By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
Lagos—Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, yesterday fulfilled his pledge of making the menace of land grabbing in Lagos a thing of the past with the signing of the Lagos State Properties Protection Law, stipulating 21 years jail term for convicts.
Governor Ambode also signed the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law, aimed at boosting security of lives and properties in all the Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas of the state.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, attended by the Speaker Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade and other top government functionaries, Governor Ambode said the laws were central to his administration’s focus of safeguarding the lives of all residents, as well as attracting, growing investments and improving the ease of doing business in the state.
“In addition to equipping our security agencies, we have now created a legal framework to put some form of communal protection in place to boost and support the great job the Nigeria Police is presently doing,” Ambode said.
The governor, who explained that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps would assist the police and other security agencies to maintain law and order across the communities, said the Neighbourhood Safety Agency, which the new law established, would also be charged with the responsibility of registering all private home security and any other person employed for private home security, among other things.
On the Properties Protection Law, Governor Ambode said the need for the law followed the fact that one of the issues that discouraged investors and hindered the ease of doing business in Lagos in the past had always been the menace of land grabbing.
He recalled that a lot of would-be property owners encountered untold harassment from exploitative land grabbers, declaring that the law now marked the end of the road for such land grabbers.
According to him: “The Lagos State Properties Protection Law will give legal backing to the operations of our law enforcement officers. The main objective of this Law is to ensure that our investors, businessmen and the general populace carry on their legitimate land/property transactions without any hindrance or intimidation henceforth.
“The Properties Law will eliminate the activities of persons or corporate entities who use force and intimidation to dispossess or prevent any person or entity from acquiring legitimate interest and possession of property, ensure that the Special Task Force on Land-Grabbers work with all Security agencies to ensure enforcement of state government and Private property rights in the state, and ensure proper coordination of the efforts of the various agencies of Government charged with enforcing the state government’s rights over land in Lagos.”