- Category: Society
- Published on Friday, 17 September 2010 11:15
- Written by The Nation
- Hits: 1315
FORMER military ruler Gen. Ibrahim Babangida attempted to transfer all reclaimed land in Lagos to the Federal Military Government, it emerged Thursday.
He wanted to give some plots of land at Osborne Estate to his friends. To do that, he promulgated decree 52 of 1993 vesting the Federal Government with all reclaimed land belonging to state governments.
The decree would have affected all coastal states, especially Lagos and the Southsouth states.
Had the decree been successfully enforced, all reclaimed land from the sea and lagoon, such as Victoria Island, Ikoyi, some parts of Ikorodu, Apapa and Badagry would have been taken over by Babangida's government.
The decree was described Thursday as "a most obnoxious piece of legislation," by a former Federal Commissioner of Works, Alhaji Olufemi Okunnu (SAN), who served from 1967 to 1974.
He spoke in Lagos at the public presentation of his two books: "In the Service of the Nation" and "Contemporary State Land Matters in Nigeria (The Case of Lagos State)."
Okunnu said Babangida promulgated the decree retroactively to January 1, 1975 , which was exactly a day after he (Okunnu) left office.
He said corruption was still rampant in Nigeria , and urged all public officers to declare their assets at the beginning and end of their tenures as a way of mitigating corruption.
He regretted that graft "has eaten deep into the psyche of Nigerians."
The Senior Advocate, who yesterday marked his 50th year at the bar, said there was nothing to celebrate about Nigeria being 50.
"We have had 50 years of waste and decay. There is really no cause for celebration," he said.
According to him, the celebrations would only benefit a few contractors who depend on what they get from the government for their livelihood.
He urged the electorate to vote wisely in next year's election, adding that those who had served before without achieving much should give way to the younger generation.
He said: "The choice is yours and mine. Let us vote wisely. Let us elect people whose loyalty is to Nigeria , and not people whose loyalty is to their pockets.
"Those who have served this country with no record to show for it should sit down. Let us give the young ones a chance.
"I assumed office very early. I am very keen for young people to assume office because they will do greater things."
Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) agreed with him, saying he puts in 16 hours everyday in governing Lagos .
"I wonder how many 60-year olds can do that," he said.
Fashola recalled that the Federal Government used to render special assistance to Lagos in health, roads, water, education, and others, saying: "I hope that someday they will restore that old practice."
He praised Alhaji Okunnu on the books, describing him as a community builder, a statesman, an educationist, and a mentor.
The books, he said, should challenge today's leaders to "document the period of their stewardship for succeeding generations."
He thanked Okunnu for intervening and preventing Babangida from carrying out his objectives, saying: "It was that sense of public interest litigation that has helped to protect the heritage of a people."
"Every human endeavour is tied to land. Anything you want to do, you need land," the governor said.
Fashola joked that the school he attended, Igbobi College was better than Kings College , which Okunnu went to.
This, he said ,was because Igbobi College has produced two governors, while Kings College is yet to produce one. This drew general laughter.
Former Lagos Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed launched the book, through Fashola, with N5million. Fashola apologised for his(Tinubu)’s absence.
Guests at the presentation included fomer Defence Minister T.Y Danjuma, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora; former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu; former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Bola Ajibola, Lagos Attorney-General, Olasupo Shasore (SAN); Chief 'Molade Okoya-Thomas, and Ima of Benin, Okhaemwen Akpata; Chief Rasaq Okoya, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas
Others were Lagos Police Commissioner, Marvel Akpoyibo; Ambassador Oladapo Fafowora; Mr Tunji Bello; Mr Layi Bembe, and Mr Justin Emmanuel.