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Lagos to engage consultants for excised land ratification

Published by Guardian on Tue, 21 Feb 2012

TO ease the process of land title ratification of some excised communities in Lagos, which land documentations are yet to be processed, the state government, is currently looking at the option of hiring consultants that will midwife the process of resolving some knotty issues on excised communities.The title ratification of the excised land came to the fore last week at a stakeholders' meeting aimed at sensitising the public over the 2010 Lagos New Development Laws, held in Lagos last week.Among the issues discussed were the need for the owners of all excised landed properties in Lagos to brace up for the challenges on ground, especially, as they affect government's decision to ensure proper documentation of the affected lands. To this effect, government is contemplating the possibility of engaging the service of consultants.Besides, indiscriminate erection and conversion of residential, office accommodations and other structures for other usage were among other issues considered at the forum.It was noted that many excised communities do not bother to possess development title plans, many years after the exercise, thereby, making such properties a 'worthless one, in the real sense of property ownership.'Currently, the exercise has commenced in the eight villages that were excised from the Old Ikeja Local Government Area, which is presently splitted into Onigbongbo, Ojodu Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) and Ikeja Local Government.The eight villages include Olusosun, Agidingbi, Omole, Alfred Folorunsho Village, Oregun Adekunle and two others. These communities were excised villages that were given to some families in the past, but they were unable to perfect their titles, despite the fact that thousands of properties have occupied the areas.However, out of the eight villages, government had undertaken the perfection of their title documents for four villages, but because of the financial implication, the official position currently is to look at the possibility of how the owners of those landed properties would collaborate with government to share the responsibilities.Speaking at the stakeholders' meeting organised by the Lagos State Physical Planning and Development Authority (LSPPDA), held at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium last week, the Director on Development matter in the Ministry, Mr. Olukayode Solarin, noted that the decision became imperative in the face of the new urban development and planning law that was put in place to ensure a seamless physical planning in Lagos.According to him, the need to involve consultants was the complication that may arise in the course of processing the title documents, 'since many of the land owners may not be in position to fund the cost. So, consultants would be in position to set out modalities that would be adopted that would make partnership between government and land owners less cumbersome.'However, to the traditional of Onigbongbo, Oba Nurudeen Onigbogi asked what would happen to those, who possess the deed of conveyance, or in a situation where there are cases of illegal encroachment'Another serious observation made by Mr. Ayo Adewunmi, director, Plans Permit, was that three years after the completion of the Ikeja Model City Plan, people are yet to comply with the plan, as buildings were allegedly erected where they should not. He specifically mentioned areas such as Opebi-Link road, where some portions were earmarked for greening to be currently occupied with different buildings.He mentioned other places where such anomalies could be found to include Oke-Ira, Yaya Abatan and other areas close to Ogun boundary within Lagos, where he alleged that people are putting up structure without recourse to Lagos government under the pretext that the land belongs to the Federal Government.'But without any iota of doubt, power for approval for any project in Lagos resides with the state government as affirmed by the Supreme Court judgment in the case that was determined last time when Lagos contended successfully over its jurisdiction over all landed properties in the state,' said Adewunmi, urging those, who have property in the area to ensure that they do the right thing.Earlier, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde, a town planner, had urged the participants and the general public to ensure that they do a proper investigation before they embark on building project, or conversion activities.According to Ayinde, government has no interest in pulling down structures put in place by the people, but instead, it is seeking a collaboration that can ensure the achievement of sustainable planning.He warned those, who are using night to perpetrate the evil of illegal construction to be aware that the era of going scot-free has gone forever. 'We are no longer working a conventional civil service five days a week, 8am- 4 pm time, but rather, 24 hours and seven days all round,' said Ayinde, urging the new filling stations and the existing ones, fast food operators that do have toilet facilities to make provision for such.Besides, he said government is bent on enforcing access route for the physically challenged in all public buildings across the state.Addressing the participants, the Acting General Manager, Lagos State Physical Planning and Development Authority (LSPPDA), Mrs. Bola Adefihan, also a town planner, said the interactive session was designed not only to improve awareness on the procedures for obtaining development permit, 'but to increase the consciousness of resident associations in the monitoring of physical development activities, as well as, create a sustainable development, live-able and functional environment.'According to Adefihan, the need to involve stakeholders emanated from the established fact that no law, particularly, physical planning law, can achieve much result without the participation of those that whose stakes are involved and affected, stating that it, thus, implies that effective implementation of physical planning laws require agreement and co-ordinated actions by a wide variety of actors from the public and private, hence, the need for this interactive session.
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