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Homeowners’ charter: Applicants express worry over slow process

By Gbenga Akinfenwa
05 June 2016   |   2:30 am
Residential property owners in Ogun State, who applied for the state’s Homeowners’ Charter programme, have expressed worry over what they termed government’s slow motion in concluding the process.
Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, flanked by executive members and Homeowners’ Charter beneficiaries, during the distribution of Certificate of Occupancy (CoO), at the Arcade Ground, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, flanked by executive members and Homeowners’ Charter beneficiaries, during the distribution of Certificate of Occupancy (CoO), at the Arcade Ground, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

Govt Assures Programme Is In progress

Residential property owners in Ogun State, who applied for the state’s Homeowners’ Charter programme, have expressed worry over what they termed government’s slow motion in concluding the process.

Launched in December 2013, it was meant to assist homeowners to regularise the legal status and documentation of their residential property, built without approval on private land or built illegally on government owned lands.

The programme, according to government, was expected to provide discounts of up to 78 per cent on the usual cost.

The scheme was also aimed at providing data for the medium-term planning for provision of roads, schools, hospitals and other essential services. It was also aimed at addressing issues of unrecorded properties, while thousands of houses in the state without building plan approval, certificate of occupancy (CoO) and other title documents, will be properly documented within a short period.

Those who spoke with The Guardian said since the governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun assumed office for his second term, expectations were high that he would fast-track the process, but unfortunately, exactly a year after he returned to office, the pace of the programme has been relaxed, raising anxiety.

Those who have not received any notification of the receipt of their forms, two years after submission have expressed worry that they may be at the losing end.

For instance, an applicant, Alhaji Kabir Alabi Garba, who lives at Akeredolu town, Lambe, a suburb of Akute, in a chat with The Guardian, revealed that since the inspection of his house and others in the neighborhood in July 2014, there has been no further information from the ministry in charge.

He noted that though other people in the area received information, but he and a couple of others are still in the dark on the issue nearely two years after. “I was the one who drove the officials around that day, but still in shock that almost two years, we have not received any information. I am waiting for them.”

Another worried applicant, Mr. Olusegun Sidick, who resides in Ijako area of the state, disclosed that after the speedy processing of his application and paying of the stated fee since last year, he was yet to get further information on what is delaying the issuance of the CoO.

While speaking with The Guardian, he expressed worry that he might eventually not get the land title, “because in the next one year, the governor will busy himself with serious politicking on who to succeed him and might eventually not have time for us anymore.”

Why advising the state government to accelerate the processing of the title documents, he appealed to them not to play with the conscience of the people, noting that they should justify the trust applicants reposed in them.

He noted that one of the issues affecting the programme, is the use of manual method to document information. “At this time and age, when the use of computer is necessary for documentation, gathering and processing of data, field officers rely solely on the use of manual documentation and presentation of data, which in the real sense has led to several mix-ups, omission of names and several needless errors.”

The Director General Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Biyi Ismail, who revealed that over 150,000 people applied for the programme said some applicants are responsible for majority of the problems hampering the speedy process of their applications.

“Issues like wrong spelling of names and addresses, incorrect phone numbers, are serious challenges to us. Some don’t follow up and we’ll need to be looking for them. Some don’t even submit the necessary documents. It is after submitting the documents that they will be batched, but majority of them did not follow that process, which is the major reason.

“Though it is cumbersome, but we are really working on them, its not a one day thing, there may be little delay but we are working because it is a continuous process. People need to verify from time to time, they cannot just sit at home. Anybody that needs any information should just come to the Bureau. We have issued CoO to 1,000 people this year and another batch will get theirs by next week,” he said.