The Lagos State Government has said it is poised to dethrone any traditional ruler who engaged in land grabbing and other illegal activities in the state.
This was just as it charged Lagosians to report to the appropriate authorities in the state for prompt action, any land grabber terrorising them on their lands.
Coordinator, Lagos State Task Force on Land Grabbing, Mr. Jide Bakare, disclosed this at a sensitisation programme on the Lagos State Properties Protection Law 2016, organised by the Office of Civic Engagement.
Bakare, while speaking at the event attended by obas, baales and chiefs from across the state, said it was clearly stated in the law that any traditional ruler who engaged in illegal activities, including grabbing would be dethroned.
The Task Force boss, who clarified that the state Law as far back as 1978 specifically stated that monarchs were rulers over their people and not over the land, disclosed that some high profile land grabbers had been arrested and were being currently prosecuted.
He, however, assured that the state government was determined to ensure that people who acquired properties were protected from activities of land grabbers.
Special Adviser, Office of Civic Engagement, Mr. Kehinde Joseph, said before now, property acquisition in the state was a nightmare, adding that acquiring land from land holding families, communities and individuals was fraught with fear and uncertainty.
“People could not be sure of safety of their properties as forceful takeover and fraudulent conduct became the order of the day. The ‘Omo Onile’ syndrome sydrome was wide spread,” He lamented.
According to him, many communities were also affected as they were ransacked and properties wantonly destroyed, saying government acquired land were equally not spared in the midst of such impunity.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that a lot of people lost their lives as a result of this brigandage. People were denied the enjoyment of their property which they acquired through their hard-earned money,” He said.
Joseph said the above scenarios informed the reason why the State Properties Protection Law was passed by the State House of Assembly and signed into law by the governor in 2016.
To ensure the effectiveness of the law, he said Governor Akinwunmi Ambode set up the Task Force on Land Grabbing to deal with actions of individuals or groups that might be on the wrong side of the law.
“As citizens, it is our civic responsibility to obey the law as ignorance of the law is no excuse. The state will not hesitate to wield the big stick against law breakers as such people are undesirable in our communities. Our people deserve to live peacefully and enjoy their property. Anything short of this is not acceptable to the Lagos State government,” He warned.
Joseph, therefore, appealed to land owners in the state to take advantage of the reforms on perfecting title documents of land in the state, saying it was easier and faster now to obtain these documents.