Lagos to depose monarchs over land grabbing

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos

Traditional rulers found to be involved in forcefully dispossessing people of their legitimate rights to landed properties in Lagos State now risk being removed from office.

This comes as the state government is fully ready to enforce the Properties Protection bill that was recently signed into law.

The Attorney General of the state, Mr Adeniji Kazeem said government would no longer allow illegal levies at project sites especially when structures were at foundation, roofing and fencing levels.

“Government is not oblivious of the fact that some of the land grabbers (popularly known as  Omo- Oniles or Ajagungbales)were being sponsored by highly placed members of the society including traditional rulers, any of such people who encourage or connive with these land grabbers to perpetrate their illegal activities would be made to face the full wrath of the law,” Mr Adeniji explained.

The Attorney General said the Properties Protection Law sought to reduce to the barest minimum the activities of persons or corporate entities that use force and intimidation to dispossess or prevent any person or entity from acquiring legitimate interest and possession of property acquired through State Government or Private transactions.

Special Task Force
“The law will also ensure that the Special Task Force on Land Grabbers set up by the Governor under my office, works with all security agencies to ensure enforcement of State Government and Private property rights in the State and ensure proper coordination of the efforts of the various agencies of government charged with enforcing the State Government’s rights over land in Lagos,” he reiterated.

While making specific reference to some provisions of the law, Adeniji explained that “Section 2(1) states that as from the commencement of the law, no one shall use force or self-help to take over any landed property or engage in any act inconsistent with the proprietary right of the owner in the State.

“Furthermore, subsection 2(two) states that persons who have used force to take over the properties of others and still do so after 3 months from the date of commencement of the law commit an offence. Anyone who commits such offence is liable to ten (10) years imprisonment.”

“Also, anyone without lawful authority who applies threats or violence to secure entry into any landed property for personal use commits an offence. Furthermore, by virtue of section 3(4), anyone who uses fire arms or offensive weapons or is in any way armed or wounds anyone while committing the act of forced entry is liable to 4(four) years imprisonment,” he said.

The Lagos state governor Akinwunmi Ambode on the 15th of August, signed the Properties Protection bill into law, stipulating 21 years jail term for convicts.

Confidence O.