation of the right of occupancy by the officer duly authorised by the Governor is ineffectual. See Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd. v. Chief Ogunbiyi, supra; A.-G., Bendel State v. Aideyan (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt. 118) 646; Nigeria Engineering Works Limited 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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NOTICE OF REVOCATION MUST BE SERVED ON OCCUPIER OF LAND

A person who is not the proven owner or occupier of land in respect of which notice of acquisition or revocation is issued has no locus standi in law to seek nullification of the acquisition. Elegushi v. Oseni (2005) 14 NWLR (Pt.945) pg.348. It would amount to sufficient service of a notice of acquisition of a piece of land or of revocation of grant in respect of the land if service of the notice is effected on the occupier of the land. Elegushi v. Oseni (2005) 14 NWLR (pt.945) pg.348. Obikoya & Sons Ltd. v. Gov. Lagos State (1987) 1 NWLR (pt.50) pg.385.

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

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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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REVOCATION BY GOVERNOR MUST BE FOR OVERRIDING PUBLIC PURPOSE

By the provisions of Section 28(1) of the Land Use Act, 1978, it shall be lawful for the Governor to revoke a right of occupancy for overriding public interest. At no time was the appellant’s validly subsisting right of occupancy over the land in dispute revoked by the Borno State Governor nor even was notice of such revocation served on the appellant or on his predecessors in title. It is also not in dispute that no compensation in respect of the land was ever paid to the appellant. It ought also to be borne in mind that the purported grant made by the State Government to the 1st respondent was not for any overriding public interest but for his personal use for farming purposes. In these circumstances, it seems to me that Exhibit B is equally tainted with illegality and is as incurably defective as Exhibit A.

— Iguh, JSC. Kyari v Alkali (2001) – SC.224/1993

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VESTED RIGHT IN A LAND MUST BE REVOKED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 28 LAND USE ACT

It is not in doubt that S.1 of the Land Use Act vests in the Governor of a State the land in that State to be held in trust and administered accordingly. All lands in urban areas are under his control and management. All other lands are under the control and management of the respective Local Governments subject to certain aspects of intervention and determination of the Governor. It is also not in doubt that under S.5(1)(a) of the Act, it shall be lawful for the Governor to grant statutory rights of occupancy to any persons in respect of land, whether or not in an urban area. Under S.5(2), when such a grant is made, all existing rights to the use and occupation of the land which is the subject of the statutory right of occupancy shall be extinguished. But these provisions so far referred to are certainly not to be applied to defeat vested rights recognised under the Act itself. They may admittedly, defeat “existing rights to the use and occupation of the land” but not vested rights unless such vested rights are first revoked under S.28 of the Act as appropriate. This may be (a) for overriding public interest, (b) by notice on behalf of the President for public purposes, (c) for breach of the provisions imposed by S.10 of the Act, (d) for breach of any term envisaged by S.8 of the Act, (e) for refusal or neglect to comply with the requirement specified as per S.9(3) of the Act. In all these cases, the revocation shall be signified by notice duly issued and shall become valid when received by the person with such vested right: See S.28(6) and (7) of the Act. It is an accepted legal principle that vested rights are not lightly taken away. Under the Land Use Act it must be in accordance with S.28 and in addition compensation is payable by virtue of S.29. A person granted a right of occupancy acquires a vested right. So also is a person deemed to have been granted a right of occupancy under the relevant provisions of S.34 of the Act.

— Uwaifo, JSC. Olohunde v. Adeyoju (2000) – SC.15/1995

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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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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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