All over the world, the case of urban marginal lands has been a source of controversy between the urban poor, indigenous people and the government. One of the Cardinal objectives of any informed government is the provision of social services, security and infrastructure for the citizenry. The urban poor or indigenous people sees the marginal lands as abandoned and useless to the authorities and cheap for them to develop and inhabit. More often, inhabitants of these areas are menial workers, civil servants, petty traders who can not afford the exorbitant rents paid in the city centers. These areas are usually characterized by high crime rate, lack of planning, lack of basic amenities, diseases etc. Hence, it behoves on any government to change the physical appearance of this areas by improving on the planning and provision of infrastructure to make life meaningful to the dwellers This has often been misunderstood by the indigenous people or urban poor to mean a deliberate ploy to disposses them of the land and render them homeless. These fears are sometimes genuine because previous exercises ended with these lands given to the rich and political class after improvements have been done on them by the government The Port Harcourt City scenerio are typical of the above. Port Harcourt has well over 45 water front communities which the government has indicated interest to acquire and develop for social and economic reasons. Two Case studies are chosen from Nigeria and South Africa. This paper looks critically at the problems associated with the effort to recover these lands from the urban poor and aborigines for development by government.