The Oyo State Government has urged members of the judicial arm of government to adopt the principle of substantial justice in dealing with the growing menace of land grabbing in the state, saying that the state had risen to the occasion by passing an appropriate legislation to tackle the mischief of land grabbers.

It also warned that those using thugs, agents and consultants to attack occupants or demolish buildings based on purported court judgment without proper procedure shall be prosecuted under the Real Property Protection law (Anti Grabbers Law) in order to ensure that the menace of land grabbing is finally curbed in the state.

The government said that it initiated the Real Property Protection (RPP) Bill in 2016, which was assented to by Governor Ajimobi on February 9, 2017 to curb the menace of land grabbers, explaining that Section 3 of the RPP law states that: “as from the commencement of this law, no person shall use force or self-help to take over any real property or engage in any act inconsistent with the proprietary right of the owner or occupant in the state.”

Oluseun Abimbola, the state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, in his speech at the weekend in Ibadan during the special court session held in honour of late retired Justice Pius Aderemi, said that a more worrisome dimension was recently introduced with the manner of enforcement of some judgment, revealing that creditors have gone about executing some recent Supreme Court and High Court judgments over expansive parcels of land, with the increasing use of thugs and brigades to seize possession.

Abimbola stated that without prejudice to the rights of a judgment creditor to reap the fruits of his/her judgment, there were laid-down procedures for the enforcement of a warrant of possession over real property, and that there were statutory persons authorised to carry out that task, noting that other than bailiffs/sheriffs of court supported by the police, no other person(s) have a legal right to enter into another person’s property in the name of executing a court judgment.

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