• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Sanwo-Olu directs full excision on untitled land in Lagos

Ogun anti-land grabbing law useless – surveyors

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered full excision on all untitled lands with the aim of tackling the problem of land grabbing in Lagos State.

Sanwo-Olu gave the order at the Lagos Real Estate Market Place conference and exhibitions organised by the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island on Tuesday.

Also, the state government is set to begin the enforcement of a monthly tenancy on property occupancy from 2022. The concept, according to Sanwo-Olu, is not to punish landlords or reduce the revenue of property owners.

The governor’s directive on excision is seen as a turning point in land administration in Nigeria’s commercial capital, as it will enable the government to carry out documented delineation on communal land and land owned by families. At the end of the exercise, the issues of land grabbing by thugs working for landowners should be curbed.

Read Also: Land buyers gain as Lagos deploys technology to ease title registration

Being a coastal state, land remains a limited asset in Lagos. Over the years, the activities of land-grabbers have created an unpredictable climate in land acquisition in Lagos, robbing private real estate investors and individuals of fortunes.

According to Sanwo-Olu, a technical committee would be set up to fine-tune the framework for the excision process on untitled land, with the objective of granting Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) to landowners for transparent sales of the asset.

The governor condemned an effort by state officials to frustrate and sabotage the full take-off of the state’s Enterprise Geographic Information System (e-GIS) project initiated to automate approval of land surveys and allocation titles in one talk shop. Issuing a warning, he said he would be ruthless in purging out saboteurs in the government.

“One of the issues we are working on is the ownership of land. There is a large parcel of land across Lagos that doesn’t have the government title.

“It is to announce to this gathering that I’ve made up my mind that we are going to do excision for untitled land. This process will kick off next year and we will set up a committee whose composition will represent all traditional divisions in Lagos. With equity and fairness, we will yield proper titles on all the land, so that the issue of land grabbing can be reduced to minimum.

“We will also be carrying out genuine reform in our Survey Department. We need to have our e-GIS platform up and running after 10 years that it was initiated. I’m expressing my disappointment in some government officials sabotaging these efforts. I will look for the culprits and I will be ruthless in meting out punishment. I will ensure these saboteurs have no place in my government.”

He said the monthly tenancy would ease off pressure of yearly rent on tenants, as the new policy is designed to make people pay their rents according to their monthly earnings. The policy, Sanwo-Olu said, emanated from an agreement reached by association of tenants, consortium of financiers and the government.

Addressing the cause of high affordability of property in Lagos, the governor said the state’s partnership with the private sector had raised the housing stock but added that the non-availability of long-tenure mortgage bonds made it impossible for low-income earners to benefit.

The government, he said, is thinking out of the box to design a financing model that would reduce the burden on mortgage applicants, while also charging real estate developers to reduce the cost of developing property by engaging local competence for skills outsourced to foreigners.

“We should not just build property only for consumers, we must also build skills and integrate them in our built environment to showcase great output. Technical and vocational skills are things we must deliberately harness and reflect on in our work. At the end of the day, we must be able to design a housing development and ownership model that is fit for our purpose and peculiar to our local needs.”

The special adviser to the governor on housing, Toke Benson-Awoyinka, said real estate remained the most sought-after investment, noting that the market, apart from creating sustainable jobs, also has the highest potential of growing the economy of any nation.

“As a government, we have realised this fact and as such, have been making business-friendly policies that can assist would-be investors and consumers to operate in a conducive business environment. LASRERA has strengthened its efforts to make this sector more vibrant by ensuring that practitioners operate within the ambit of the law,” she said.

As regulator, the special adviser urged investors and consumers to make LASRERA their first point of contact before investing in real estate in any part of Lagos.

Audience at the conference comprised stakeholders in the built industry, including property developers, landlords, market facilitators and potential property buyers.