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Decentralize the land registration system

Operators in the real estate industry on Wednesday advised the Federal Government to overhaul and decentralize the land registration system if the housing deficit in the country is to be reduced.

The experts said approval of land title deeds should not be the sole preserve of state governors, as this constituted a breach of human rights.

The experts are Dean, Faculty of Environmental Science, University of Lagos, Timothy Nubi; Executive Secretary, Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), Ayo Adejumo, and Chairman, Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), Kunle Awobodu.

The trio who spoke in Lagos advised government to liberalise the process of getting approvals to land documents. The existing Land Use Act of 1978 empowers only governors of a state to assent to land titles.

For Mr. Nubi, government should overhaul the Act to ensure titles to land were approved at lower levels of government.

“Efficient land registration system would enhance wealth generation, facilitate more housing developments and create investment opportunities,” Mr. Nubi said. “Many operators and companies have left the property industry due to difficulties encountered in the county’s land registration system.

“Immediate overall will speed up processing of applications for land titles by cutting-off unnecessary bureaucracies, financial demands, delays and other challenges encountered in the process.”

The Executive Secretary of ATOPCON, Mr Adejumo, said government should educate the general public about land policies, individuals’ responsibilities and right of ownership.

He said amendments to the land registration system were not in the domain of the general public. He added that government should stimulate people’s interest on land title registration and conversion of customary titles to statutory right of occupancy by reducing cost.

“Duplication of work, lack of consensus in decision making process with professionals, lack of public awareness and transparency have weakened rule of law and created a basis for corruption in the system,” he said.

The Chairman of BCPG, Mr. Awobodu, said the mortgage sector should be restructured to make it effective, while there should not be secondary mortgage market without a vibrant primary mortgage market.

Sustainability of housing development, he said, depended on effective mortgage system, pointing out that subsidising building materials, creation of credit facilities and enabling environment for the private sector to operate should be done.

Source: Premium Times

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