Sanwo-Olu
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

To operate land transaction digitally next year

..As state receives over 4,300 land grabbing petitions within 18 months

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday issued a stern warning to land and property permit approving agencies in the state to steer clear of sharp practices, saying that henceforth, any errant officer caught would be sanctioned according to the state property protection law.

Sanwo-Olu also disclosed that beginning from the first quarter of next year, all land-related transactions in the state will be undertaken online.

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The governor who made the remarks on Wednesday, at the first Lagos Real Estate Market Place Conference and Exhibition, themed: ‘Unearthing real opportunities in real estate, making Lagos a 21st-century economy,” organised by Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA), stated that residents and real estate practitioners are complaining about turn around time for permit approval. 

He said: “We have improved on our GIS solution to accelerating land matters in Lagos. From the first quarter of next year, we will be launching an online platform on which all land transactions will be done. 

“When the project kick-starts next year, there will be the one-stop shop for all transactions relating to land, including Governor’s approval on Certificate of Occupancy, CofO, and building approval by Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.

“We have given our commitment to this, because of the need to improve the turnaround time from when people submit their requests for approval and the time the authorisation is completed.”

Sanwo-Olu said the new development would bring about quick turnaround time in land transactions and boost private investors’ confidence in the provision of home ownership model that will address deficits in housing.”

The governor, therefore, charged residents and property developers applying for approvals to stop cutting corners and circumventing the process, stressing that sharp practices would only make it difficult for impatient applicants to get their documents approved.

According to him, “We as a government need to do things differently. That is why we have to sit down with you one of the areas I know you have problems with us is not only in lands but also physical planning. 

“We need to do a better job of physical planning, we need to do a better job of LASBCA and we need to do a quick turn around in our lands department, people want to have a positive experience.

“We have started it, we have on this GIS solution for a while, its a project we are desirous to go live on, once it kicks starts, what it means is that its one-stop shop. With it, you will be able to get your Governor’s Consent, approval, and Certificate of Occupancy, on time, all of the documentation for a subsequent transaction.”

The governor said the state government was working on all the indices to make Lagos competitive in terms of ease of doing business, especially as Lagos is compared with cities around the world.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka, said the conference was held with an objective to bring stakeholders in the property business in contact with relevant Government agencies and address bottlenecks slowing down property transactions.

She said LASRERA was created with a mandate to bridge the gap of credibility in the property business, pointing out that the Government responded to the yearnings of industry players, having realised there were genuine real estate practitioners and property developers, as well as genuine home and property seekers who were desirous of credibility in real estate transactions in Lagos.

Benson-Awoyinka said the regulatory agency, since inception, had set processes in motion to change the negative image of property development business and check malpractices which the sector had faced in the last decades.

During the panel discussion, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo said as part of efforts aimed at promoting ease of doing business led to the enactment of the state Property protection law in 2016.

Represented by a director in the ministry, Mrs. Kehinde Taiwo, Onigbanjo said the taskforce on land grabbing set up as a result of the law had received over 4300 petitions with over 2000 of such petitions concluded within the last one year and half of operation.

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