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Cross River State government halts navy hotel project for alleged illegal development

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On-going construction of the proposed hotel project by the Nigerian Navy in Calabar, Cross River State

A Bitter quarrel is brewing between the Cross River government and the Navy as the state authorities have sealed off a hotel project being embarked upon in a property it has occupied for over 30 years. 

The Navy is constructing a five-star hotel on one of the properties near Transcorp Hotel while the second, which is used to accommodate the former Naval Hospital near Millennium Square is to accommodate the new War College. 

But the state government said Navy is acting with impunity by violating State laws on land use and building regulations, by constructing a hotel without due approval from the Cross River State Ministry of Lands and Town Planning. Hence the Nigerian Navy, Calabar has been asked to put a stop to the project.

The Commissioner for Lands and Town Planning, Prof John Inyang and other aids stormed the Navy Officers’, site of one of the disputed land insisting that the Navy should stop work on the property. Inyang personally conducted the seal off of the proposed hotel site and stressed the need for the Nigerian Navy to respect the laws of Cross River.

Inyang, disclosed that “ Prof. Ben Ayade has given directive for the place to be sealed off and work stopped for the proper thing to be done by the authority of the Nigerian Navy. The land in question was never allocated to the Navy, and that the Nigerian Navy started construction without applying for approval from the Cross River Government.

“The authority of the Nigerian Navy started construction on the land in question without seeking due approval from the state government, no structural, architectural, electrical or even site analysis approvals have been given,” he said.

Prof.  Inyang explained that “the Calabar urban development plan does not show that a commercial development can fit in there. All around the location are government offices such as Accountant General, Town planning, Surveyor General, CRGIA, Stadium and Oando.

“Building a five-star hotel at that location serves as a security risk, especially when the Governor’s Office can be viewed from the hotel. The state building regulations must be respected and the rule of law must be observed.”

He stated that several notices of stop-work have been served and commissioner of land held meetings with the Commandant, Rear Admiral Okeke, all to no avail, adding “confiscating state land under any guise and by whichever establishments and agencies, private or public cannot be tolerated.

“The state has in time past allocated several plots of land to Navy. We are ready to give Navy an alternative land for the hotel but not the present location.”

Inyang called on the Navy, other federal agencies and establishments in the state to always “respect the laws of Cross River,” and that the issue was already pending before a court of competent jurisdiction for determination.

He said that as a government that respects the rule of law, the Cross River Government decided “to go to court and secured injunction order on the development yet the Navy continued with impunity. We have no alternative than to seal off the place”.

The Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Calabar, Rear Admiral David Adeniran declined to comment on the matter, maintaining that there are channels to resolve such issues amicably. 

However top sources in the Navy expressed disappointment the way and manner the government has taken the matter.

Meanwhile Naval personnel is keeping vigil at the property in case of any unauthorised intrusion. 


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