Acting Oyo State Governor Bayo Lawal said land grabbing would no longer be tolerated in the state as violators now face up to 15 years in prison as punishment.
A statement by the governor’s chief press secretary, Taiwo Adisa, on Sunday quotes the acting governor as saying this during the inauguration of the Oyo State Property Law Task Force Unit. in Ibadan.
Lawal added that those who aid and abet land grabbers will also not go unpunished, saying the state is ready to eradicate the threat of land grabbing.
Lawal said Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration placed high priority on peace, order and safety of life and property in the state. He added that he would spare no effort in his determination to maintain peace and security.
Lawal said the law would protect the rights of landowners, while stopping the harmful activities of land dealers, who he said deliberately and violently grab people’s land.
“It is therefore worrying that landowners are now bothered daily by the uncontrolled activities of land grabbers.
“Hence the urgency to tackle this threat head-on by controlling and deterring it properly.
“It is against this backdrop that the Protection of Immovable Property Act 2016 was enacted. However, the law did not come into effect due to the fact that the task force unit, which is the operational unit of the law, did not exist.
“Today, by demonstrating the political will of His Excellency, Engr. Seyi Makinde Administration, the operational and central law unit is going to be inaugurated.
“The inauguration of this task force unit further underscores this administration’s recognition that its core business is economic growth and the maintenance of law and order, consistent with its four cardinal objectives.
“Land grabbing will no longer be tolerated in Oyo State and by law land grabbers can now be imprisoned for up to 15 years, while those who aid and abet them will not be not unscathed either.
“In setting up this Taskforce, we took into consideration public and private actors in land management and the security service.
“The task force will be led by a retired Oyo State High Court Judge, His Lordship, Honorable Justice OI Aiki, a jurist of high standing.
“Members of the public and private bar of the Nigerian Bar Association are included, while civil servants from relevant ministries, departments and agencies as well as the Institute of Property Surveyors and Appraisers are all included.”
In her response, the Task Force Chair, Justice Olajumoke Aiki (Retired), who spoke on behalf of the committee, pledged to protect the rights of landowners, prohibit illegal occupation and violent and fraudulent behavior regarding real estate in Oyo State.