As part of efforts to improve land administration and make land grabbing a thing of the past in Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki has met with traditional, community leaders and stakeholders from over 30 communities in Edo South Senatorial District of the state.
Speaking at an interactive meeting in Benin City, Obaseki said that the registration of a community land is the only proof of ownership of the land by the people of the community.
Other stakeholders at the meeting include the Nigeria Institute of Landscape Horticulturists, the Nigerian Institute of Architecture, the Nigeria Institute of Builders, Nigeria Institute of Engineers, Nigeria Institutes of Surveyors and Nigeria Institute of Town Planners, amongst others.
“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 the 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 collapsed buildings in the state,” 0baseki said.
He said that there must be a building approval before building commences going forward and that every building must also have a master plan.
According to him, “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 back to the owner and we will ensure that the owners conform with the state’s master plan.”
Obaseki noted that the government’s efforts at improving land administration, such as securing a Certificate of Occupancy(C of O) is the cheapest in the continent
“Our 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 going forward 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.”
Speaking further, Obaseki said, “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, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu said, “Our administration will ensure that the issue of land grabbing is a thing of a past.
He urged the Enigies from various communities to register their lands and ensure it’s gazetted to ensure that the land grabbing issue becomes a thing of the past.