Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

OBINNA EZUGWU

Rights activist and former Second Vice president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani has called on Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to check the resurgence of land grabbers in the state.

Ubani who made the call to the governor in a statement on Wednesday, pointed out that the trend of land grabbing and crimes associated with private land transactions seem to be re-awakened in the state.

He noted that  since the coming on board of Sanwo-Olu  as the governor of Lagos, there have been a resurgence of land grabbers and thuggery all over the state.

“Last Monday some notorious land grabbers with thugs and armed mobile policemen on illegal duty invaded my client’s property in Opebi, Ikeja Lagos State employing self help to enforce a purported Supreme court judgement delivered in 1995 that has no bearing to the land in question. My prompt petition to AIG zone 2 put them in check. They took the illegal invasion/possession with no court sheriffs or officials raising serious suspicion of its illegality,” Ubani said.

“They have started to re-surveying and at the same putting borehole water on the site before they were repelled by arrest and undertaking to maintain status quo until the AIG look into the matter to avoid breakdown of law and order.

“The story is that several lands which have been invaded in similar fashion are nearing completion by way of building as they have taken complete possession of the said lands and commenced development.

“The Supreme court judgement and Form “O” they are brandishing  about have no bearing with the land in question. The Form “O” which is evidence that they have previously executed warrant of possession was specific about the address which the execution took place but as usual with these land grabbers they are re-writing the judgement of the court to extend to areas not mentioned at all by the said judgement.”

The Lagos based lawyer regretted that the land grabbers are always ready to compromise every government policy, while working with investors who fund their nefarious activities.

“The land grabbers work in concert with “investors” who put down money in millions  for them for the “fight”. They forge court documents, survey, including certificate of occupancies. Those forged documents are ensured to appear genuine through compromising the land registry, survey dept and the judiciary,” he added.

Speaking on the new case he is handling on land grabbing, he said he suspected that the surveyors he saw on the land after the invasion are people from the Lagos Department of Survey who are doing illegal jobs on their behalf.

“In my index case, I saw surveyors on the site when they invaded and i suspected those surveyors to be from the Survey Dept of Lagos State and they will be ready to backdate the survey for them. To what purpose I will not know or tell,” he noted.

“I am amazed that the people that claim to be the owners of a property and further claimed to have a judgement of the supreme court will be surveying the land they own upon invasion. In other words, they do not know their land and size after the purported supreme court judgement?Who does that?

“The policemen in Lagos State are hereby put on notice to look through the lies and forgeries of these land grabbers and give justice to the genuine owners. Cases will be coming before them on likelihood of breach of public peace, forceful entry, criminal trespass and threat to life.

“My client has a certificate of occupancy over the property since 1989 and have been in physical occupation for the past 27 years with evidence of payment of utility bills yet these people are claiming that they are in  possession through the invasion that took place just last Monday!

“Lagos State governor should be alerted of this resurgence of land grabbers and measures should be put in place to nip it in bud timously as it constitutes a terrible smear on the reputation of Centre of Execellence,” MOU stated. He promised to write to the Attorney General of Lagos State to alert him of this ugly development in the State.”