The Lagos State Lands Bureau has warned against fraudulent sales of government land, just as it stepped up efforts to address incidents of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public by Land Grabbers, known as ‘Omonile’.
The Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau, Mr. Bode Agoro, disclosed this, on Tuesday, while speaking at a stakeholders forum organised by the Bureau as part of the multifaceted approaches to sensitise members of the public on the increasing rate of fraudulent land transactions across the State.
He urged members of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Community Leaders, Land Surveyors and other key players in the real estate sector to see the Land Grabbers menace as a common enemy to the growth of the Real Estate sector and efficient Land Resources management in Lagos.
Agoro said, “These Land Grabbers/Omonile have now taken their game to a new level as they have the audacity to erect signposts bearing Lagos State Government logo and excision application file numbers in their desperate attempt to deceive the prospective buyers into believing that sales of such lands are genuine transactions and have government backing”.
“This engagement is, therefore, crucial at this material time as we cannot afford to fold our arms while some dubious persons continue to take advantage of hardworking and responsible Lagosians by selling illegal lands to them”, he added.
He stated further that the Omonile syndrome had become a big monster plaguing investment in real estate development in Lagos State, maintaining that if not nipped in the bud, it would fester and continue to prevent many well-meaning corporate organisations from making investment decisions due to the confusion, anarchy and avoidable conflicts caused by Land Grabbers’ activities.
In his contribution, the Chairman of the Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (Lagos State Chapter), Mr. Bamidele Onalaja said members of the Association are fully committed to working with the Lagos State Government to confront the challenge posed by Land Grabbers’ activities in the State.
Also speaking, the Co-Ordinator of the Lagos State Special Taskforce on Lands Grabbers, Mr. Owolabi Arole, noted that in order to drastically reduce incidents of land grabbing and encourage private developers, the Lagos State Properties Protection Law 2016, established a task force to enforce the provisions of the law and vested in it, power to arrest offenders.
Some of the communities where activities of Land Grabbers are most notorious in Lagos State are Okenla Village, Idake Village, Ajao Oki Village, Ladegbole Village, Imedu Village, Iratirin Village, Obadimisi Village, Shekina Alo Village, Fowoseje Village, Iraboko Village, Adamatiye Community, Ogunro Community and Sorogun Community – all in Ibeju-Lekki, as well as Ogombo Village in Eti-Osa and Oshiun Village in Kosofe, Lagos State.