Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has signed into law the anti-land grabbing bill which stipulates a 10-year jail term for anyone caught in the act.
Prior to criminalising the act, land grabbing, otherwise known as “Omo-onile”, is common amongst Lagosians, where mostly non-indigenes are disposed of their legitimate properties or asked to pay certain fees before commencing work on their lands.
The Governor also signed into law, the state Neighborhood Safety Corps Law which he says will help reduce criminal activities and improve security of lives and property in communities and all 20 Local Government Areas in the state.
Ambode said the laws were vital to “safeguarding the lives of all residents, as well as attracting, growing investments and improving the ease of doing business in the State.”
He added that the state government “has now created a legal framework to put some form of communal protection in place to boost and support the great job the Nigeria Police is presently doing.”
He noted also that the safety corps would assist other security agencies in the state to “maintain law and order across the communities. The Neighbourhood Safety Agency will be established to register all private home security and any other person employed for private home security, amongst other things.”
Present during the signing of the two laws by Ambode at the State House were Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, Chief Judge of the State, Justice Funmilayo Atilade and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem among others.
Kazeem said “in recent years, land grabbers have caused havoc and unrest in different parts of the State by dispossessing legitimate land-owners of their properties thereby stifling commercial activities in the State.
“It is therefore important that the State Government not only indentifies the effects of the problems being perpetrated by these unscrupulous elements on commercial activities and peace of the citizenry but also finds lasting solutions to the menace. That is the reasoning behind the set-up of this Task Force,” the state Attorney General added.