“As with most commercial cities, land, as a resource, is desirable and crucial to everyone. This accounts for the high premium charged either as rent or land sale in Lagos. But alongside this comes the challenge of land administration in Lagos State, especially as it concerns land grabbers, and title documentation. The state government says it has put in place measures to ease the challenges associated with land acquisition, among others. MUYIWA LUCAS reports”- The Nation
When on August 15, last year, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, signed into law the Lagos State Property Protection Law, Lagosians were quick to applaud the law as one that would stop the agony being inflicted on land and property owners by land grabbers (Omo-Onile).
To ensure the enforcement of this law, a special Task Force on Land Grabbers was set up. It has the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, as chairman and the Permanent Secretary (Lands Bureau) as vice chairman.
According to the Special Adviser on Urban Development to the Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onabule, to further stem the nefarious activities of land grabbers, the state has commenced the implementation of Section 89 to 92 of the Lagos State Land Registration Law. This Law aims at registering all authorised family land representatives in Lagos State.
She, therefore, enjoined families who own land to register their authorised representatives with the Land Registry.
Mrs. Onabule also counselled prospective buyers to verify the relevant family representatives at the Land Registry to know the exact person to transact business with.
“With these concerted efforts, we are very confident to inform you that the menace of land grabbers in our state is gradually heading towards extinction, all thanks to the forward moving Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode,” Onabule said.
Noting that the Land Registry was one of the oldest institutions in the Lagos State Public Service, she said the government was upgrading and redesigning the layout and business process within the Land Registry. Already, the introduction of the Electronic Document Management System (EDMS), which scans and archives land documents and survey plans (Maps) into a searchable and interlinked database, is also driving a new dawn in the Bureau.
Mrs. Onabule, while presenting the activities of the Bureau in the last 365 days, noted that several reforms have been put in place by the government to continuously ease the processes within the Lands Bureau and its sister agencies – Office of the State Surveyor-General (OSSG) and New Towns Development Authority (NTDA).
These reforms, she noted, have yielded positive results. For instance, she revealed that obtaining Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) now comes with ease. This is why since the present government came on board, the governor has signed cumulatively, a total of 4,445 Electronic Certificates of Occupancy (E- C of O). By accelerating the process of issuing land titles, as well as the increased awareness being created, Onabule noted that property owners are being spurred towards having titles for their landed property.
She added that in the last two years under review, of the 12, 794 applications received for Governor’s consent, 5,322 was approved. The breakdown of applications for Governors’ consent in 2015 showed that of the 6, 634 applications received, 1, 791 was approved; in 2016, it was 4, 869, while 2, 911 was approved; while between January and April 2017, 1, 291 applications were received and 620 approved.to
The Private Estate Developer’s Scheme, Mrs. Onabule said, also formed a part of the reform process. The scheme, being executed on a Public Private Participation (PPP) is aimed at solving the housing problems in the state. She regretted that over the past half-decade, available lands in the state have shrunk under the weight of population explosion and attendant infrastructural development as the state moved from a metropolitan city to a Megacity with a growing population of over 20 million people occupying a limited land area of approximately 3,577 sq. km.
She said among the steps taken was ensuring the provision of land to individuals, organisations and bodies, who have the capability and expertise to build affordable houses for occupation by residents of the state. She said several qualified private companies had been allocated different parcels of land across the state to develop home schemes for the benefit of all Lagosians.
Illegal land extension
The Special Adviser used the occasion to warn allottees on Government Schemes, who have engaged in illegal extension of land allocated to them by as much as 100 per cent in some instance. Onabule listed some of the schemes where this unwholesome activity takes place to include Lekki Scheme 1, Magodo-Shangisha, Magodo-Isheri, Omole 1 & 2, Ogudu, ParkView, Osborne, Victoria Garden City, and Banana Island, Ikoyi. This act also involves illegal dredging aimed at adding more land and/or fencing in road setbacks and Right of Way. She revealed that the state has engaged the services of a Consultant, who has carried out thorough survey on all of the schemes to determine the exact size of Land that each allottee has encroached upon.
Consequently, she said the government has commenced issuance of “Demand Notices” to regularise permissible extensions within a specified period. Whilst illegal extensions on road setbacks, Right of Way and flood plain are unacceptable.
To eliminate the challenges associated with redundant data, increase accuracy, reduce manual entry errors and streamline the entire workflow process in the Lands Bureau, the agency has entered into partnership with Thompson Reuters for the deployment of the Integrated Land Administration and Automation System, which includes the Geographical Information System (GIS). The Integrated Land Administration and Automation System (ILAAS) is a suite of technology modules that can be used to conduct rapid inventory of land rights, automate/manage land records, create/maintain integrated geographic data accurately and fairly value any property.
The Special Adviser explained that the ILAAS provides for a fully synced end- to-end land administration platform for a sustainable and automated system. This is because it effectively reduces silos of information that exist across other department and agencies within the Bureau. This. in turn. improves service delivery, while providing policy and decision makers, businesses and private, citizens more timely access to information, thus, enhancing transparency and at the same time, increase public confidence. This intervention is designed to manage information and automate business activities related to property rights registration, transacting and contracting real property and digital preservation of land –related documents.
Mrs. Onabule said the Lands Bureau was the second highest revenue earner for the state. Figures reeled out buttressed the claim. “In spite of the challenging financial crisis in the country, I humbly submit that our gross earnings in the year under review is put at N20, 773,862,768.47, which considerably surpassed the total revenue of the previous year by N11,454,316,793.4. It was due to a transaction on the sales of land for industrial development in the state. The revenue performance for the year under consideration exceeded the Bureau’s budget for the period by 45 per cent,” she disclosed, assuring that the revenue of the Bureau will continue to be improved upon once the new schemes, transactions on state land, payment by defaulters, et al begin.
In the same period under review, N 2,022,694,093.80, according to her, was paid as compensation to individuals/groups.
Source: The Nation