Ebute-Ajebo residents protest against encroachment
A Lagos Magistrate Court sitting in Ikoyi has sentenced a 35-year-old land-grabber, Saheed Magbe, to two years imprisonment for forcible entry and possession of land.
Magistrate S. Odusanya sentenced him to one year imprisonment on each of the two counts charge while delivering judgment on the suit filed against him by the Lagos State Special Task Force on Land-grabbers. Magbe was found guilty of forcible entry and forcible possession of land contrary to sections 52 and 53 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
The magistrate said the judgment would sound a serious warning to other land-grabbers who think they are above the law of the state. According to the magistrate, the defendant is given an option of fine of N100,000 to be paid in lieu of the two years imprisonment.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said the government is pleased with the conviction. He praised the Lagos State House of Assembly for enacting the laws and thanked the governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, for signing the law.
Meanwhile, the Ebute-Ajebo Residents Association of Imota Local Council Developmental Area (LCDA) of Ikorodu, Lagos have appealed to Ambode to as a matter of urgency stop a company, New Town Development Authority, from infringing on their over 300 hectares of land.
The group during a protest led by Chief Muraino Onafunya, chairman of the association, said the community had suffered in the past without any form of compensation from both the government and agencies that end up acquiring the land, which subsequently led to the loss of huge portion of their land to over eight government agencies without any compensation.
“The government has used their power to collect our land to build primary school, U.P.A, maternity, grammar school rice mill, estate, police station and even the local government secretariat is situated on our land without any compensation and now they are coming through New Town Development Authority to collect over 355 hectares of land from us without any negotiations,” Onafunya said.
The six families affected feared that their ancestral land will be taken away without any form of agreement from the government, that there should be a form of negotiations before such action take place and that the government should try and understand their plights.
All efforts to meet with Chief Wasiu Adekunle Agoro, chairman of Imota LCDA, proved abortive. The protesters met with Chief Baba Sanya, the Olotu Omooba of Imota at the palace of Ranodu of Imota, who assured them of delivering their message to the Oba, who he said was not available.
Chief Muraino Onafunya noted that the agencies that want any portions of their land should follow due process instead of acquiring their land through the back door.