BY MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO
LAGOS—Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State yesterday accused some military personnel in the state of acquiring land illegally, saying; “They acquire land without seeking the government’s consent.”
Speaking during a courtesy visit by new Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja, Fashola lamented that though naval officers in the state had not been accused of land grabbing, but the habit was rampant with military men who were found erecting military zone sign posts indiscriminately.
According to him: “The other thing I will like to bring to your notice is, though I don’t have any naval experience, but they sometimes cut across the services. We have some local challenges, as I said they are not new. This is only a response to your demands to hold more workshops and seminars for naval officers in the state.
“Military officers get onto our lands, and place military zones there; warning people to keep off. The land that they did not buy from us, lands that are not allocated to them, put their officers there and threaten everybody and that is not the way to go about acquiring land. If anyone wants land, they have to apply for it; they have to pay for it.
“In as much as military officers have their code of conducts within their barrack; they are equally members of our community. And when it is well with them, it is well with us. We are developing our water transportation gradually as we are developing our ferry terminals.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a connection between us and you. And if anyone would be knowledgeable on that matter, it must be the Navy. From my experience on water transportation, I have discovered that perhaps, it is easier to build roads than construct safe water navigational area. But these are areas where clearly we could have improved partnership in the areas of dredging, maintenance, etc.
Earlier, Jibrin however said “We are hoping that next year when the country will be going to the polls, the state government will further collaborate with the Nigerian Navy to transport the electoral materials to the riverine areas in the state.
The Vice-Admiral assured that the Nigerian Navy would support the state in its internal security operations, adding “We need the state and the state needs us as well.”