• Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

NIWA has no appropriating powers over lands along waterways – Court judgment

river niger north segment

The Federal High Court, Awka Judicial Division, presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, on Monday, told National Inland Waterway Authority, NIWA, that it has no right to interfere with proprietary or property rights of individual, groups and generality of Nigerians, according to The Vanguard.

NIWA, through its Area Office, Onitsha, had sealed the property of Lake Petroleum Limited Onitsha, claiming ownership of the land, thereby preventing some members of the Incorporated Trustees of Sand Miners Association of Anambra State, who are tenants to the the Petroleum company from carrying out their business in their sand pits in the property, at the land by the bank of River Niger.

However, Lake Petroleum Limited Onitsha, through its lawyers, The Firm of G.E Ezeuko(SAN), dragged NIWA to Federal High Court Awka, in a No. FHC/AWK/CS/51/2020, seeking to know if NIWA, under the Land Use Act, can take lands rightfully belonging to individual members of the society.

Delivering judgment in the suit, the Court decided that NIWA Act does not give it power to interfere with the property right of Lake Petroleum Limited Onitsha or Nigerians generally and therefore, granted a perpetual injunction restraining NIWA from appropriating individuals land around the waterways, on the grounds that what the Right of Way, which is the statutory right NIWA has along the waterways, did not give it the powers of owning land property as specified by the Land Use Act.

Reacting to the court’s judgment, while speaking with newsmen, counsel to Lake Petroleum Limited Onitsha, Mr. Gerald Ezeuko(SAN), expressed satisfaction with the court’s judgment.

He said the substance of the judgment is that NIWA Act is inferior to Land Use Act, that is NIWA cannot interfere with proprietary or property right of Lake Petroleum Limited or Nigerians generally.

He said that the NIWA Right of Way cannot be converted into Right of Ownership of land around the waterways.

“The court judgment is so pleasing to us because it has resolved the issue of whether NIWA, can go into somebody’s land or not.

“Prior to this Suit, we had earlier commenced an action and got judgment against NIWA in a different suit, which says that NIWA cannot collect unauthorised dues and levies from sand miners, so the two cases are very important, they show the limitations of the operation of NIWA’s Act.

“Now if you put the two cases together in addition to the decision of Court of Appeal Lagos Division, against NIWA in 2014, the excesses of NIWA has been cleanly curtailed.

“The extortion by NIWA against sand miners is illegal and unlawful, it is fraudulent because NIWA is aware of the limitation of their powers as contained or based on Section 76 of Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act 2007, which by that Section 76 expunged the application of NIWA Act in respect to Sand dredging and other activities.

“We are, therefore, calling on the Presidency, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, together with the supervisory Ministry, the Federal Ministry of Transport to call the Managing Director of NIWA, Chief George Moghalu, to order to stop embarrassing them and the country.

“The excesses of NIWA must be curtailed by calling its Managing Director to order, otherwise, they will continue to expose the President, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the Minister of Transport to ridicule.

“Nigeria is governed by law and today that has been affirmed by the Federal High Court, Awka Division, that NIWA must do what is lawful, NIWA must do that which is lawful they cannot do otherwise.

“You are clearly standing on a solid ground when you say that NIWA has no right over lands along the River Niger, that are vested in property owners, the only right NIWA has is right of entry and exit, to enter and to come out.

“They cannot keep anything there because we filed a suit on control and possession of land.”

Asked if NIWA has the right to appeal the judgment, Mr. Ezeuko(SAN), said: “NIWA has the constitutional right to appeal, but you do not file for appeal just to exercise right to appeal.

“This case is not an issue of Interpretation of fact, but interpretation of law. It is quite primary, the Court of Appeal cannot start saying that the powers of NIWA as limited by the Mining Act and as limited by the Land Use Act, gives NIWA powers that are not their statutory rights.

“This suit by Lake Petroleum Limited Onitsha against NIWA is not an issue of facts interpretation, but an issue of interpretation of law.

“We called NIWA to interpret whether NIWA Act, supersedes Land Use Act and the Court said capital No, that is what the court said.

“NIWA is intentionally embarrassing the Federal Government of Nigeria in their bid to fraudulently collect money from Igbo businessmen.

“I use that word fraudulently, with a clear conscience because NIWA is aware under Section 76 of Mining Act that they have no such powers over Land Use Act, and they have been extorting money from Onitsha businessmen since 2007.

“With this judgment, the tenants of Lake Petroleum Limited Onitsha have absolute right to go and open their sand beaches or pits illegally sealed by NIWA to continue their business.

“We have already intimated the state  Commissioner of Police,  DSS, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, EFCC and NSCDC, about the judgment, of the Courts against NIWA and the intention of our clients to open their pits.”

 

Culled from The Vanguard.

5 thoughts on “NIWA has no appropriating powers over lands along waterways – Court judgment”
  1. When  signed for Sevilla in 2019 from Bordeaux, the biggest doubts over him were that he was an attacking
    player trapped in a defender’s body. Over the next three years those
    concerns vanished – sure, he could play like a stylish midfielder, but his defensive qualities were beyond question.In his first season Sevilla had the third best defensive record in Liga.

    In his second campaign they repeated that feat.
    And last season, despite finishing fourth, Sevilla had
    the best defensive record in the division. Much of that was down to Kounde.He rarely makes a mistake but when he does he has the pace to recover.

    His speed also means that defences with him at the heart would be able to play a high line.  Jules Kounde is expected to sign for
    Chelsea over Barcelona in a deal worth £55m from SevillaIt is little wonder that Barcelona wanted
    to sign him.

    If Xavi is going to park his defence on the halfway line this coming campaign, then there is no
    one better suited than the 23-year-old French international. The concern in England might be that, with more
    aerial threat to deal with week in week out, Kounde is too small.

