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A Law to make provision for payment of compensation in respect of damage caused by riots.

(15th May, 1958)



Powers of the Governor

  1. Compensation for damage caused by riots

Where any house or other building has been damaged or destroyed, or any property or article has been damaged, stolen or destroyed, by any persons riotously or unlawfully assembled together, compensation shall be payable in such manner as is hereinafter provided by this Law, to any person who has sustained loss by such damage, stealing or destruction.

  1. Riot area

Where a riot or unlawful assembly has occurred, either wholly or partly, within a Local Government Area, the Governor may by order declare that Local Government area (or part of it) to be a riot area.

  1. Powers of the Governor

(1)      The Governor may by order direct the recovery from the persons resident or owning property in a riot area of—

(a)      the amount of all assessed damage (or such proportion of it as he may deem fit) in that area; and

(b)      the expenditure incurred by the Government of the State in suppressing the riot or unlawful assembly by which the damage was caused.

(2)      A certificate under the hand of the State Commissioner shall be conclusive as to the amount of the expenditure referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section:

Provided that the Governor may in any case by order direct that such expenditure shall be deemed to be such percentage of the total amount of the assessed damage as he may specify.

  1. Further powers of the Governor

(1)      The Governor may, either generally with regard to any damage caused in a riot area, or particularly with regard to any special damage so caused, by order, give directions in respect of all or any of the matters following—

(a)      the assessment of damages;

(b)      the apportionment of the amount recoverable in respect of damage among the persons resident or owning property in such area;

(c)      the classification of persons for the purpose of such apportionment;

(d)      the dates upon which the sums recoverable in respect of damage shall be paid and the instalments, if any, in which they shall be paid;

(e)      generally with respect to the exercise of the powers and the performance of the duties of the Commissioner under this Law.

(2)      The Governor may exempt any class of persons from liability to pay compensation under this Law, or may direct that special terms shall be provided for any class of persons, or may exempt any specified part of a riot area from liability.

  1. Liability in case where damage is caused by inhabitants of area other than riot area

(1)      Where compensation is payable under the provisions of this Law in respect of damage caused by a riot or unlawful assembly and the Governor is satisfied that persons taking part in such riot or unlawful assembly are resident in an area other than the area in which the riot or unlawful assembly occurred, he may declare the first mentioned area to be liable for the damage caused by the riot or unlawful assembly.

(2)      The provisions of subsections (1) and (2) of section 3, sections 4 and 7, and Parts 4 and 5 shall apply to an area declared under subsection (1) of this section in the same manner as if such area were a riot area.

(3)      A declaration in accordance with subsection (1) of this section shall be made by order and shall contain a description of the declared area.


Appointment, duties and powers of Commissioners

  1. Appointment of Commissioners

(1)      For the purpose of assessing any damage caused by riot or unlawful assembly and of awarding compensation in respect thereof, the Governor may appoint a Commissioner or Commissioners (in this Law referred to as “the Commissioner”) with such powers and duties as are specified in this Law.

(2)      Notwithstanding the provisions of this Law, any person who has sustained loss by suing for damages in any court of competent jurisdiction and any amount recovered as a damage, stealing or destruction as specified in section 3 of this Law shall be at liberty to result of such legal claims or by way of insurance shall be deducted from compensation awarded under this Law.

  1. Duties of the Commissioner

It shall be the duty of the Commissioner—

(a)      to ascertain by personal inquiry the amount of the damage in respect of which compensation is payable;

(b)      to report the amount of damage to the State Commissioner;

(c)      to allot compensation to any person who has satisfied the Commissioner as to the validity of his claim.

  1. Powers of the Commissioner

(1)      The Commissioner shall have and exercise the following—

(a)      all the powers of a magistrate conferred by any Law of the State for the purpose of summoning witnesses and enforcing the attendance of persons, the production of documents, the administration of oaths, the issue of search warrants and any other powers appertaining to a magistrate under any such Law which may reasonably be required for the discharge of his duties;

(b)      the power to call upon any persons to declare on oath the amount of any damage which he claims to have sustained;

(c)      the power to call upon any person to furnish to him in such form as he may demand a full return in writing of all movable and immovable property which such person possesses, and his total annual income from all sources.

(2)      Any person who, without reasonable excuse, the proof of which shall be upon him, within such time as may be fixed by the Commissioner for the purpose refuses or neglects to furnish to the Commissioner any return demanded by the Commissioner under paragraph (c) of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of sixty naira or imprisonment for three months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

  1. Protection of the Commissioner

The Commissioner shall not be liable, either civilly or criminally, in respect of anything which he may have done or may have omitted to do, when acting in good faith, in pursuance of his duties and powers under this Law.


Assessment of Compensation

  1. Notice of assessment

(1)      Before assessing any damage, the Commissioner shall give notice in such manner as may be prescribed by order made under section 4 of this Law, or in the absence of such order in such manner as he may deem appropriate, either generally with reference to damage in the riot area or part thereof, or particularly with reference to any specified premises, stating—

(a)      the time and place at which he proposes to hold his inquiry;

(b)      the manner in which claims for compensation shall be presented to him;

(c)      a date (being not less than one month from the date of the notice) beyond which no claims for compensation will be entertained.

