By Miracle Enuji
A bill seeking to criminalize the forceful takeover of assets, indiscriminate encroachment and sales of properties has successfully passed through its second reading at the floor of the Delta State House of Assembly.
The Delta State Property Protection bill sponsored by Seventeen (17) Honourable Members with Hon. Izeze Reuben as it lead sponsor, seeks to criminalize the activities of Land Speculators and sanitize the processes involved in the acquisition of properties and protect genuine property owners in Delta State.
Leading the debate, the chief sponsor of the bill, Hon. Izeze said that ”as lawmakers, it is our duty to make laws for the peace, orderliness, welfare and good governance for our people.” adding that the Property Protection Bill seeks to protect our constitutionally guaranteed rights.”
He further stated that before now, property infringement were considered as purely civil matters which therefore gave room for spectators, fraudsters to indulge in all kinds of manipulations believing that at worst the remedy to the victim was a civil remedy and this mischief had left people who’s rights has been infringed in relations to properties to be held by litigation.
“Section 9 of this Bill criminalizes the act of a lawyer who provided fake power of attorney, it criminalizes anyone who illegally sold the property of another,” the lawmaker added.
Giving support to the bill, Hon. Samuel Mariere; Hon. Pat Ajudua; Hon. Alphonsus Ojo; Hon. Oboro Preyor; and Hon. Peter Uviejitobor submitted that when passed into law, it will greatly deter the activities of land speculators, erode the plethora collections of levies and create the needed environment for potential investors to contribute to the development of the state.
In section 4(4) of the bill, it prescribes an imprisonment term of 10 years for anyone found guilty of illegal sales of landed properties in the state. The bill also holds that other fines such as N5 million will be slammed on persons convicted of property infringements.
The bill received unanimously applause from House Members and sailed smoothly through its second reading.
It was thereafter committed to an adhoc committee for further consideration by Speaker Oborevwori.