GOGIS is out to correct irregularities in land administration – Gov.Yahaya
GOGIS is out to correct irregularities in land administration – Gov.Yahaya
By Ben Ngwakwe Gombe
Moribund Gombe Geographic Information Systems established by previous administration took off with sound funding, staffing and operational equipment by the administration of Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya.
The Agency has the mandate to run the land administration within the Gombe metropolis.
Apart from Land Adminisration, the GOGIS has also the mandate to demolish illegal structures and collect land rate on behalf of the State Government.
On Monday, the Gombe Geographic Information Systems organized a two-day Stakeholders Engagement Workshop which is aimed to further enlighten all relevant stakeholders in the state with the reforms that the government has introduced on land administration in line with global best practices.
Generally, It is established the world over that a just and efficient land administration system is necessary in order to guarantee ownership and security of tenure, provide security for credit, support land and property taxation, monitor land transactions as well as reduce incessant disputes associated with land.
Also, a good land administration system is also essential in order to improve urban planning, support infrastructural development and proper environmental management.
“It is a common knowledge that in Nigeria and especially in Gombe State, we are faced with the challenge of ensuring proper and orderly land administration.”
The Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya noted with great concern some of these challenges which included poor physical development planning, endemic corruption in land administration and unacceptable bureaucratic bottlenecks which have hampered the overall development of the state and promised to address them if elected during his campaigns.
“During the campaigns, we stressed the need to correct all irregularities in land administration so as to ensure sustainable use and proper management of our land. Accordingly, one of the promises we made as contained in our manifesto, is that we will “ensure the maintenance of accurate database of all lands in the state and ensure speedy acquisition of land title documents”.
“To achieve these, we pledged that, if elected, we will “strengthen the Gombe State Geographical Information System (GOGIS) through adequate funding, staffing and equipping to enable the Agency deliver on its mandate”.
“While the immediate past administration established GOGIS, it did not see to its proper take-off despite engaging consultants and contractors thereby expending hundreds of millions in the process without any visible result. Today, all of you can bear testimony to the efforts we have made since assuming office to change the narrative by ensuring the successful take-off of GOGIS as an important agency of government through the provision of a state-of-the-art office accommodation, operational vehicles and other necessary equipments including modern ICT infrastructure thereby ensuring proper implementation of the first phase of its establishment as an institution”.
Similarly, the Governor said that his administration awarded the contract for the second phase of its take-off which included full digitalization of land administration in the state and embraced the use of modern technology by awarding the contract for the aerial survey of the entire state using orthophoto technology in order to fast-track the issuance of digital certificates of occupancy as obtained in other states.
“This project when completed will upgrade the existing aerial photographs and geographic maps of the state by producing high resolution GIS imagery which will enable clear identification of property boundary for the ease of application and issuance of digital C of O.”
” Furthermore, in accordance with the provisions of the Land Use Act of 1978, we inaugurated the Land Reform Committee and charged it with the responsibility of identifying measures that needs to be taken in order to address all injustices, inconsistencies and corrupt practices encumbering efficient land administration and development”
He said that it was based on the recommendations of the committee, they initiated some bold reforms in order to right the wrongs with the signing of Executive Order 4 in 2020 which seeks to check uncontrolled alienation of communal lands, ensure provision of basic physical and organisational infrastructure and expanded the radius of all existing urban areas, while creating new ones in all the local government areas of the state.
“Furthermore, following our realisation of the need to align with modern realities in metropolitan development, we initiated the Gombe Capital Special Development Zone project aimed at providing befitting structures, access roads and other facilities while also ensuring strict compliance with development control regulations in and around the state capital”.
Consequently, land transactions, buildings and building plans approval were temporarily suspended at the area designated as Gombe Capital Special Development Zone pending the completion of layout auditing exercises and proper verification and re- of all land titles in the affected layouts.
“As soon as these exercises are completed, the suspension will be lifted to allow individuals proceed with the development of their plots in line with the requirements of the law. To oversee the successful implementation of the capital development zone, a special project implementation, monitoring and evaluation team has been appointed under the chairmanship of Prof. Namala Keptin Amuga and charged with the responsibility of ensuring a proper implementation of this designated areas in conjunction with all relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs)”.
“As part of the reforms initiated by the designation of the Gombe capital special development zone, GOGIS has recently conducted a thorough audit of some of the affected layouts. Preliminary findings from the exercise have revealed several distortions and illegal activities such as – blockage of 13 major access roads in GDP 16, 4 major roads in GDP 4 and another 4 major roads in GDP 4A, sub-division of the federal secretariat plot into personal and individual plots, deliberate change of purpose through the conversion of areas meant for public facilities such as hospitals, fire service and religious activities into residential plots, encroachment of building lines, illegal sub-division or merger of plots and irrational use of land titles amongst others”.
Recently, he approved the revocation of the 274 hectares piece of land located west of Hashidu Housing previously allocated to NNPC but left undeveloped for decades.
According to him, the new layout will be used to accommodate the 250-unit NEDC Housing Project and the 1,000-unit Family Homes Fund project. Government will provide all necessary modern infrastructure such as access roads, street lights, shopping malls, schools, hospitals etc in order to ensure this layout is developed in line with modern real estate development standards.
Equally, this new layout will also be used to compensate all people whose land may be affected by the redesign and rectifications to be carried out at the Capital Special Development Zone.
It is in the context of these policies and initiatives that the workshop is organised to explore all issues surrounding effective, efficient and just land administration in Gombe State, the Governor said.
The workshop will provide traditional, religious and community leaders the opportunity to freely interact with local government council chairmen and officials responsible for the implementation of the land administration reforms and the participants should therefore feel free to ask questions and seek clarifications on any matter pertaining to land administration and related policies of the government.
While directing all participating officials of government and the invited resource persons to listen courteously to the views of all stakeholders and ensure its reflection in the communique to be issued at the end of the engagement, hoping that, at the end of the workshop, stakeholders and government will build consensus on all issues around land administration in the state, develop strategies for improving communication, cooperation and understanding for the effective implementation of land administration and sustainable development policies of the government.
The Governor assured them that the government under his leadership has no intention whatsoever of dispossessing any individual or group of their legally acquired land titles, adding that all rightful owners of land titles have no reason to fear about land-grabbing.
Also, speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner of Lands and Survey, Alhaji Mohammed Jahun Biri said the stakeholders engagement forum became necessary in view of the sharp practices inherent in land administration in the State.
He commended Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for paying keen interest in correcting the anormaly that had overshadowed land administration in the State and therefore called on all relevant stakeholders and the people of the State to support the initiative for the benefit of human and societal development.
The Director General of the Gombe Geographical Information System, GOGIS, Dr. Kabiru Usman in his opening remarks said proper land administration and management is essential not only in managing the growth of a city but equally serves as a source of revenue generation.
He expressed appreciation to Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for holistically taking concrete steps in addressing the challenges associated with land administration in the State and promised to strictly adhere to the mandate of the Agency in carrying out its responsibilities and operations without any political vendetta attached therein.