The Lagos State Government on Monday said it would fully enforce the anti-land grabbing law against anyone found wanting, no matter how highly placed in the society.
It said it would not allow anyone forcefully collecting money for foundation, roofing and fencing, among others.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, said in a statement in Lagos that the government would enforce the law to the letter, no matter whose ox is gored.
Kazeem said that the state government was not oblivious of the fact that some of those involved in the practice were being sponsored by highly placed members of the society, including traditional rulers.
He said that any of such people” who encourage or connive with `Omo-Oniles or Ajagungbales’ to perpetrate their illegal activities will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“We will not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone who forcefully dispossesses people of their legitimate rights to land,’’ the commissioner said.
He reiterated that the Properties Protection Law, signed by Ambode on Aug.15, seeks to check such excesses and offenders would face the consequence of their actions based on provisions of the law.
“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.
“Regardless of if the entry is lawful, it does not give a right to use threats or violence and anyone who commits the offence shall be liable to 10 (ten) years imprisonment.
“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.
Ambode, while signing the law, said it was central to his administration’s focus of safeguarding the lives of all residents.
He said it would help to attract, grow investments and improve the ease of doing business in the state, and marked the end of the road for land grabbers.