Navy/CRSG Land Rift: Inyang clears air on ownership

By: Kingsley Agim, CRS- MOI Officer reporting from Min. of Information and Orientation 

Arising from the recent imbroglio between the Government of Cross River State and the Nigerian Navy over the ownership of a certain plot of land, the State Commissioner for Lands, Prof. John Inyang has vehemently spoken out to clear the absurdity of the situation.

Prof. Inyang made the ownership clarifications on the matter while fielding questions from Journalists at the February 2020 edition of the Monthly Ministerial Press Briefing of the Ministry of Information and Orientation, held recently in Calabar.

Giving a historical account of the said property, the Lands  Commissioner said the Navy's occupation of the place came at the preponderance of the then Military Administrator of the State, Navy Captain  Ibim Princewill, as a Guest House in 1986.

Speaking further, Prof. Inyang recounted how the Navy has used the property as Officers Mess to date, pointing out that "recently, beyond the Mess, the Navy has begun setting up a structure in the land contiguous to the Mess."

The Commissioner maintained that as far as records are concerned, there was never a time Cross River State Government allocated that portion of land to the Nigerian Navy.The building was a Government Guest House which Navy  Captain Princewill allocated to himself as Military Administrator of the State and after his tenure,the Navy had continued  using the place as their Mess.

Prof. Inyang added that the State Government became concerned after investigations revealed that the Navy was building a hotel in a land adjacent to the Office of the Accountant-General and opposite the Office of the Surveyor-General of the State, noting that building a commercial facility in the midst of government MDAs negates the State's Town Planning Master Plan and other relevant Urban Development laws and must stop forthwith.

The Commissioner emphasized that beside being at variance with Town Planning Laws,the road there usually serves as entry and exit routes for the State Governor and will not be ideal to locate a hotel on such a road.

He also questioned the Navy's failure to submit its building plan along with  other relevant documents to his Ministry, hinting that such failure must have stemmed from unavailability of documents proving ownership of the piece of land.

Prof. Inyang, who restated the Governor Ayade-led administration's commitment to the development of the State, offered to allocate a plot  of land to the Nigerian Navy elsewhere suitable for buildings of commercial purposes.

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