Lagos sets up task force to go after omo onile

Adeniji Kazeem

The Lagos State Government on Monday set up a task force to check the menace of land-grabbing in the State, just at it vowed to tackle the activities of land grabbers popularly called omo onile with the full deployment of resources of government and applicable law once and for all.

Speaking while inaugurating the task force, the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem, said the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is determined to apply the full weight of the law to permanently address the issue, adding that the havoc and unrest being caused by land grabbers was no longer acceptable.

He said henceforth, anybody who uses threat of arms or physical threat to dispossess people of their legitimate property will be treated as criminals in accordance with Sections 52, 53 and 281 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

The commissioner said it was noteworthy that Section 281 of the criminal law included land as things capable of being stolen, while Sections 52 and 53 of the law prescribe a jail term of two years for any person who forcibly enters or takes possession of land in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace against a person entitled by law to the possession of the land.

According to Kazeem: “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.

“Furthermore, the need to protect investors and maintain law and order also led to the setting up of the Committee. This, by implication, will encourage the verification of legal claims through litigation rather than resorting to violence.”