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..