Towards improving land administration, the Edo State government has held meeting with traditional and community leaders, as well as other stakeholders across 30 communities in Edo South Senatorial District.
Governor Godwin Obaseki, at the interactive session/workshop held in Benin City, noted that the registration of a community land is the only proof of ownership by the people of the community.
Other stakeholders at the meeting include the Nigerian Institute of Landscape Horticulturists, Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Nigerian Society of Engineers(NSE), Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), amongst others.
Obaseki said, “Every community must come to register its land with the government to enable us to document it within our master plan. If you don’t register it, it’s not your own. Registration is now proof of ownership of community land and before you sell, you have to show us your layout, which must conform with our master plan or else we will not allow you to sell.
“If there is one thing this administration will be leaving behind, it’s a master plan for Edo people, looking out for the next 30 years. As a government, our plan is to give the state and people a direction to follow.
“Our master plan will be our Bible as every building must conform with the master plan. We don’t want the issue of building collapse in the state.”
He continued: “There must be a building approval before building commences. Every building must have a plan approval.
“We are trying to make our cities beautiful and attract investors. Mistakes have been made, but we can’t continue in the same way, going forward. We, as an administration, will put an end to the land grabbing issue in Edo State. Every inch of land taken by land grabbers from the owners will be retrieved and returned to the owner and we will ensure that the owners conform with the state’s master plan.”
Noting the government’s efforts to improve land administration, Obaseki said, “Our Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) is the cheapest in Africa and I have instructed them to increase the rate from January 2023. I urge Edo people to do the needful and take advantage before it’s increased.
“We have made substantial investment in Edo-GIS and will not have a situation again where land grabbers will operate. When you do not have a master plan and a layout, there will be confusion. We are here to show you the master plan and how to ensure this is implemented to the fullest. This can’t be possible without your support. After the master plan, nobody will build any house without a building plan.
“No more indiscriminate building of houses without conforming to our master plan. Every money stolen from victims by land grabbers will be returned. We must ensure they don’t exist again in our land. We are planning because we don’t want our state to fail.”
The governor further stated, “the land is important to us because all we do is done on the land. For over 700 hundred years, we have developed a land management system that all are aware of and respect. The Benin Empire is one of the most organised in Africa in the way we carry out our affairs as a state.”
On his part, the Edo State Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, said, “Our administration will ensure that the issue of land grabbing is a thing of a past. The Enigies from various communities need to register their lands and ensure it’s gazetted to ensure that the land grabbing issue become a thing of the past.”