The Bayelsa Government has intervened and peacefully resolved the land dispute between some claimants and the Nigerian Navy in Agudama-Epie community of the state.
The committee set up to look into the issue submitted the report to Gov. Douye Diri in Yenagoa on Monday.
Receiving the report, the governor stated that available facts showed that the navy was the rightful owner of the land in dispute.
Diri stated that the land in question was sold to the Nigerian navy by Rear Adm. Porbeni and that the security agency was the rightful occupier of the land.
“Clearly, the Nigerian Navy had no other contender to the land.
“Maybe the only person who would have had issues with the navy would have been retired Rear Admiral Festus Porbeni who sold it. So, the Nigerian navy did not commit any offence.
“Going forward, before you purchase land, visit the Ministry of Lands and Housing. Lawyers say that ignorance of offence is no excuse under the law.
“What you did was to buy a land that had already been bought by the navy and in the process you slowed down their pace of development,” the governor told the claimants.
Diri commended the committee headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Konbowei Benson, for carrying out the assignment and described it as a good job.
He said the government intervention had prevented a bloodbath.
The governor added: “We would have had a bloodbath but the work of the committee averted that.
“We are here not just receiving the report. Actually, the report is that there was no dispute between the navy and those who bought the land without first ascertaining if it was encumbered.
He further commended the navy for its patience during the period of the committee’s work and said the government was committed to the peaceful co-existence of residents of the state.
The governor lauded the presumed landlords for not taking the law into their hands, but reporting the issue to government for necessary action.
On the former claimants’ appeal for compensation, Diri said it would be looked into administratively and a decision communicated to them through the ministry of lands.
In his remarks, the secretary to the state government said the committee found out that the land belonged to the navy.
Benson however said that the committee, as part of its recommendations, appealed to the governor to support the former claimants to relocate.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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