By Festus Ahon
ASABA—GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, yesterday inaugurated a committee on the collection of ground rent with a view to streamlining land administration in the state.
Inaugurating the committee, with the Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun David Edevbie, as Chairman, Okowa said: “It is important that we realise that payment of ground rent is mandatory, without which perfection of a land document is not complete. It has become necessary for the government to constitute a committee that will ensure timely resolution of all issues pertaining to ground rent administration in Delta State in our quest to streamline land administration for efficiency, proper documentation and value addition.
To consolidate the gains of the Electronic Land Management System, we have deemed it fit to constitute a committee to look into the issue with a view to ensuring that all land owners fulfill their obligations to the state government by paying ground rent.
“The committee has the mandate to make the process as seamless and painless as possible and for a start, all residential land owners are to be assessed for only two years as against the six years required by law. This is to reduce the burden on an already burdened citizenry grappling with the pains of an economy in recession. The committee is to advise on policy formulation for ground rent management; implement collection of ground rent, including making claims on behalf of government and investigating counter claims by land title holders; have the authority to investigate and where possible, query title status of large assets occupiers.”
According to the governor, the committee’s terms of reference also include, “collation of information on every land asset occupier in the state, whether titled or untitled; and take action on any and every other issue incidental to the foregoing terms of reference after clearing with relevant authorities.”