(2)      No claim for compensation which is presented after the date fixed in any notice given in the last preceding subsection shall be entertained by the Commissioner unless, upon good cause being shown, he shall otherwise order.

(3)      If any claimant is aggrieved by a refusal of the Commissioner to make an order under the provisions of subsection (2) of this section, he may petition the State Commissioner who may direct that such an order shall be made by the Commissioner.

  1. Conflicting claims

In any case where the Commissioner receives notice that two or more persons make conflicting claims to be entitled to compensation in respect of any damage which it is his duty to assess, he shall serve upon each of the claimants a notice requiring him to take such steps as may be necessary to obtain a decision of the Court on the matter at issue between them, and shall, pending such decision, assess the damage in question subject thereto.

  1. Assessment to be conclusive

Any assessment of damage made by the Commissioner in accordance with the provisions of this Law shall be conclusive as to the amount of such damage:

Provided that the State Commissioner may in any case direct a re-assessment.


Liability of Local Government

  1. Charge upon revenue of a Local Government

(1)      In any case where a Local Government Area (or part thereof) has been declared a riot area the Commissioner shall, upon completion of the assessment under Part 4 of this Law, furnish particulars to the Local Government concerned, specifying—

(a)      the premises, property or article upon which the assessment is made;

(b)      the amount of the assessment in each case;

(c)      the person to whom compensation is due.

(2)      Any sum directed to be recovered under the provisions of section 3 of this Law from the persons resident or owning property in a riot area in a Local Government Area shall be a charge upon the revenue of the Local Government of such Local Government Area.

  1. A Local Government may frame a scheme

(1)      A Local Government may frame and submit to the State Commissioner a scheme for the liquidation of the charge imposed upon its revenue under section 13.

(2)      Every such scheme shall be subject to the approval of the State Commissioner, and any scheme so approved shall be published in The State of Nigeria Gazette and shall have effect as is enacted in this Law.

(3)      A scheme under this section may provide for the recovery of the amount charged upon the revenue of the Local Government by means of—

(a)      the levying of a rate of any tenements within the riot area assessed in accordance with the Local Government Law; or

(b)      the levying of a rate upon the income of any of the inhabitants of the riot area; or

(c)      the levying of a rate upon any person of over the age of sixteen within the riot area; or

(d)      any combination of any of the above methods; or

(e)      any other method approved by the Commissioner.

(4)      A scheme under this section may provide for all or any of the following matters—

(a)      the exemption of any area or class of persons from the operation of the scheme, and the grant of special terms to any class of persons;

(b)      the liquidation of the charge upon the revenue of the Local Government by instalments; and

(c)      any other matter which in the opinion of the Commissioner may be necessary or desirable for the purpose of the scheme.

  1. Certain provisions of Local Government Law to apply

The provisions of the Local Government Law shall apply with respect to any rate levied under this Law.

  1. Supplementary scheme

A Local Government may frame and submit to the Commissioner a supplementary scheme for the amendment of any scheme in force with respect to its area and all the provisions of sections 14 and 15 of this Law shall apply to such supplementary scheme.

  1. Local Government not to raise loan

It shall not be lawful for any Local Government on whose revenue any charge is imposed under this Part to raise a loan for the purpose of fulfilling its functions under this Law, anything in the Local Government Law notwithstanding.


Payment of compensation

  1. Riot damages fund

In the case of any riot or unlawful assembly in respect of which this Law is applied there shall be established a fund, to be called the “Riot Damages Fund” and to be kept by the Accountant-General and there shall be paid into such fund—

(a)      the amounts payable by a Local Government in accordance with section 13 of this Law; and

(b)      all fines or other sums collected in connection with the said riot or unlawful assembly which the Commissioner may direct to be so credited.

  1. Payment of compensation and expenses

(1)      There shall be paid out of the Riot Damages Fund all sums payable in respect of compensation, and any other sums of account of expenses incurred in connection with the said riot or unlawful assembly which the Governor may direct to be so paid.

(2)      Payments of compensation or instalments thereof shall be made by the Accountant- General upon the authority of the Commissioner, at such time, in such manner and in such instalments as the Commissioner may determine.

(3)      Before authorising any payment of compensation the Commissioner may require any person claiming to be entitled to satisfy him that he is so entitled.

(4)      In the case of conflicting claims payment shall be withheld until the matter at issue between the claimants has been finally determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.

  1. Subsequent claims barred

No subsequent claim shall be entertained in respect of any damage, stealing or destruction, for which compensation has been paid by the Accountant-General upon the authority of the Commissioner.



  1. Interpretation

In this Law—

“assessed damage” means damage assessed by the Commissioner;

“Commissioner” means the State Commissioner for the time being charged with responsibility for finance;

“Local Government Area” means the area of authority of a Local Government;

“Local Government” means a local government established or deemed to have been established under the Local Government Law;

“riot area” means an area declared as such in accordance with section 4;

“the State” means Cross River State of Nigeria.

  1. Short title

This Law may be cited as the Riot Damages Law.





No Subsidiary Legislation


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