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Stakeholders seek 99 years’ right of occupancy extension 




Stakeholders have called for a review of the 1978 Land Use Act with a view to extending the tenor in right of occupancy to 99 years.

They also sought  limitless right of occupancy to allow owners full benefits of their lands, and involvement of relevant stakeholders in formulation of  land policies to ensure sustainable development.

Setting the tone for discussion at the 20th yearly conference of Estate, Rent and Commission Agents Association of Nigeria (ERCAAN) in Lagos, an economist and former Research Fellow, National Cereal Research Institute, Ibadan,  Dr  Adekunle  Stephen Olokun said,  the present system has not only improvised land owners but weakened them financially through the loss of  their lands.

Olokun, who spoke on the theme: “The Effective Implementation of Government Policy on Land Investment & development in Lagos state” , noted that though there are inherent  advantages  in the act, it however exposed   the land to acquisition  without compensation to the customary owners.

According to him, the Land Use Act should be reviewed to avoid flimsy excuses of Government during land acquisition.  Holders of undeveloped land, he said  should be paid compensation on acquisition, while land earlier acquired should be returned to the owner, if government no longer uses it.

He said  the act  gives  government  power through   land acquisition to disposes  the rightful owner. But noted that the benefits of the Act include,  facilitation of consent and other titles, competitive assessment for compensations,  mass housing development   and the abolition of anachronistic land ownership.

While lamenting that  bad enforcement has led to  many structures been abandoned on frustration, while investment  and development has been arrested leading to loss of foreign investors and developers, Olokun urged the use  of judicial process to water down Governor’s powers.

He also called for continuous assessment of the    success of some good land polices  for possible amendments to guarantee effectiveness and derived benefits to both the government and stakeholders in the sector.

According to him, effective implementation of government policy on land, backed by enforcement will determine the extent of socio-economic development and the wealth of citizens of Lagos state.

For ERCAAN National President,  Emmanuel Dare, the Federal government  and the state government should synchronise the system of  issuance of Certificate  of Occupancies.  He stressed that the current system is cumbersome and does not encourage investment in real estate.

Also, the guest speaker, Monday Ubani  who described the Lagos Land Grabbers law 2016 as commendable,  however said its effectiveness will depend on its implementations.

Earlier the  chairman of ERCAAN, Lagos state chapter, Godwin Alenkhe called on government  to engage professionals  to help in formulating and implementing  various policies governing land matters.

The traditional institutions, he said , should have roles  to play because they owned the history of the  land  and  therefore should be   more organized in order to  give transparency and integrity to the process of land documentations..

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