LASG Warns Against Use Of Landgrabbers, Violence In Property Disputes

LASG Warns Against Use Of Landgrabbers, Violence In Property Disputes

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The Lagos State Government, on Thursday, warned residents with land disputes against resorting to self-help by contracting land grabbers to perpetrate violence.

The State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, gave the warning at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the State government in Ikorodu with the theme: “Land Grabbers, the Law, and Your rights”.

His words: “All we are saying is that no one should resort to self-help on disputes, there are laws in place and violence will never be condoned in the settling of disputes in land matters”.

“The Court of Law is accessible by any aggrieved resident. All residents must learn to uphold the rule of law rather than resorting to self-help, which leads to the killing and maiming of people all in the name of land disputes. This will not be tolerated”.

The Commissioner, represented at the forum by Mr. Saheed Quadri, the Director Advisory Services in the Ministry, noted that the government enacted the Lagos State Property Protection Law to prohibit forceful entry and illegal occupation of landed property, as well as violent and fraudulent conduct in land matters.

While accusing some traditional leaders and community members of working as accomplices to the perpetrators, Quadri called for restraint from all parties.

On his part, the Coordinator of the Lagos State Special Taskforce on Land Grabbers, Mr. Owolabi Arole, said the use of land grabbers to perpetrate violence and killings over property has contributed to the stifled property development in the Ikorodu division.

Arole disclosed that the Taskforce has received over 5,000 petitions since its establishment in 2016 and that majority of these disputes emanate from Ikorodu.

A Muslim Cleric and Grand Imam of Oriwu Central Mosque in Ikorodu, Yaya Oshoala, in his contribution, indicted lawyers, police, and traditional leaders of complicity in violence emanating from land grabbing incidents in the area.

Oshoala maintained that land grabbers in Ikorodu should not be solely blamed for illegal land acquisition as some bad eggs in law enforcement agencies also collaborate with other elements in the community to engage in illegal land grabbing.

“There is injustice on the part of some family elders and the Baales (traditional chiefs) due to their greed and selfish interests. We rely on the Police but they sometimes let us down, these landgrabbers collude with them to subvert justice”, he said.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, represented by the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Mr. Oladotun Odubona, said that land grabbing could not be done without the support of conspirators within.

He exonerated the Police from the allegations of conspiring with land grabbers, saying that the job of the Police is to arrest, investigate and prosecute, adding that anything done outside that is beyond the scope of Police work.

However, the representative of the Ikorodu branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Shakiru Omolaja, reiterated that Section 11 of the Lagos State Property Protection Law, 2016, prescribes 10 years imprisonment for anyone convicted of land grabbing and advised aggrieved parties to seek legal redress.

Omolaja implored members of the community to respect the rule of law with regards to land disputes instead of resorting to violence, saying “Law is a respecter of no person”.

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