Legal Practitioner Calls For Urgent Amendments To Combat Land Grabbing In Ogun 

In a bid to address the persistent issue of land grabbing in Ogun State, a prominent legal practitioner, Moruff Balogun, has formally called on the Ogun State House of Assembly to combat menace of land grabbing.

Balogun urged the Assembly to  amend specific sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice and Other Related Matters Law of Ogun State, 2017.

 Balogun, Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ijebu Ode branch, and Chairman of its Human Rights’ Committee, submitted a detailed letter to the Speaker of the House, Oludaisi  Elemide highlighting the urgent need for legislative action.

In his letter, Balogun commended the Assembly for its legislative achievements, citing the domestication of various laws aimed at enhancing governance and justice in the state. 

He specifically praised laws such as the Administration of Criminal Justice and Other Related Matters Law of Ogun State, 2016, and the Prohibition of Forcible Occupation of Landed Properties, Kidnapping, and Related Offences Law, 2016, among others.

However, Balogun expressed significant concern over the misuse of sections 306, 307, and 308 of the 2017 law by land grabbers, in collusion with certain security agencies.

 He detailed the modus operandi of these land grabbers, who exploit these legal provisions to dispossess legitimate landowners through fraudulent petitions, police detentions, and court remand orders. 

The land grabbers, he explained, often secure ex-parte remand orders that send the real landowners to correctional centers for up to 60 days, enabling the grabbers to unlawfully occupy the land.

Balogun emphasized that these legal provisions inadvertently facilitate criminal activities by allowing such abuse of power. 

He argued that any law susceptible to exploitation by criminal elements must be promptly amended to close legislative loopholes.

“The good people of Ogun State appreciate and value your efforts in combating the excesses of land grabbers in the state,” Balogun stated, acknowledging the Assembly’s recent establishment of a Legislative Compliance Committee to oversee the enforcement of relevant laws.

In his appeal, Balogun urged the Assembly to carefully review and amend the contentious sections to prevent further abuse and strengthen the state’s fight against land grabbing. 

He acknowledged the discretionary nature of bail provisions within these sections but noted that they do not adequately address the underlying issues.

Balogun expressed the readiness of the NBA Ijebu Ode branch to provide detailed suggestions and recommendations for the proposed amendments, offering to collaborate with the Assembly to ensure the legislative reforms effectively curb the menace of land grabbing.

Letter Excerpt:”Sir, every law, no matter how brilliantly made, is subject to amendment, even the 1999 Constitution. It has been severally noticed and painstakingly observed that the land grabbers in Ogun State are not relenting in their efforts,” Balogun wrote.

He urged  the lawmakers to use their constitutional powers to amend the laws swiftly and effectively.

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