By G9ija

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, has promised to put an end to land grabbing in the state if voted into power.

Land grabbing is a major challenge in the state. Not only has it cost people huge amount of money running into billions, it has also led to loss of lives.

Speaking when members of Estate Rent and Commission Agent Association of Nigeria (ERCAAN) paid him a courtesy visit at his campaign office in Ikeja, the state capital, on Thursday, the gubernatorial candidate described land grabbing as “criminal and primitive”.

He said those involved in the act would not have a safe haven in the state.

He admitted that the vice has made the state lose business and investment opportunities, adding that it has also affected the economy of the state and violated the rights of individuals.

Sanwo-Olu promised that if he is elected, his administration would strengthen the land grabbing committee which had already been constituted by the government.

He said the committee would be empowered to prosecute criminals involved in the act.

In 2016, Akinwunmi Ambode, the state governor, signed the bill criminalising land grabbing into law.

The law recommends 21 years jail term for convicts.

“We have had various complaints about activities of land grabbers and we are ready to tackle this problem when we come on board. We understand the implication of land grabbing for the economy of Lagos and preventable losses incurred by investors as a result of the activities of land grabbers,” Sanwo-Olu said.

“To tackle the issue, we will need to look at the activities of existing Land Grabbing Committee and strengthen the law setting it up to properly address the issues.

“To promote investment in property development sector, we have to stop the land grabbers. We will also fast-track the process of the issuance of C of O.

“We are going to sanitise the procedures and restore the confidence of real estate investors in the government to protect their investment. When we remove the red tape, people will create wealth and more businesses would come up. We want to discourage the trend of locking down asset because of the inability to get title for land.”