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Ogun, Oyo mull home ownership schemes’ review

By Bertram Nwannekanma, Lagos and Rotimi Agboluaje,
18 May 2020   |   3:19 am
There are strong indications that Ogun and Oyo States Government may revamp their homeownership schemes initiated by former Governors Ibikunle Amosun and Abiola Ajimobi.

Ibadan, Oyo State

There are strong indications that Ogun and Oyo States Government may revamp their homeownership schemes initiated by former Governors Ibikunle Amosun and Abiola Ajimobi.

The two states had introduced their schemes to lessen the processes and cost of owning homes and to enable property owners regularize their land documents.

Ogun launched its scheme in 2013 as an integral part of the government’s mission to rebuild the state, which enjoyed widespread acceptance and many subscribers.

Although many subscribers are yet to benefit, the scheme was primed to provide data for the medium-term planning for provision of roads, schools, hospitals and other essential services. It pledged and promised 85 per cent discount for subscribers to the scheme.

Under the scheme, property owners without the required building approvals, or houses built on land belonging to the state government were given a window of opportunity to obtain building plan approvals, Certificates of Occupancy (Cof O) and other documents that will establish their ownership to the property.

Essentially, interested property owners made an initial deposit of N5, 000, and submitted documents that can be used to establish ownership of the property such as land purchase agreements, deed of gift or sublease, receipts, and survey plans.

However, to establish claims to ownership of property, officials undertake an initial visit to the site to confirm that the property is indeed eligible for the programme, and information provided on the form is accurate, and afterwards pay another N10,000 as part payment for the Cof O.

Property exempted are those built under Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) high tension cables, those occupying Right-of-way of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline, those on the ‘set-back’ of roads, water bodies and gullies, as well as those built on flood plains or areas under acquisitions.

Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Mr Olatokunbo Talabi, had recently said that the Homeowners’ Charter programme, initiated by the past administration lacked a reliable database and proper accreditation of beneficiaries.

While commending the initiative, he, however, insisted that there was an urgent need to re-appraise, identify and proffer lasting solutions to the anomalies of the scheme.

Talabi, however, assured beneficiaries of the programme of government’s resolve to review the initiative for optimal benefit to the people and the state in general.

According to him, “The Dapo Abiodun led-administration on assumption, appraised the viability of the Homeowners Charter and issues were raised, which included lack of reliable database and proper accreditation of beneficiaries.

Also, a reliable source from the Ogun State government, who pleaded for anonymity said, works on the modalities for the new homeowners charter are already and will resume in earnest as soon as the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic is over

On its part, Oyo State Government said the programme will start on a new note as what was done by the immediate-past administration was a mere ceremonial.

The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, said the digital Certificate of Occupancy launched by the past administration did not really take off, stressing that the project did not have any office.

Adisa said: “It is not the same thing that was launched then because government records don’t disappear.

The extent to which it went is that it didn’t really take off on the ground. A lot of people have subscribed to the programme and they didn’t get their C of Os.

“ As the time Governor Seyi Makinde came on board, they have been enrolled in this procedure so that they would be the first to now get their C of Os. That is to tell you that it was largely just a ceremony that was done,” he added.