The law of native title to land and compensation for compulsory acquisition (The Nigerian case of the Diobus of Port Harcourt)
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This thesis evaluates the native title of the Diobus and adequacy of compensation paid for the acquisition of Port Harcourt in 1913 for public purposes by the British colonial administration. The amount is disputed as not commensurate with the compulsory sacrifice made. This study utilizes the pre- and post-independence legal developments in Nigeria and other countries to elucidate the above. References are also made to legal literature and authors' opinions in newspapers to tap public responses to Diobu land-related rights. The applicable criteria and quantum paid in other jurisdictions are articulated to serve as comparative benchmarks in an attempt to redress the perceived injustice. The transplant into Nigeria, of a regime of compensation whereby the expropriated owners are given a stake in the business located on their land, is advocated to emulate Indian legislation whereby the owners who are compelled to part with their land must be co-opted as shareholders in the enterprises. In addition, the Indian model provides solatium monetary payments beyond the actual damages. This appears most suitable transformative social justice oriented criteria for the reassessment of compensation payable to the Diobus and future acquisitions in order to rebuild the economic livelihood of the expropriated landowners to ensure regular sources of income for their subsistence comparable to what is obtainable in other jurisdictions. The above is the most suitable way to fill the deficiencies noticeable and remedy the injustices of the past regime as it affects the Diobus who are resisting their landlessness and have become restive over what they classify as insufficient compensation dictated by the dominant bargaining power of the colonial government. The repeal of the Land Use Act is advocated because of its inability to operate in a capitalist economy. A modernized Public Land Acquisition Act modeled along the proposed reform is advocated.
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