By Genevieve Aningo
Asaba—For the over 4,500 property owners on designated government lands in Asaba, it was a huge relief as Delta State has made good its decision not to demolish their houses as it inaugurated a task force to regularise the titles for owners of such buildings.
The state Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Development, Chief Dan Okenyi, noted that the programme affects property on government lands in Core Area IIA in Asaba.
According to him, under the amnesty arrangement which would approved by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, a range of fees will now be paid by the property owners in the area that will cover land allocation, approval of building plans and issuance of the new digital Certificate of Occupancy, C of O.
“However, the amnesty comes with a caveat: All fees should be paid within a 90-day period.
“In addition, houses built on channels designated as drainage route may be pulled down while buildings that do not meet minimum standards on safety may be revisited.
“For residential buildings, the fees range from N1.5 million for land up to 1,000 square metres, N2.5 million for lands between 1,000 to 3,000 and N3.5 million for those from 3,001 square metres and above.
“Commercial buildings have a fee ofN2 million for lands up to 1,000 square metres, N3 million for those between 1,001 and 3,000 square metres while those over 3,001 square metres attract a fee of N4 million.”
Okenyi, who undertook a tour of the affected areas said the lands belong to the government but were illegally acquired by individuals who did not ascertain their status before proceeding to develop.
“However, Governor Okowa decided not to walk the path of demolition of buildings as is the case in other states and the set of fees approved for the owners of the buildings to obtain legal ownership.”
Okenyi said those affected were expected to pay the fees and obtain titles to the lands within 90 days.
He said the approval was in furtherance of the governor’s resolve to take decisions based on the best interest of the people of Delta State.
“Senator Okowa rejected all suggestions for government to retake the land saying that such a move will impoverish hardworking people,” Okenyi said.
The task force is led by Mr. Alex Eboka, a surveyor with Mr. Chuks Iku as secretary. It is expected to issue notices to owners of the buildings based on the evaluation of the lands.