Ekiti State Government has taken a hard stance against land grabbers with the enactment of laws to curb forcible acquisition of land.
The government on Wednesday began an enlightenment campaign on the provisions of the Property Protection (Anti-Land Grabbing) Law 2019 to ensure peaceful coexistence among residents.
Leading a sensitization team to the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Deputy Governor Bisi Egbeyemi said the law would allow peace to reign in the state capital and other communities rocked by disputes over land sales.
A statement by Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, said Governor Kayode Fayemi gave his assent to the Law on June 4, 2019, alongside seven others after they were passed by the fifth House of Assembly.
The Anti-Land Grabbing Law was aimed at curbing the activities of land grabbers, locally known as “omo oniles” and individuals, who engage in fraudulent sale, resale and forcible occupation of land.
Egbeyemi stressed that the government would enforce the law to the letter, advising quarter chiefs, family heads and landowners to be truthful and carry stakeholders along while selling land to prospective developers.
The deputy governor expressed regrets that the majority of cases in the law courts emanated from issues relating to forcible acquisition and fraudulent sales of land to buyers.
Egbeyemi added that curbing the activities of land grabbers would give room for peace and progress in the state and reduce litigations on land matters.
Members of the Ewi-in-Council and quarters chiefs took turns to ask questions on the new law after they were enlightened by the Director of Drafting, Ministry of Lands, and Housing and Urban Development Mr. Akaninyeme Akpan.
Akpan, while shedding light on the anti-land grabbing law, explained that Section 2 prohibits forceful acquisition or takeover of land with the offence carrying a penalty of four years imprisonment or a fine of N500, 000.
According to Akpan, entering by violence or using of weapons or charm to chase people out of their land are liable to four years in imprisonment or an option of fine of N500,000.
Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Mr. Febisola Adewale said the ministry would continue to go round various communities in the state to interpret the law with a view to stopping unlawful sales and takeover on lands.
Oba Adejugbe hailed the Fayemi administration for taking proactive action to halt the activities of land grabbers.