Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has assented to the Real Properties Protection Bill, 2016, which prescribes up to 15 years imprisonment for land grabbing.
Ajimobi gave his assent to the bill at a signing ceremony held at the Executive Council Chambers in Ibadan.
In attendance at the ceremony were the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Michael Adeyemo, Commissioner for Lands, Housing, Survey and Urban Development; Ajiboye Omodewu; and Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Seun Abimbola.
A government statement issued in Ibadan quoted the governor as saying that the law was meant to protect the rights of property owners and to stop the nefarious activities of land merchants who willfully and violently seize people’s land.
“We want to use this opportunity to allay the fears of property owners and investors across Oyo State that it will no longer be business as usual.
“Where there is no law, there is no offence, but now we have a law in place. We will ensure the full implementation of this law.
“I, therefore, advise those bent on encroaching on other people’s property, most times using violence, threats or imaginary connection with the powers that be to have a rethink,” Ajimobi said.
The law also prescribes a fine of N500,000 upon conviction for illegal entry into any construction site for the purpose of stopping, disturbing or otherwise demanding for any fee or levy in respect of construction activities.
The law further said: “Also, any person who encroaches on any real property commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for five years or a fine not exceeding N500,000.
“Any person who is on any property as an encroacher and having with him any firearm, dangerous or offensive weapons commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment.
“Any person who offers for sale any property knowing that he has no lawful title to the property or authority of the owner or sells a property knowing that that he has no lawful title to the property or that the property has been previously sold by him or his privies is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for five years.”