The law should not be enacted to cope and thrive in impossible circumstances. It would be reasonable for lawmakers to carefully evaluate factors such as; atmosphere, culture and living condition of the populace before and after any policy or law is enacted, in order for such principle of law to thrive. Reasons being that those aforementioned factors are the major determinants of the life span, acceptance or conformity of such law by the populace.
Nobody commands a hungry man to stop eating unhealthy garbage without giving him an equitable alternative. It is not justiciable to prohibit civilians from crossing a highway without aptly providing a pedestrian bridge as an alternative.
The enactment of appropriate laws to fit into inappropriate circumstances would only be useful in filling the empty spaces in our prisons. Such pitiable act of indiscretion would give rise to an overwhelming burden for the judiciary, because both the judges and lawyers would be forced to resort to holding frequent vigils to keep up to the task of attending to a swam of frequent offenders.
From a very frank perspective, the signing into law of the Lagos State Property protection law by the governor of the state was very thoughtful and commendable. The law amongst other things stipulates that land grabbers can now face a maximum and minimum imprisonment term of 21 and 5 years respectively if convicted. It prohibits forceful takeover of land, entry by force, illegal occupation of property, use of land agents, illegal use of law enforcement agents, encroaching with a weapon, sales of property without authority etcetera. This law is most significant in consideration of its prohibition of the major inhumane and burdensome activities of the “Omo Onile” (the children of the land). Section 10 states that persons who act as agents and demand a fee in regard to construction on properties shall be committing an offence and liable to a fine of 1 million naira or 2 years imprisonment. It is a sad reality, that both the state government and Lagosians haven’t faced the truth in evaluating the chances of such law in surviving in Lagos.
Nobody has asked the unavoidable question. Should we all really applaud the Lagos state house of assembly and the Governor for such effort? The answer is not yet, because the government is still half way to the completion of the task. I by no means whatsoever encourage mediocrity, indulgence or laziness from any human being, yet these characters abound in our society today. Despite the fact that, every able citizen is obliged to work hard to survive and desist from sabotaging the effort of others, as reality would have it in Nigeria today, in view of the scarcity of means of livelihood, people tend to easily resort to engaging in inhumane acts for survival.
No matter how odd it might seem, the inhumane activities of the “Omo Onile” has served as one means of survival for many youths and jobless able Nigerians. Thus putting on their lens (Omo Onile) would literally birth the view that the signing into law of the property protection law deprives most of them from their livelihood.
It would be a laughable display of stark ignorance, if the state government thinks that such step would witness an overwhelming conformity from these miscreants. This is because peradventure they (omo onile and land grabbers) quit, what next? Should they sit idle at home, comforting themselves as good law abiding citizens in the unending companion of the prevailing economic hardship? Just moving on without the state government equally providing alternative means of survival or employment in a gross over populated city like Lagos.
Saying it as it is, all we do is just applaud the state government for depriving these ruthless, jobless humans of their bone without providing meat as an alternative. We just expect them to walk away and desist from such act, knowing no proper organization or even the government is ready to employ them with a reasonable pay. Whereas on the flip side of the coin, a good government after taking such commendable step in enacting the law, would organize re-orientation programs for these youths who in their rigid opinion such a law is only another strategy of governmental oppression. The re-orientations would aim at disabusing their minds and revealing the true unjust nature of such act.
If the Lagos state government is a government truly “for the people” it would further complete this tedious task by equally creating training facilities for them, also help them engage in profitable handwork trades and businesses. This would by no means make the Lagos state government weak or incapable, because such steps would serve as an equitable and casualty reduced transition from criminal activities into empowering the economy.
Furthermore, in no doubt the scale would snowball to a reasonable equilibrium, since the state government would still be protecting its citizens from land grabbers and it would be creating a reasonable alternative for those who are willing to desist from the act. Thus giving rise to both a moral and legal justification for enforcing the property protection law. The government would have the absolute right to utilize the full wrath of the law on any remaining recalcitrant persons who still dares to contravene the provisions of this new law, and act which will become similar to what is currently the state of Berger. The construction of a pedestrian bridge, has turned the government’s deployment of “Kick against Indiscipline” (Kai) into a huge success. Lagosians now frequently use the bridge rather than crossing the highway and get arrested by “Kai”. This act has brought order, reduced accident rate and restored peace to the Berger axis of Lagos state.
But save the fact that the state government briskly adopts this final step, the brilliant signing of the Lagos state property protection law would be another epic failure. And this is because the law would receive an insignificant rate of conformity. In fact, these rogues and miscreants might device more sinister means of perpetrating these acts. And it would result in a lose-lose scenario for the state government, many abled Lagosians will pay inevitable visits to the prison, and various investors and land owners would still bear the brunt.
AUTHORED BY: CRISTUS