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Cleric Urges Muslim Faithful to Obtain Documentation for Mosques to Avoid Property Forfeiture

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The Chief Imam of Lagos, Sheikh Sulaimon Abu, has urged Muslim communities to have proper documentation of their Mosque property to avoid forfeiting them to government in future.

Abu made the appeal during a one-day sensitisation programme tagged “Mosque Documentation in Lagos State, held in Lagos on Saturday.

He said there were lots of gaps among the Muslim communities concerning the Islamic faith in Lagos.

Abu said that in any place where there was government, there were standards and processes, adding that the Qur’an emphasized on proper documentation of properties.

“In respect of Mosque building, there must be processing such as approval because each state has its own standard, and fore instance in Lagos, there is what we call  Master Plan.

” Before embarking on Mosque building, one must follow the due process by approaching the Ministry of Land for proper advice and information.

“At the divisional level, we are going to create legal units to synergise with the Muslim communities in processing proper documentation of Mosque property,” Abu said.

He also pleaded with Nigerians to stop building houses  that would block water channel, adding that people were being affected by flooding from water blockage.

The chief imam said that flooding was caused by human factor and urged Lagos residents to obey the law of the land to enable them to coexist peacefully in the society.

A legal practitioner in Lagos, with over 30 years experience,  mr Musediq Sanni, said he had discovered  from 13 Mosques, cases he handled in Lagos that they lacked proper documentation.

Sanni who was also the convener of the programme, said that Al Qur’an had stated that when there was a contract, it should be written.

He said that when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) got the first Mosque  land in Medina, he told his disciples that he would pay for the land and write it down.

Sanni said that the sensitisation would continue in all the Muslims divisions in Lagos, to assist them on documentation.

The Chief Judge of Lagos, Mr Kazeem Alogba, who was represented by Chief Registrar, Lagos State Judiciary, Mr Tajudeen Elias, commended the convener for sensitising Lagos clerics to the need to document their land property and Mosque projects.

“It has been unfortunate that have been happening of recent where people are not having proper documentation by not complying with the physical planning directive of Lagos State.

” This sensitisation will further reduce incidents of demolition of illegal lands,”Alogba said.

He advised property owners to get proper documentation and also to comply with Lagos State Law to avoid loss of property.

The former Special Adviser on Communication to the ex-Governor of Lagos, Mr Hakeem Bello, said according to Sanni,  that many mosque property being given to communities had been collected by deceased relations due to  improper documentation.

Bello said that the programme was to enlighten the Muslim communities on how to document property, to avoid forfeiture.

He said Mr Sanni’s efforts were  to enable Lagos Muslim communities to realise the provisions of the Constitution that required citizens to comply with the law.

 Bello urged property owners to do proper documentation according to the law to avoid loss in future.

One of the lecturers, Alhaji Olawale Ojikutu of Land Bureau, said that land and property were most significant assets of any individual or group, adding that many societies had introduced individual and collective control over land.

He said that land provided major source of conflicts in urban and rural societies around the world, adding that land created feud among families and neighbours which could be traced back to conflicting claims over inheritance, boundaries and rights.

Ojikutu said that land property was a legal document that served as evidence for ownership of landed properties which also gave the ownership right to control how land would be used.

“Various land ownership structure had existed in Nigeria before and after the independence in 1960.

“The current policy instrument guiding land allocation and ownership was promulgated on the  26th March 1978 as Land Use Act, embedded in the constitution of the country.

” The land use act  1978, it must be said, has not destroyed or fundamentally altered the concept of land ownership in Nigeria that was in existence before its promulgation in 1978,” Ojikutu said.

He mentioned some requirements for Certificate of Occupancy such as duly completed application, survey plan, and application letter addressed to the Executive Secretary, Land Use and Allocation Committee.

A General Practitioner, Muhammed Iskil Lawal, said all Mosques built belonged to Allah, adding that God said in Qur’an that who ever built mosque for Him that He had built house for such person in paradise.

Lawal said that one third of deceased property could be given to relations, communities and wife if the property owner stated in the will before the demise of the owner.

A lawyer, Shakirullah Obale, expressed the need for mosque documentation for proper ownership, adding that he had attended to five mosque matters.

He added that after the demise of the owners,  that beneficiaries  usually came to claim ownership.

“Most of the Mosques being donated to communities have no proper documentation. Mosque is a landed property in respect of structure being put on it.

“For transfer of property, there must be document, such as Deed of Assignment, and without that, nothing has been given.

“The only benefit that persons may have is if the mosque has taken the possession of the property for 12 years, the issue of limitation law can now come in,” Lawal said.

He said that any Church or Mosque property without any documentation could be forfeited, except they had taken over the possession for over 12 years.(NAN).

NEWS

FG Revokes 924 Dormant Mining Licences as Minister Decries Racketeering

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The Federal Government has revoked additional 924 dormant mining licenses.

Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake announced this on Wednesday in Abuja as he decried the racketeering of the issuance of the licences.

He told newsmen that mining licence racketeering was impeding the development of the sector and obstructing genuine investors from showing interest in Nigeria’s mines.

Licences revoked were 528 for exploration; 22 mining leases, 101 quarry licences and 273 small-scale mining licences.

The minister explained that a grace period of 30 days was given to defaulters to rectify their statuses, and to state reasons for dormancy on the sites allocated to them in line with Constitutional provisions.

He said that 963 licences were published in the official gazette of the Federal Government in December 2023 awaiting revocation.

Out of these, only 39 of the listed licence holders responded to the warning as they either moved to site immediately or they stated challenges hindering their operations, he added.

Alake stated that the revocation of the licences was taken to sanitise and reposition the mining sector to boost Nigeria’s economic profile and to accelerate its industrialisation.

