Monarch, experts canvass govt, Omo-onile pact on land matters
As Lagosians await the implementation of the State’s policy that proscribed Omo-Oniles, divergent views have continued to becloud the activities of the traditional land owning families.
For His Imperial Majesty, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ojaja II, those traditional land-owning families, whose titles have been established on their landed property, governments at all level should continuously engage them whenever they want to acquire their land.
Similarly, real estate professionals, who noted that, although the Land Use Act confers the ownership of land on the governor, the governments cannot afford to push aside the traditional land owners in their quest to take over their landed property.
Series of controversies had arisen between Omo Oniles and most often, the end-users, who after buying their landed property either from governments or private individuals, have been forcefully hindered to take physical possession. Sometimes, the imbroglio, lead to many site workers or rightful owners maimed or even killed.
To tame the situation, some state governments had used force to curtail activities of the Omo-oniles.
In fact, only recent, the Lagos State Government said it would no longer tolerate illegal activities of land grabbers otherwise known as Omo-Onile, just as it warned that anyone found using them to disturb public peace will be dealt with.
Its Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said: “Land is a very important asset in this state and the security of title is also very important and therefore, anybody who uses threat of arms or physical threat to disposes people of their legitimate property will be treated as criminals.
But, Oba Ogunwusi urged governments not to push Omo-oniles away, saying there should be continuous dialogue with them. “
In his reaction, a land surveyor, Mr. Ropo Olagbaju said although the law recognises some form of ownership of original settlers on the land, who necessarily may not be Omo-Onile, he added that, said one way to nip the challenge of land grabbers in the bud was for the governments to take stock of all landed property under their domain, as it would be difficult to protect what you do not exist.
“As villages turn to towns and towns change to cities, the pressure on the land would continue to swear and governments should through modern technology take stock of all their landed property through proper mapping, as leaving it undone would continue to threaten healthy growth of our cities and that is capable of hampering development of the nation.”
First female town planner in Nigeria, Mrs. Catherine Kehinde George, said government should ensure their interests are protected whenever it wishes to acquire any land, by ensuring that, there is a clear resettlement plan for the villages or the traditional land owners, citing a project she handled some years ago in Abuja.
However, she said it was criminal for the Omo Oniles to be violent, as such would be dealt with by the law.
For Mr. Sola Fatoki, an estate surveyor, there must an equitable land reform in the country. Such reform, according to him, would make land acquisition by ordinary citizen easy and secure than what we have now.
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