The Commissioner for Land and survey, Hon. Festus Fuanter said a case study of over 60,000 registered land files in his Ministry shows that about 50,000 of the files are owned by non indigenous people despite indigenese having 90 percent of land and houses in the state.
He said land or properties titles have stopped being just an article of ownership but has gone ahead to be instruments of economic empowerment stressing that most indigenous people of Plateau State have been impoverishing themselves for not acquiring land or property titles.
The Honorable Commissioner made these revelations recently during an interview with Journalists held in his office in Jos the Plateau state capital. He said the ministry has granted 50 percent waivers for the processing of land documents, and have made it very clear to 15 local government areas that people can get their land titles at the cost of N25,000 including farming areas because it make it easier for farmers to access agricultural loans using the land as a collaterals which most farmers don’t know about.
The 50 percent waiver is not applicable to Jos and Bukuru metropolis because they are the commercial headquarters of the state. As part of his intervention in making land documentation easier for civil servants to own land or property titles in the state upon his assumption as Commissioner he said. “We wrote to the head of service to make the list of all civil servants in Plateau state who have properties ranging from houses or plot of land and the ministry of land, urban and town planing will process and give them title documents for C of O and then in returns spread the cost of processing these documents across their salaries for a period of one year which come to about N5,000 per month to enable them have a titles. Surprisingly, is about 8 months now, no civil servants have taken advantage of this opportunity,” he lamented.
Hon. Fwanter added that the ministry is faced with the problem of ground rents as most people don’t want to pay for their ground rent despite carrot and stick approach made by the ministry in reducing the documentation cost by 50 percent which Governor Simon Lalong accepted and approved by even extending the duration of the first instance the ministry gave to citizens but people are still taking it for granted.
“We are going to apply the carrot and stick approach and prosecute people who failed to pay their ground rents and we are going to take this very serious, the ministry of land and survey is considered as one revenue generator by this administration to meet up with campaign promises made to citizens, our next steps will be unpleasant to most people who don’t want to pay for their ground rents.”
He stressed that out of the N1.7 billion targets given to the ministry, about N450 million has been generated in the last 2 years covering about 14 percent of their target hopping that the stringent measures to be taken will enhanced the revenue generation expected of the ministry.
He said the ministry is seriously considering the revocation of lands not developed for the past 2 years, “Recently we have cause to revoked most of the land within our layout in Laminga, we have made it clear that those who did not developed their land in the last 5 years when titles were given to them will be revoked and allotted to new owners and surprisingly the old allottees are springing out wanting to develop their land but it is too late.”
The Commissioner pointed that with the effective commencement of the Plateau State Geographic Information System (PLAGIS) the ministry have been able to issue out land title documents to 100s of applicants who applied for land titles for the past 10 years in the state.
He said delay in the issuance of land title documents often push investors away to other States with better documentation processes which are not cumbersome, having created a one-stop-shop in the state alongside the ministry of commerce and industry together with a German NGO known as GIZ, a Chinese solid minerals processing company known as Pang yi group have taken advantage of the initiative by setting up factory in Wase area carrying out production already and intending to built a fertilizer blending plant as well.
Fwanterr added that new regulations have also created room for the Duncan group a concessionaire of the dry inland container deport in the state to continue with its project and will be commission by the end of June this year in a bit reposition the economic status of Plateau State.
He however called on citizens to corporate with the ministry of land and survey and take advantage of the waiver made in attaining their economic growth as the ministry keep sensitizing the general public on the good initiative put in place into land administration.