    That forgets that he leaps as high as any taller defender.Gus Poyet had the same doubts when he arrived in Bordeaux during the
    second half of the 2017-18 season and spotted the young defender in the reserves.‘He made his
    debut a week before I arrived,’ Poyet told Sportsmail. Thomas Tuchel is likely to deploy Kounde on the right-hand side of his back three in defence
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    ‘When you meet Jules and you know he’s a centre-half your first reaction is: oh, he’s not
    over six foot. But then you see him training and you see him jumping and you see him
    competing and you say: it’s not an issue.‘I don’t want to compare him with anyone because he is
    still young, but we can go to the [Fabio] Cannavaro and [Roberto] Ayala examples.

    That kind of defender who looks small but they win every ball in the air.’The fact that
    Kounde has appeared to favour a move to Barcelona over Chelsea
    may be the one crimp in his perfect profile, but his preference
    not to have to change countries is maybe understandable
    and Kounde’s professional approach is as impeccable as his defending.
    The French defender made 32 appearances in LaLiga last campaign as Sevilla finished fourthOnce he starts working with Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel,
    he will be out to soak up all the know-how from his new
    manager.‘He constantly wanted to get better.

    He was not afraid of asking me questions one to one.
    Or even asking me to come in for a session in the afternoon on his own,’ Poyet
    remembers.As for the attacking capabilities, despite showing his defensive solidity at Sevilla, he has not curbed his ability to join the attacks
    or even lead them. Barcelona are preparing to launch a final late
    offering to scupper Chelsea’s plan to sign himSevilla
    tend to play with a back four but both full-backs – Jesus
    Navas on the right and Marcos Acuna on the left – push on to provide the
    width and allow the wingers to run inside.

    But there were times last season when Navas
    was stifled by the opposition and so Kounde became the defender to spring out from the back and make the
    extra man in attack. There were also stages of the season when Navas was unavailable through injury and Kounde was always an option to fill in at
    right back. He has played there for France. That
    centre-back/right-back profile makes him the perfect replacement for
    Cesar Azpilicueta in terms of positions covered.
    Chelsea have already secured the signing of Napoli
    and Senegal centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly The 32-year-old Spaniard has excelled
    in his hybrid defensive role at Stamford Bridge,
    first unearthed by Antonio Conte during Chelsea’s 2016-17 title-winning season.Sharing a similar height to Kounde at 5ft 10in, Azpilicueta
    brought a different dynamic to the Chelsea back three, defensive-minded
    and agile enough to keep shape at centre-half but
    cover the right-back area and allow the marauding full-back to kick
    on. But the veteran has seen his game-time deplete in recent seasons, his 36 starts in 2019-20
    decreasing to 24 in both of the last two campaigns.Favouring an undersized and mobile
    third centre-back alongside Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger, Tuchel even experimented with Reece James in the back three
    whilst Azpilicueta was unavailable or needed a rest. England’s assist-hungry attacking
    full-back will undoubtedly prosper from the Frenchman’s
    arrival at Stamford Bridge, no longer held back –
    quite literally – in the Blues back line.
    Cesar Azpilicueta went from 36 starts in 2019-20 to 24
    in both of his last two Chelsea seasons Kounde’s arrival would give Reece James added security as he marauds forward from full-backKounde’s all-round ability as
    a footballer means he could also play in a three, which Tuchel may favour next season. That would
    give him the chance to push on with the ball
    at his feet, as Rudiger liked to do on the left-flank.Even if James were ruled out from time to time through injury, Kounde
    could comfortably reprise the role he has for
    his country and cover at right-back.  They will miss him at Sevilla.

    He is a modest professional who got on with all his team-mates and was able to be a leader when the need arose, while also
    ceding to the veterans at the club. The Frenchman has
    become accustomed to playing at right-back on international
    duty Chelsea will be getting a player who piqued Pep Guardiola’s interest at one point, although in the end City went for Ruben Dias. He is a player that Xavi has been desperate to build a
    new Barcelona defence around. In the end Barcelona’s elaborate installment-player swap plan has meant Sevilla are far happier to send him to England.

    That is, unless the Catalan club are able to make good on their
    late attempt to raise funds with another rights sale and counter
    the Blues bid with an enhanced offer.If not, Sevilla will be pleased not to have to face
    him next season in La Liga.
    They broke their transfer record to buy him but he has been worth every euro the
    club’s sporting director Monchi decided to spend on him.
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  2. The Dallas Cowboys finally have figured out a way to get
    backup running back Tony Pollard on the field with Ezekiel Elliott at the
    same time — use the former at the slot receiver position this upcoming season. Away from peering eyes at open training camp practices,
    Pollard has been working with Cowboys offensive quality control coach
    Kyle Valero on the intricacies of playing in the slot, The Dallas Morning News reported. “Just details like route-running, getting in and out of breaks, why we’re running certain plays and what’s the meaning behind them,” Pollard,
    25, told the newspaper.

    “We’re getting into the depth of why we’re doing the things that we’re doing, so it will make more sense in the big picture.” The Cowboys have been trying to get Pollard and Elliott on the field together
    since they selected Pollard in the fourth round of the 2019 draft,
    per the Morning News. Pollard rushed for 719 yards and two touchdowns behind
    Elliott in 2021.

    Pollard also hauled in a career-high 39 catches for 337 yards, a
    total that figures to rise if the team can work Pollard into
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    “So, I think the running back role is one thing, certainly when Zeke and him can kind of tag-team that role. But then it’s another opportunity for him to expand that role and play in some different positions, out in space and some of the things that certainly he’s capable of doing.” –Field Level
    Media

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