Rivers government provides ownership evidence of disputed Muslim praying ground
Rivers State government yesterday presented evidence that the High Court in Port Harcourt declared that a disputed land Muslims use for prayers belongs to the state.
The state’s Ministry of Urban Development had last week demolished an illegal structure on the disputed land sparking a row that the government had demolished a mosque.
It said the Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt had approached the Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt in February 2012, after former Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s administration through the Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning stopped them from erecting a structure on the disputed government land without approval.
Consequently, the Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque claimed that the Amaechi administration, through its agents and servants, forcibly entered the disputed land, barricaded it with wired fence and locked it up.
But ruling Justice George Omereji had ruled in suit Number PHC/986/2012 between the claimant and Commissioner, Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning, the governor and Attorney General of Rivers State as defendants on Tuesday, November 27, 2018.
“It is very clear that from the above authorities, the effect of Exhibit K, the Certificate of Title in the instant case, the defendants, especially the second and third defendants have valid title to the land in dispute because the acquisition of the land as in Exhibit K by the Government extinguishes every prior existing title over the said land,” he ruled.
The government said Justice Omereji stated that it was clear that the claimant’s plan AI/RV/2009/013 was charged on both the Ortho-Photo map and Greater Port Harcourt Acquisition of 1959 and that the said land was within the Greater Port Harcourt.
The court declared that exhibits J1 and J2 clearly showed that the claimant purchased land from one Dr. Edward Amadi, which was already owned by the State Government following its acquisition by the Eastern Nigerian Government in 1959.
Justice Omereji further held that: “The defendants have in exhibits J, J1, and J2 inclusive of Exhibit K, which is the Certificate of Title, established that the government acquired the land and subject matter of this suit in 1959.
“The claimants have not established that they have a better title to the land and they have not established that at the material time they were in possession and that the defendants do not have a better title to the land,” he held.
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