HC Deb 23 March 1910 vol 15 c1035

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he was aware that the natives recently removed from their homes and holdings in the vicinity of the racecourse at Lagos were only removed under the presence and menace of the military; whether the dispossessed natives were obliged in consequence to wander about the country homeless; whether these natives have been compensated for ejectment; and, if so, how many, and to what extent?

Colonel SEELY

The Secretary of State has received no information for many months past on this subject, but without definite proof to the contrary he cannot admit that there is any ground for the allegations of harsh treatment implied in the question of my hon. Friend. The policy of the Government of Southern Nigeria has been, as stated by me in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the member for Orkney and Shetland on the 4th of May, 1908, to give every consideration to the claims of the natives whom it was found necessary to expropriate. I stated on that occasion that liberal compensation was being awarded. I am now able to supply the actual figures. The area affected amounted to seven acres, most of which is described as "barren, destitute, and unfenced," and containing only 59 buildings of any description. The compensation awarded amounts to £13,347 in all, of which £5,316 is for land—a rate of over £750 per acre—and the remainder for buildings. The principle adopted was to give, as compensation for compulsory purchase, 20 per cent, additional to the value of land, and 10 per cent, to the value of buildings. The number of claimants compensated was ninety-two, and I may say that in order to avoid any reasonable ground of complaint, the local government agreed to a scale of compensation which appeared to err, if anything, on the side of generosity.