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Plateau Govt.to enact anti-land grabbing law

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Lalong pledges to remove obstacles inhibiting adequate power supply in Plateau
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State
Plateau Executive Council has approved a bill to prohibit a forceful occupation of landed properties by armed persons.

The council presided over by Gov. Simon Lalong  also approved a bill for the establishment of the state Disability Right Commission.

Mr Chris Ahmadu, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, and his Information counterpart, Mr Dan Manjang, made the disclosure while briefing newsmen after the council’s meeting.

Ahmadu said the forceful occupation bill also known as anti-land grabbing bill also had some sections to deal with robbery, kidnapping, cultism and other violence related matters.

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“What the law said is to arrest this trend where armed people invade a land, claim ownership, forcefully occupy it.
“The bill prescribe very stringent penalties. Any armed people that invade a community, the penalty is death.

“The mere fact that you can successfully displace the community is not the end of the story.

“The coming into effect of the bill as law, you have three months to vacate.
“All lands within the state that have been forcefully occupied by armed men will be vacated within three months, failing which will become an offence,” he explained.

The attorney general said that the forceful occupants would first be advised to vacate such land and if they refused to do so, the would be compelled to do so appropriately.

He added that cultism had become a serious issue in the state and there was an absence of suitable law to punish members.

According him, the new law passed  seeks to punish mere membership of a cult, identify the group operating in the state and declare the  organization as an unlawful one.

“Mere membership with attract imprisonment of seven years without an option of fine.

“Similarly, kidnapping is one serious vice that the state is grappling with.

“The punishment for the existing law against kidnapping was very mild. But with the new law, if you kidnap somebody and you are caught and convicted you will be sentenced to death.

“We feel such severe punishment is very necessary to serve as deterrent to those who indulge in such vices,”he stated.

Ahmadu further said that the Council also approved bill for the State Disability Act and other matters connected therein.
He announced that bills as approved by the executive council would be forwarded to the state House of Assembly for passage.

Manjang said that the council revised total cost appropriation of Demshen-Angwan Dadi-Kalong- Nyak -Sharang -Angwan Rina road covering 42.9 kilometers.

“We also approved the rehabilitation of Longvel- Yelwa -Mato road phase 1 covering about 42 kilometers.
Furthermore,council approved Plateau Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy and Strategic Plan.

“The council also approved a letter of comfort to Tech Nigerian/Intern Group Consortium China for the redevelopment of Jos Main Market and Hill Station Hotel, Jos Inland Container Depot and an Industrial Park,” he added.
Commissioner for Works, Mr Pam Botmang,said that the Demshen-Angwan Dadi-Kalong- Nyak -Sharang -Angwan Rina road is a federal road.
Botmang explained that the state government was intervening because the road was a gateway to the North-East from Lafia to Ibi.

The Commissioner said that the road would take off traffic on other roads linking North Eastern apart of the country.
He added that farm produce produced in the southern part could be exported outside the state through the road.

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