Seriake Dickson, the governor of Bayelsa State, has warned those who encroach on government lands and properties to desist from the unwholesome practice as anyone found culpable would be prosecuted.
Governor Dickson gave the warning when the State Special Task Force on Identification and Recovery of Government Lands, headed by Chief Ige Iboro Edaba submitted its report in Government House, Yenagoa.
“I want to call on landowners to desist from re-entering lands in respect of which, compensation has been paid. If compensation has not been fully paid and the government has already started developing the land, then respect the rights of the government, because that is the property of everybody, including you,” Governor Dickson warned.
“You can approach the Ministry of Lands and Survey and then discuss with them, as to how they can complete the acquisition. But, the solution is not to collect compensation money from government and then go back and sell government lands. We will treat those people as pure criminals that they are and we will begin the process of recovering all such lands.”
Governor Dickson, who promised to study the report, directed the Ministries of Justice and lands and Survey to take measures in recovering all affected government lands.
While assuring the people of the state that, his administration remains focused on delivering the dividends of democracy, he, however, called on them to shun all antics of opposition politicians, who are bent on destabilizing the state for their selfish ends.
Presenting the report of the task force, its Chairman, Chief Ige Iboro Edaba decried the level of encroachment on government lands, pointing out that, some land owners, who received compensation have re-entered and in most cases re-sold such lands.
He cited some of the affected areas in the Yenagoa metropolis to include, BYCAS at Elebele, Central Business District and Opolo Housing Estate, where government had acquired 200 hectares of land for which 70% had been re-sold.
Chief Iboro Edaba also stressed the need for all ministries, departments and agencies to acquire land, through the Ministry of Lands and Survey towards promoting a centralized land acquisition system and expedite action on recovery of encroached lands.