Fed Govt, Lagos move to settle rift on land ownership
By OKWY IROEGBU 8 hours 51 minutes ago
In Lagos, land is like gold. The high accommodation in the upscale areas of the state attests to this. It, therefore, does not come as a surprise that the crux of the altercation between the Federal and Lagos is on which of tier of government controls the ‘Black Gold’ in Nigeria’s commercial headquarters. Investigations by The Nation reveal that about 70 per cent of the state landmass is under federal control because the state once served as the seat of the Federal Government. The imbalance in land ownership has largely affected real estate development, but with the near resolution of the impasse between both parties, the sector may yet witness unprecedented growth, writes OKWY IROEGBU.
There are indications that the stalled housing development in the high brow and middle class areas of Lagos will soon be revived with the near resolution of the disagreement between the state and Federal Government.
There has been contention on whose domain resides the available land mass meant for construction and some of the abandoned housing projects.
The Federal Controller, Ministry of Lands, Housing, Urban Development, Lagos, Mr Temitope Olayinka Onaeko, explained that the problem of the state is land based because a larger percentage of it is on water, adding that land is the greatest resource of the state.
He said: “The Federal Government has between 60 and 70 per cent of landmass in Lagos State and this is the crux of disagreement between her and the state.
“There would have been increased housing development in the Lagos, especially from the massive empty plots in Ikoyi and Ikeja, but they have been stalled as the state has refused to issue development permits to developers and private sector operators engaged by the Federal Government to develop houses.”
He said: ‘’Though we have provided funding and the needed land for the earmarked projects, they cannot take-off because the state denied them approval plans, but very soon the gray areas will be sorted out.”
Onaeko said the government is trying to harness to the full benefit of the vacant housing estates previously occupied by federal civil servants in Satellite Town, Ikoyi and Ikeja GRA as a result of the monetisation policy of government.
The Controller also disclosed that his ministry is also embarking on site and service scheme in Abesan, Epe, Ikorodu and Iyana-Ipaja to serve the low income earners.
However, he stressed that the government is looking beyond the land rift to collaborate with the state on Millenium Development Goals (MDG’s) in of water provision and street lightning.
The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms Ama Pepple, said under the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda and Vision 20:2020, the provision of accessible and affordable housing remains one of the strategic national imperatives for guaranteeing the well-being and productivity of the citizens and provides one of the most potent platforms for job creation.
She said the government new line of thinking is to partner with the private sector in housing delivery due to the huge capital outlay.
She said: “Real estate development requires huge capital outlay and it is recognised that the government alone cannot tackle the problem. The government requires partnership with private practitioners in the real estate industry to create the necessary infrastructure at the desired scale. Therefore, the government at all levels, are expected to play the key role of facilitators.”
The Minister, who was represented by the Director, Architectural Services in the ministry, Mr Gidado Sani, said the government has opportunities in the sector and it encourages national, international and multi-nationals to avail themselves of them.
In furtherance of government’s policies to move the sector forward, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria(FMBN) was recapitalised to reposition it to meet the challenges of real estate with internal strategies that will make mortgage lending easy for citizens.
She reiterated that the government has strengthened its site and service scheme to develop infrastructure at different locations across the country to enhance suitable housing development through a well-planned environment to reduce urban sprawl, informal and haphazard housing construction, lacking in basic services.
She pledged the readiness of the government to pursue tirelessly the provision of housing to assist, especially the vulnerable sector of the economy and the poor who cannot on their build decent accommodation. (emphasis added)