Posted by News Express | 18 February 2022 | 580 times
The non-implementation of the anti-land grabbing law of Ogun State has been fingered as one of the reasons police extort land surveyors in the state.
It would be recalled that the Prohibition of Forcible Occupation of Landed Properties, Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, Cultism and other Anti Violence and Related Offences Law of Ogun State which prescribes 25 years jail term or death sentence to anyone found guilty of land grabbing offences was promulgated in 2016.
While several arrests have been made in connection with land grabbing, surveyors in the state claim the law has not been fully implemented.
Chairman of the Association of Private Practising Surveyors of Nigeria (APPSN), an arm of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) in Ogun State, Adewale Oluwafemi, said policemen arrest and harass members of the association which is against the provision of the law.
Oluwafemi enjoined the judiciary to compel the government to implement the law, noting that the illegal activities of land grabbers the law was expected to take care of still continue unabated.
He stated this while speaking at a public lecture organised by the association on the Anti Land-Grabbing Law of Ogun State, stating that there hasn’t been any difference in the issue of buying, selling, demarcation and surveying of land in the state since the law was assented to by the governor.
“Illegal land agents popularly known as ajagungbales still operate unabated. The general public seems not to know their rights on issues of land ownership and building on the land. Before the advent of anti land-grabbing law, we saw occasion where the police made arrests of surveyors during the course of carrying their duties of demarcation and surveying of land for their clients.
“The popular charge was that of encroachment. There is need for the police to be aware that surveyors can never be charged for encroachment. They are protected under the law to enter into a land for their clients.
“If a person wants to do a survey for the purpose of litigation, how does the surveyor do the necessary demarcation and surveying without entering the land to work on it? The police approach in most cases is to arrest and detain such surveyors on the charge of encroachment,” Oluwafemi said.
Guest lecturer at the event and Ogun State High Court judge, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, described the non-implementation of the law as unfortunate.
Justice Akinyemi said: “I doubt if any court has convicted any surveyor for his job, it’s only police that arrest surveyor for doing his job, may be they don’t know and you need to educate them. It’s illegal for the police to arrest surveyors for doing his job.
“What is encroachment or trespass for surveyors? The only thing is that you will seek permission of the owners of the land or premises before you enter or get the authorisation order from the court.
“It’s unfortunate that the popular anti land-grabbing law in Ogun State has not been implemented. If this law is implemented, many traditional rulers will go to jail because they connive with ajagungbales. If such an oba is charged before me, I will send him to jail. It’s bastardisation of traditional institution.
“What is stopping the implementation? What does it cost? It’s possible that the governor is not aware, but what are those people in charge doing? What is Director-General, Bureau of Lands and Survey doing, what is Surveyor-General and the Ministry of Justice doing?” he added.
Other justices at the event are High Court Judge, Justice Titi Bello; Customary Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Philip Akinsinde and former Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olumide Ayeni.
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