The Federal Government has fined the Anambra State Government for N50bn for allegedly defacing its land in Awka, the state capital.
A human rights lawyer, Mike Ezekhome, Senior Advocate Nigeria, disclosed this to journalists in Awka.
He said the claim was damages for defacing about 148 hectares of land belonging to the Federal Government’s land in Awka
He said, “We are claiming the sum of N50 bn as damages for defacing the land in the first instance. The structures there are not the structures approved by the federal government with the agreement of the allottees numbering 1,850.
“Under sections 315 and 317 of the constitution read together with sections 1, 10, 28 and 51 of the Land Use Act, Anambra State has no power whatsoever and howsoever to take over land belonging to the Federal Government in Anambra State because the same state government had already given this land to the federal government as shown by evidence attached.
“And the Federal Government had already taken over the project as Federal Government’s sites and services scheme at Amansea in Anambra State which is about 148.336 hectares of land.
“Having taken over, the Federal Government decided that in order to build it, they have to allocate it to allottees to develop it to specifications.
“The lands were bulldozed, graded; streets were put. Then, suddenly, the Anambra State government purported to revoke the certificate of occupancy given to the federal government in September 2009.
“And the federal government said ‘you can’t do that. This is a land that we own through the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and we have allocated it to some allottees to build according to our specifications.
“The state government has no power to take over land belonging to the Federal Government. It’s an exception to the land use act which is that all lands in the state belong to the state government which it holds in trust for the people.
Counsel for the Anambra State Government, Emeka Etiaba, SAN, said there was no going back on the matter.
He said, “We’ll be here on 30th March again to adopt our address after which we look forward to judgment from the court.”