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Mixed reactions trail Ogun home ownership charter scheme


appeal-courtThe group rejected the sketch plans under the Home Charter, saying it does not have the particulars of any registered surveyor and are only endorsed with the scanned signature of the defendant, a situation that ran foul of the practice of survey laws and regulations

AMIDST commendation by some residents and recipients of land title documents under the Ogun State Homeownership Charter Scheme, land surveyors have cited violation of survey plan law in Nigeria in the execution of the scheme.

Hence, they have initiated a legal proceeding against Ogun State Government, which is pending for hearing at a Federal High Court, Abeokuta.

In the suit, the surveyors claimed that the sketch plans under the Charter do not have the particulars of any registered surveyor and “are only endorsed with the scanned signature of Surveyor-General of the State, which according to them is contrary to the law of survey plan in Nigeria”.

The body, the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) in a statement in Abeokuta, insisted that the defendants, including the Surveyor-General of the state have no power to disregard the relevant laws and regulation governing the practice of land survey in Nigeria.

The surveyors stated that they shall contest the various non-compliance with the relevant laws and regulations governing the practice of land in Nigeria and render the survey plans under the Home Owner Charter program of the State null and void and liable to be set aside by the court.

They stated thus: “That every plan in Nigeria, including Ogun State, is required by law to be endorsed with the name, date of execution, live signature and seal of the registered surveyor that carried out the survey exercise in the case of a private parcel and name, designation of the survey officer who carried out the site work, the date of such work and live counter signature of the surveyor general and the date of such signature to be endorsed in the case of government layout”.
“However, the sketch plans under the Home Charter do not have the particulars of any registered surveyor and are only endorsed with the scanned signature of the defendants”, they stated.

The body also argued that what is being produced by the State Government under the Home Owner Charter programme as survey plans are nothing but “polygon” on blue papers which were made by non-survey personnel who failed to carry out the field exercise from known government pillar to the parcel of lands.

They added that the survey exercise and plans are therefore not controlled by or made with reference to any government pillar.

The plaintiffs in their statement emphasised that, the sole responsibility of issuing a beacon numbers in respect of any private property, surveyed throughout Nigeria is that of the Surveyors Council of Nigeria (SCN) and all beacon numbers in respect of private property in the State are required by relevant rules and regulation to have SC/OG as prefix.
“However, under the Home Owner Charter programme, the beacon numbers being used on the sketch plans are unilaterally issued by the Surveyor General of Ogun State, and there are no pillars on ground to mark the boundaries”, the group argued.

They submitted that the survey plans prepared by Surveyor General of the State under the Home Owner Charter is contrary to the relevant laws and regulation governing the practise of survey land in Nigeria “and cannot be the basis for issuing of valid CofOs as the identity of the land covered by such certificate is uncertain and therefore prayed the court to intervene to correct the illegality carried out by the State government.

But at a ceremony to hand over 1,000 Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) and title documents to beneficiaries under its HomeOwners’ scheme last week, it was all praises for the Governor for the initiative and keeping to his word.

The scheme, introduced about two years ago is meant to serve as insurance as well as security for house owners in the State.
The State’s Head of Service, Elder Abraham Olusola Adeyemi, who distributed the title documents said that the exercice had generated both direct and indirect employment.

“Our teeming youths who have been engaged at various stages of the programme”.
He assured all other applicants on the “waiting list” of the Scheme not to exercise any unnecessary apprehension, assuring “You will all be issued with your Title Documents and will not be denied the opportunity of getting Title Documents on your properties, once they are not in contravention of any planning regulations.”

However, a group under the aegis of “Private Practising Surveyors” have dragged the government to court over what they referred to as “discrepancies and illegalities” surrounding the issuance of CofOs under the Home Owners scheme.

The Commissioner for Urban and Physical Planning, Chief Adebola Adeife in his speech said: “It is pertinent to remind everyone present here that the Homeowner’s charter programme was introduced to enable Homeowners across the State regularise the legal status and documentation of their properties with the attendant benefits”.
“The introduction and implementation of the Homeowners charter programme have raised the value of affected property, eliminate ownership dispute as well as property related fraud and problem of Omo oniles and Ajagungbade (land snatchers),” he added.

He stated “The programme has also provided windows of opportunity for eligible applicants to obtain Title Documents while all penalties and fines normally associated with illegally built properties are waived and documentation requirements relaxed. Also applicable fees have been discounted to enable as many residents as possible benefit from programme”.

He commended the cooperation of Nigerian Institute of Surveyors (NIS), Surveyors Registration Council (SURCON), the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), for their support and contribution the success of homeownership initiative and other related activities.

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