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Magodo Land Dispute: What Was Governor Sanwo-Olu Doing At The Estate?

A Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) on Tuesday disobeyed the instructions by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to vacate the Magodo Phase 2 Estate area of the state stating that he and his men were there on the instructions of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Predominant among the many questions begging for answers since the incidence is the motive behind the Governor’s visit to the Estate.

Firstly, what was Sanwo-Olu doing in Magodo Estate with his Cabinet members to exchange words with a police CSP leading a security detail detached to the estate when he can sit down in his office, send his Chief of Staff, SSG or Commissioner for Housing to find out what the issues are with the residents of the estate and the police?

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There was no need for the Governor to go down to the Estate under dispute, he could have easily addressed the residents of the estate through any of his principal officers to remain calm while the government worked with the authorities and other parties to the dispute to resolve the matter.

After that the Governor could have easily put a call across to the Lagos state Commissioner of Police, the IGP or AGF Malami to ask for the withdrawal of the policemen; arrange for a meeting with the help of the AGF between the Lagos state government and the beneficiaries of the Supreme Court judgement on the land to reach an acceptable settlement since the land in dispute has been developed already.

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Was the Governor’s visit an attempt to stop the police from enforcing the judgement of the Supreme Court after a 37 year dispute that went all the way from High Court, Appeal Court to Supreme Court and in which the plaintiffs won all?

For those making a case for the governors having the power to control or order the police, the question is, under the Nigerian constitution, is the police under the command and control of the governors and should the police, for whatever reason be under the control of the governors or even the president?

There is a reason why the constitution put the police under the office of the AGF. The Attorney General is not only the chief legal adviser to the government but also the representative of the public in all legal proceedings for the enforcement of law & the assertion or protection of public rights.

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The law is and should be no respecter of any person and the police which is the chief instrument of law enforcement is and should be under the control of a law officer who is a constitutional representative of both the government and the public which in the case of Nigeria is the AGF and not the governors or president.

Going forward, what the Lagos state Government should do is to arrange for a meeting with the families that the courts declared rightful owners of the land to find an acceptable settlement or compensation.

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