The Ogun State Bureau of Lands and Survey (BLS) raked in more than N4 billion into the coffers of the state in 2009, a whooping 1,900 percent increase over the less than N200 million it generated in 2004.
Director General, Ogun State BLS, Mr. Gbenga Ogunnoiki, disclosed this recently in a media chat on sundry issues involving land administration, influx of investment and appointment of land revenue consultantsÂ in the state.
He noted that over the years, since 2004, the BLS has liberalised land allocation and land acquisition procedures and processes in Ogun State.
â€œIn 2009, we generated more than N4 billion revenue into the state coffers from a revenue of under N200 million that we met in 2004. The Bureau will meet its target this year by the grace of God. The reason is because we have actually revolutionised land management and administration in Ogun State. And of course, because we have professionals at the helm of affairs and we are doing our things professionally as well as using the unusual business approach of Ogun State government.
â€œOne of those approaches we intend to use this year is the introduction of Land Revenue Consultants. We introduced the concept of land revenue consultants into our operation because we want to get to the grassroots as well as interact with the Community Development Centres (CDCs) and Community Development Areas (CDAs) in the state. We also want to take our operations to the local government level, go to people at their various homes and ask if they have got their Cs of O or any registered title instrument and if not, we want to help them.
â€œWe cannot do it alone which is why we decided to involve land revenue consultants. Besides, the essence of engaging these consultants is also to do property evaluation in the state, so that we would be able to know what and where we have things. Those are the things we have to do and it would also boost our databank in Ogun State,â€ he stated.
Ogunnoiki asserted that all steps taken by the Ogun State BLS to ease land acquisition in the state is largely responsible for the influx of companies into the state. â€œThe state is known as investment destination of choice, the reason being that government has put in place a lot of measures to accommodate and also encourage as well as support businesses, be it small scale, medium enterprises, big businesses, local and international investment alike. We give them access to land freely. There is perfect serenity and tranquillity in our state, which has also encouraged investment.
â€œBesides, the state is also taking advantage of contiguity to Lagos, the commercial centre of the nation. The overflow of urbanisation is having its impact. The population from neighbouring states has made us to position ourselves as New Jersey is to New York. So you can now see why companies like Nestle Nigeria Plc, Lee Group of Companies, Leventis Nigeria Plc, Parco Group of Companies and many other blue chip companies as well as the Nigeria Postal Service, which is setting up its regional mail sorting centre for West Africa in the state, have come to Ogun State,â€ he remarked.
On the position of the new GIS_based Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) introduced by the Bureau, Ogunnoiki said it has helped to eliminate the usual bureaucracy and problems associated with procurement/processing of C of O in the past.
â€œThe Geographic Information System (GIS) is capable of doing so many things. One of them is the GIS-based C-of-O.
It is a new C-of-O, with all the trappings of security and many enshrined and embedded security codes. It is a C-of-O that is one of the best in the country. Before we came out with the GIS-based C of O, we went to Abuja GIS and other states that had started the new C-of-O. We sat down and came out with something better. The new C-of-O project is still on, the governor has started signing and we have given people up till June 2010 to change their old C of O under a process known as re-certification,â€ he said.