Six-month ultimatum for illegal Lagos land owners

The state government of Lagos has warned that residents who have acquired land using fake documentation have six months to regularise their situation or face penalties.

The governor of Lagos Babatunde Fashola issued the six-month ultimatum on 30 July, stating that his administration would no longer tolerate any fraudulent activity in this area.

Highlighting the large amount of land owners in the past who obtained a certificate of occupancy from the state government illegally, Fashola said that some land owners present receipts with dates prior to 1978, to create the impression the land was acquired before the introduction of the state's Land Use Act that year.

The governor urged all land owners who had applied for certificates of occupancy with forged papers to withdraw their applications or risk prosecution.

The 1978 Land Use Act designates the governor of Lagos as the "trustee" of land in the state. Designed to discourage land speculation, opponents of the act claim that it has had the opposite effect, leading to landowners being at the mercy of the governor who has the power to "revoke right of occupancy for overriding public interest".