January 18, 2022

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GOGIS: Digitisation Of Land Administration To Improve Urban Planning, Support Infrastructural Development, Gombe Governor Says

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Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya says the digitisation of land administration embarked upon by his government is aimed at improving urban planning and supporting infrastructural development and other critical areas in the state.

The Governor stated this while declaring open a 2 day stakeholders engagement workshop on land administration, organised by the Gombe Geographic Information System (GOGIS).

Governor Inuwa Yahaya explained that it is an established fact that a just and efficient land administration system is necessary in order to guarantee ownership and security of tenure, provision of security, support land and property taxation, monitor land transactions as well as reduced incessant disputes associated with land.

“A good land administration system is also essential in order to improve urban planning, support infrastructural development and proper environmental management”.

He observed that Nigeria, like Gombe State, is faced with the challenge of ensuring proper and orderly land administration which his administration is doing everything necessary to change the archaic process of land management.

“You may wish to recall that while campaigning for election as the governor of this great state, we noted with great concern, some of these challenges which includes poor physical development planning, endemic corruption in land administration and unacceptable bureaucratic bottlenecks which have hampered the overall development of the state. During the campaigns, we stressed the need to correct all irregularities in land administration so as to ensure sustainable use and proper management of our land. Accordingly, one of the promises we made as contained in our manifesto, is that we will “ensure the maintenance of accurate database of all lands in the state and ensure speedy acquisition of land title documents”. To achieve these, we pledged that, if elected, we will “strengthen the Gombe State Geographical Information System (GOGIS) through adequate funding, staffing and equipping to enable the Agency deliver on its mandate”.

Governor Inuwa Yahaya said while the immediate past administration established GOGIS, it did not see to its proper take-off despite engaging consultants and contractors, thereby expending hundreds of millions in the process without any visible results.

“Today, all of you can bear testimony to the efforts we have made since assuming office to change the narrative by ensuring the successful take-off of GOGIS as an important agency of government through the provision of a state-of-the-art office accommodation, operational vehicles and other necessary equipment including modern ICT infrastructure thereby ensuring proper implementation of the first phase of its establishment as an institution. Similarly, we awarded the contract for the second phase of its take-off which includes full digitalization of land administration in the state”.

Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya said his administration has embraced the use of modern technology by awarding the contract for the aerial survey of the entire state using orthophoto technology in order to fast-track the issuance of digital certificates of occupancy as obtained in other states.

He said when completed, the project will upgrade the existing aerial photographs and Geographical maps of the state by producing high resolution (GIS) imagery which will enable clear identification of property boundary for the ease of application and issuance of digital certificate of Occupancy, C of O.

“Furthermore, in accordance with the provisions of the Land Use Act of 1978, we inaugurated the Land Reform Committee and charged it with the responsibility of identifying measures that needs to be taken in order to address all injustices, inconsistencies and corrupt practices encumbering efficient land administration and development in our dear state”

Governor Inuwa Yahaya remarked that base on the recommendations of the committee, his administration initiated bold reforms in order to right the wrongs.

“We signed Executive Order 4 in 2020 which seeks to check uncontrolled alienation of communal lands, ensure provision of basic physical and organisational infrastructure and expanded the radius of all existing urban areas, while creating new ones in all the local government areas of the state. Furthermore, following our realisation of the need to align with modern realities in metropolitan development, we initiated the Gombe Capital Special Development Zone project aimed at providing befitting structures, access roads and other facilities while also ensuring strict compliance with development control regulations in and around the state capital”.

Governor Inuwa stressed that land transactions, buildings and building plans approval were temporarily suspended at the area designated as Gombe Capital Special Development Zone pending the completion of layout auditing exercises and proper verification and re-certification of all land titles in the affected layouts.

He said as soon as these exercises are completed, the suspension will be lifted to allow individuals proceed with the development of their plots in line with the requirements of the law.

“To oversee the successful implementation of the capital development zone, a special project implementation ,monitoring and evaluation team has been appointed under the chairmanship of Prof. Namala Keptin Amuga and charged with the responsibility of ensuring a proper implementation of this designated areas in conjunction with all relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs)”.

He said as part of the reforms initiated by the designation of the Gombe capital special development zone, GOGIS has recently conducted a thorough audit of some of the affected layouts.

The Governor said preliminary findings from the exercise have revealed several distortions and illegal activities such as – blockage of 13 major access roads in GDP 16, 4 major roads in GDP 4 and another 4 major roads in GDP 4A, sub-division of the federal secretariat plot into personal and individual plots, deliberate change of purpose through the conversion of areas meant for public facilities such as hospitals, fire service and religious activities into residential plots, encroachment of building lines, illegal sub-division or merger of plots and irrational use of land titles amongst others.

“Recently, I approved the revocation of the 274 hectares piece of land located west of Hashidu Housing previously allocated to NNPC but left undeveloped for decades. This new layout will be used to accommodate the 250-unit NEDC Housing Project and the 1,000-unit Family Homes Fund project. Government will provide all necessary modern infrastructure such as access roads, street lights, shopping malls, schools, hospitals etc in order to ensure this layout is developed in line with modern real estate development standards. Equally, this new layout will also be used to compensate all people whose land may be affected by the redesign and rectifications to be carried out at the Capital Special Development Zone”.

He said it is in the context of these policies and initiatives that the workshop is been organised to explore all issues surrounding effective, efficient and just land administration in Gombe State.

Governor Inuwa Yahaya expressed the hope that the workshop will provide traditional, religious and community leaders the opportunity to freely interact with local government council chairmen and officials responsible for the implementation of our land administration reforms.

“It is my hope that, at the end of this workshop, stakeholders and government will build consensus on all issues around land administration in the state, develop strategies for improving communication,cooperation and understanding for the effective implementation of land administration and sustainable development policies of our government”.

He assured the people of Gombe State that his administration has no intention of dispossessing any individual or group of their legally acquired land titles.

Governor Inuwa Yahaya commended GOGIS for organising the stakeholders engagement which aims to further enlighten all relevant stakeholders in the state with the reforms that his government has introduced on land administration in line with global best practices.

Earlier speaking, the Commissioner of Lands and Survey, Mohammed Jahun Biri said the stakeholders engagement forum became necessary in view of the sharp practices inherent in land administration in the State.

He commended Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for paying keen interest in correcting the anormaly that had overshadowed land administration in the State and therefore called on all relevant stakeholders and the people of the State to support the initiative for the benefit of human and societal development.

The Director General of the Gombe Geographical Information System, GOGIS Dr. Kabiru Usman in his opening remarks said proper land administration and management is essential in not only managing the growth of a city but equally serves as a source of revenue generation.

He expressed appreciation to Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for holistically taking concrete steps in addressing the challenges associated with land administration in the State.

Ismaila Uba Misilli
Director-General
( Press Affairs)
Government House
Gombe

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