He noted that the “first-come, first-served’’ rule in the licencing regime was a disincentive for genuine investors as the rule prohibited issuance of fresh licence on a site already allocated.

The ministry revoked 1,663 mining licences in November 2023 because of failure by licensees to pay statutory charges and other dues to the Federal Government.

Alake said that following the revocation of the 1,663 licences in 2023, government received a lot of pressure to reconsider the punitive measure.

According to him, in response to the pressure, government issued a policy for defaulters to make restitution and show remorse in order to be considered for reinstatement.

He said that the restitution varied depending on the category of licence revoked.

“The highest, which is on mining attracts a restitution N10 million per revoked licence payable to the Federal Government.

“For the small-scale licences, the restitution is N7.5 million for reinstatement and for exploration licence, the restitution is N5 million,’’ Alake said.

The minister warned in his 2024 New Year goodwill message that more mining licences would be revoked for other categories of defaulters.

He warned also that Nigeria’s mining sector would not continue to suffer from low investments because of nefarious activities of individuals who bought licences for promising mine sites only to resell them at the illegal market.

He added that the practice was tarnishing Nigeria’s image and was diverting funds that could be used for exploration to the illegal market to acquire licences at exorbitant prices.

Alake stressed that Nigeria was losing a significant amount of Foreign Direct Investment to the untoward practice. (NAN)

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Sokoto Assembly Adopts Motion to Establish Skills Centre for Displaced Widows

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The Sokoto State House of Assembly, on Wednesday, approved a motion advocating for the establishment of an Educational and Skills Acquisition Centre to support widows displaced by banditry and other security challenges in the state.

The motion, which was moved by Alhaji Abubakar Shehu (APC- Yabo) and seconded by Alhaji Atiku Liman (PDP-Silame), also urged the state government to repurpose the Sultan Maccido Waqf Centre for the initiative.

Shehu highlighted that the Sultan Maccido Waqf Centre, originally established by the State Zakkat and Endowment Commission in collaboration with Qatar Charity Organisations, could serve the purpose effectively.

He stated the importance of empowering widows and their children, emphasising the need to transition them from dependency to self-sufficiency.

“The conversion of the Centre into an Education and Skill Acquisition Centre for widows and children displaced by banditry is crucial to empower them economically and prevent them from becoming liability to the society,” he stated.

The lawmaker expressed concern about the sight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the metropolis, often seen begging without access to economic activities or education.

He said the proposed center would offer training in various skills such as catering, knitting, tailoring, cream making, welding, mechanics, carpentry and building, among others.

Shehu emphasised that funding for the centre should be a joint responsibility of the state government, Zakkat Commission, international donors and individual contributions.

Contributing to the discussion, Alhaji Bello Idris (APC-Gwadabawa North) stressed the importance of conducting a comprehensive census of IDPs in the state to ensure proper support and utilisation of the centre once established.

Following deliberations, Speaker Alhaji Tukur Bala conducted a voice vote, and the motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers. (NAN)

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Undertake Reforms for Functional Justice System – Tinubu Tells Judiciary 

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President Bola Tinubu has called on the nation’s Judiciary to embark on reforms that will ensure functional justice system and support economic growth.

Tinubu gave the charge on Wednesday when he declared open the National Summit on Justice, 2024, held at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja.

Represented by his Vice, Kashim Shettima, the President also emphasised the need for a legal framework that would guarantee basic human and political rights of individuals and provide security for all Nigerians.

According to him, much can be achieved when institutions of government, including the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, unite to acknowledge their challenges and brainstorm.

” This is with a view to proffering solutions to the problems bedeviling Nigeria,” he said.

The President, therefore, urged the judiciary to align its activities within the tenets of his administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

” Particularly as they relate to the priorities on inclusivity, fairness, rule of law, and anti-corruption stance, among other things”.

He said that his administration had pledged to be impartial and adhere to constitutional principles.

Tinubu said that the Summit availed institutions in the justice sector “with an opportunity to push boundaries by identifying needed system changes and critical reforms that would allow Nigerians to reap the benefits of huge investments in the sector.”

He explained that the Federal Government was determined to implement its policies and promises made to Nigerians for a renewed hope, through the instrumentality of the “law and the dictates of justice to create opportunities for our people.”

President Tinubu said that his administration made funding for the third arm of government a top priority, doubling it in the Renewed Hope budget 2024 by more that 100 per cent from 2023, budget.

” I urge the leadership of all justice sector institutions to seek a new direction and focus on outcomes by creating a justice system that truly responds to the needs of our citizens.

” I demand informed and coordinated responses to the identified challenges plaguing the effectiveness and efficiency of the sector.

” I demand performance so that Nigerians can feel and acknowledge the impact of your reform efforts.

“;Ultimately, the expectations are that law and justice should aim to ensure public safety, economic development, peaceful co-existence, and the well-being of our people.”

Earlier, the President of Senate, Godswill Akpabio commended the commitment of all stakeholders in the justice sector in building a consensus that would ensure a more robust judicial system.

He underscored the commitment of the National Assembly to a more vibrant and transformative justice system

He assured that the legislature would play its part by deliberating on the outcome of the summit in a bid to enshrine the outcomes into law.

On his part, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Okukayode Ariwoola, said giving the high expectations from the judiciary, undertaking a holistic reform of the sector had become necessary.

He noted that constitutional, statutory and operational reforms in the justice sector was imperative in meeting the aspirations and yearnings of the general public.

The CJN attributed most of the achievements recorded in the judiciary to the support of Tinubu administration, particularly in the enhancement of the welfare of judicial officers and improvement in their working environment.

In the same vein, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Lateef Fagbemi, emphasised the significance of the revised draft national policy on justice.

He noted that building a national consensus on the advancement of the justice sector has become necessary. (NAN)

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