The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has urged directors of lands at both federal and state levels to proffer solutions to issues hindering land administration and management nationwide.
Mr Fashola made this call at the opening ceremony of the 27th Conference of Directors of Lands in the Federal, States, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) held in Abuja.
The minister said given the erroneous interpretation of the land use act and conflicting roles in administering land by various tiers of government, the conference was expected to achieve a mutual intergovernmental relationship.
Mr Fashola said the conference would highlight the powers of each level of government in land acquisition and management.
“The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, representing the federal government, being one of the federating units, is responsible for providing housing for Nigerians.
“It is pertinent to note that there have been conflicts in the administration and management of these lands between the federal and state governments,” the minister said.
According to him, the conflicts called for more collaborations between the tiers of government on land administration.
Mr Fashola, represented by Godwin Ityoachimin, director of lands and housing development, FMWH, therefore, tasked the participants to critically examine issues such as land acquisition for government projects and prompt payment of compensation to dispossessed owners.
Other issues he enumerated are an additional cost to the government for delayed compensation payments, trespass and encroachment of federal government land, unplanned development of land and maximisation of land resources.
The minister expressed optimism that the conference would come out with a meaningful and workable solution to the problems confronting land administration and management at the various tiers of government.
In his remarks, the permanent secretary in the ministry, Bashir Alkali, represented by Uzo Chukwuwike, urged participants to put the interest and needs of Nigerians in focus while performing their duties.
“Knowing that land is central to the overall existence of our nation, critically examine the land administration/management issues under the Land Use Act and come up with solutions to eliminating areas of conflict among the operators,’’ Mr Alkali said.
Godwin Ityoachimin, director, lands and housing development, FMWH, said the conference was to address the challenges in the land use act.
“A law is as good as the people that implement it. So it has been very challenging relating with the tiers of government in the past, the state governors have been ascribed so many powers.
“It is true the law gives them so much power, but in the exercising of these powers, there are abuses here and there, and then at the federal level it impacts negatively on our services, we are unable to reach Nigerians,” he ssid.
Speaking from the legal perspective, Benjamin Okolo, director, legal services, FMWH, said given the challenges in the act, it should be comprehensively amended and moved to the concurrent legislative list of the constitution.
He also recommended that federal and state ministries in charge of lands and urban development collaborate to have memoranda presented to the National Council of States for the issuance of regulations.