Lawyers and human rights activists have raised their voices against the rampant land grabbing activities plaguing Lagos and other parts of Nigeria. In a joint statement, the Lawyers for Reform Group (LRG) and the Centre for Human and Socio-economic Rights (CHSR) urged the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to take decisive action to curb these illegal practices.
The groups highlighted the devastating impact of land grabbing, which has displaced countless individuals and communities, often through violence and intimidation. They pointed to the Land Use Act of 1978 as a root cause of the problem, arguing that its ambiguity and outdated provisions have created fertile ground for exploitation.
To address the issue, the LRG and CHSR proposed a multi-pronged approach. They called for a comprehensive review of the Land Use Act, emphasizing the need for a more transparent and equitable system of land management. Additionally, they advocated for the establishment of a Special Anti-Land Grabbing and Fraud Task Force Unit within the Nigeria Police Force.
The proposed task force would be equipped with specialized training in forensic investigations to identify and prosecute land grabbers effectively. The groups also emphasized the importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies, government officials, and community leaders to eradicate land grabbing.
Turning to the Lagos State government, the LRG and CHSR urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to implement stricter land audit regulations. They called for the de-registration of lands acquired through fraudulent means and urged the government to provide compensation to victims of land grabbing.
The CHSR President, Alex Omotehinse, expressed particular concern about the involvement of government officials in land grabbing schemes, highlighting instances where lands have been registered twice under different names. He denounced these corrupt practices and called for swift action to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The LRG and CHSR’s call to action underscores the urgency of addressing the land grabbing crisis in Lagos and Nigeria. Their recommendations, if implemented, could help to protect the rights of property owners and restore order to the land management system. The fight against land grabbing requires a concerted effort from law enforcement, government agencies, and civil society organizations. By working together, they can safeguard the rights of all Nigerians and ensure that land remains a source of security and prosperity, not a tool of exploitation.
Source: Guardian Newspaper