1,000 petitions on land grabbing received in Lagos within one year

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IBRAHIM QUADRI

The Lagos State Government has revealed that it received a total of 1,000 petitions relating to forceful take-over of landed properties in the State through the Special Task Force Against Land Grabbers.

It was however noted that out of the petitions received, 350 were successfully resolved in the last one year.

Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), who said this at the Ministerial Press Briefing held at JJT Park, Alausa, Ikeja to commemorate Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s first anniversary, said deliberate efforts were made by government to strengthen the Taskforce to arrest and prosecute suspected notorious land grabbers to send a strong signal about determination of the present administration to rid the State of illegal dispossession of landowners.

Giving details of activities of the Ministry of Justice and its agencies in the last one year, Onigbanjo said: “The Taskforce with five Counsel received 1000 petitions out of which 350 have so far been resolved, while over 600 are pending and are at various stages of resolution.

“About 20 petitions are currently being prosecuted in Court. 20 properties under dispute were marked with inscriptions by the Office to prevent any further transactions until pending issues are resolved. The arrest and prosecution of several suspected land grabbers were also effected in conjunction with security personnel attached to the Governor’s Monitoring Team.”

The Commissioner listed some of the cases handled by the Taskforce to include the Ejigbo land grabbing case which had gone viral popularly known as the Adeoye’s case in which warrant of arrest was issued against the three alleged land grabbers; arrest and prosecution of land grabber at Ogudu GRA residential Scheme II; and recovery of land from land grabber at Ojota, among others.

He said as part of the mandate of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), the team in the period under review held series of activities to galvanize strategic action and respond  appropriately to formal and informal reporting of incidents of rape, defilement, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect and maltreatment.

The team, he said, organized training for Judges and Magistrates; held a special advocacy walk tagged a walk to “commit and act” against all forms of sexual and  gender based violence, and equally ensured the arrest and arraignment of an alleged wife Molester, one Sulaiman Maiyegun who on 5th of May, 2020 posted the beating of his wife which went viral on social media.

The DSVRT, according to the Commissioner, also obtained restraining orders in court against domestic violence abusers.

He said the Directorate of Citizen’s Rights (DCR) received 1308 petitions out of which 1070 have been resolved with 228 at different stages of resolution.

“These Petitions spread across the Departments various Units, which includes the Human Rights Protection Unit (HRPU), Consumer Rights Protection Unit, Monetary Claims, Family Matters, the Employee/Employer Matters, and One stop Child Justice Centre.

“The department also took part in prison watch which would take effect from May 2020 and conducted several rescue missions on abused children. Specifically, three children were rescued from their stepmother at Ikorodu; a 12-year-old boy was also rescued from his violent mother at Agege, while seven judgments were obtained at the National Industrial Court and an amount of N21,353,319 was recovered,” he said.

Onigbanjo said the Public Advice Centre (PAC) received and treated 131,253 cases including Walk-ins within the period under review, ranging from pension claims, labour disputes, environmental issues, domestic violence, general legal advice, among others and equally obtained monetary claim of N4,518,000 on behalf of parties.

He said the Administrator–General and Public Trustee, a unit responsible for managing and equitably sharing assets of estates of persons who died intestate (without leaving a WILL) received over 253 petitions in the last 12 months, out of which 185 were resolved through the instrument of mediation.

“There were 704 Walk-In Enquiries where free legal services were rendered by seasoned Law Officers of the Ministry. Three court orders were obtained to administer some estates. The Office took over 24 Estates through petitions filed in court; generated over £22,500.00 (Twenty-Two Thousand, Five Hundred Pounds) on an estate abroad; paid N38,281,518.63 as Death /insurance benefits, and generated N120,136,489,” he disclosed.

Onigbanjo said Governor Sanwo-Olu, through the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, granted order of release for 17 convicted inmates, while the Governor in April 2020 released additional 209 inmates convicted of minor offences as a way of decongesting the Prisons in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that some bills were also presented to the State House of Assembly for amendment including Amendment of LSNSCA Law 2019 to establish the State Amotekun Corps, Land Use Charge Law Amendment, Public Procurement Agency Amendment, and Stamp Duty Registration Amendment.

He added that 2,249 offenders were sentenced to community service for various offences, including some Nollywood celebrities who violated the Covid-19 social distancing regulations, adding that their punishment was supervised by the Ministry at various public institutions including Hospitals, Remand Homes, Traffic Management and Market sanitations.

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