The Lagos State Government has arrested 19 suspected land grabbers for offences bothering on trespassing, illegal occupation, forceful land takeover and prevention of lawful entry by violence in connection with a land situated at Plot 1Block II, Ogudu Phase II Government Residential Scheme in Kosofe Local Government Area.
Officials of the Lagos State Special Taskforce on Land Grabbers (LSSTFLG).
Lagos State Attorney General and Chairman of the Special Task Force on Land Grabbers, Mr. Moyo Onigbanjo, SAN who confirmed the arrest on Thursday said 18 male and one female were arrested in an operation by officials of the LSSTFLG, led by the Coordinator, Mr. Owolabi Arole and police men attached to State Taskforce on Environment and Special Offences Enforcement Unit.
He disclosed that the arrested persons had been handed over to State Taskforce on Environment and Special Offences Enforcement Unit for prosecution at the Special Offences Court on three count charges bothering on land grabbing.
“This arrest is culmination of investigation carried out by the Special Taskforce on Land Grabbers on a petition submitted by Harmonious Attorneys on behalf Mr. Ade Bamtefa; the petitioner and claimant of the land. On receiving the petition, officials of the State Special Taskforce swung into action.
“Both parties were invited for a meeting to establish the veracity or otherwise of the petition. It was however discovered from our findings that the arrested persons result to self-help by not only trespassing on the land which had been cordoned-off with a ‘Keep off’ inscription pending conclusion of investigation but had also started erecting structures on the land. This is unacceptable and contrary to some sections the Property Protection Law, 2016,” Onigbanjo stated.
The Commissioner, while noting that Special Taskforce on Land Grabbers had been re-energized to receive petitions and conduct proper investigation concerning any case of land grabbing, frowned at the alarming rate at which land grabbers prevented persons or entity from acquiring legitimate interest and possession of property acquired, especially on Government Residential Schemes.
“Government Residential Schemes are planned scheme documented under law which ordinarily shouldn’t be subject to cases of land grabbing and illegal occupation but this current trends of having land grabbers encroached on land under government schemes is unacceptable and will be treated seriously like other cases of land grabbing,” he said.
Onigbanjo, while urging members of the public to bring to the notice of the Taskforce any issue or bordering on land grabbing by addressing a petition to his office or calling the following numbers: 09096667123,09020085005, warned all land grabbers to desist from their illegal activities, stressing that the Lagos State Government is poised to rid them off the State.
“Legitimate land and property owners in the State are advised to perfect title documents as well as all other legal documents pertaining to their lands and properties as this will help dissuade land grabbers from their illicit trade and ensure easy administration of justice in the event that such properties are forcefully taken,” he said.