Nasarawa State has carved a niche for itself as having one of the best land administration systems in Nigeria. DONATUS NADI writes on the how the Nasarawa Development Platform has transformed land resource into the most potent source of Internally Generated Revenue in the past four years.
Land administration in states across the country is wrought with problems such as inability to meet the land requirements of the public, cumbersome process of getting the right-of-occupancy, frequent changing of public officers and government policies, poor record-keeping and inability of government to pay compensation in respect of acquired land, among others.
After almost two years geographical mapping, at the cost of over N300 million, Nasarawa state created a cogent pattern for land administration, physical development and revenue generation unprecedented in the annals of land management in Nigeria.
With revenue generation as one of its centerpiece, the Nasarawa Geographic Information Service (NAGIS), a component of Nasarawa Development Platform, has revolutionized the Internal Revenue Generation mechanism of the state, generating over N6 billion in four years.
Records of revenue returns on land administration in the state showed that as at 2007 when the previous administration of Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma assumed office, what accrued to the state from land administration stood at N29,283,254.71.
After efforts to develop a more competent digitalized structure for land administration mechanism met little success, as at 2011 when he was leaving office after four years, the sum of N34,810, 681.02 was realized, although the highpoint in this effort was recorded in 2010 when it got N53, 739, 195.09.
When Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura assumed office in 2011, he set about repositioning land administration to tap into its rich potentials and within one year the state realized over 1000 percent of its previous earnings on land.
As at 2012 the total sum of N317, 426, 306.29 was paid into the coffers of government as proceeds from land transactions. To achieve this, Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura had invested over N2.7 billion in the development of the Nasarawa Development Platform leading to an unprecedented revenue yield of N448, 020, 842.68 in 2013 representing an increase of over N130 million.
The land sector scaled the half-billion mark in revenue generation on land administration in 2014 when it realized the sum of N608, 689, 414.32.
In 2015, however, there was a decline in revenue generated by about N74 million although reasons for such downturn was more of a national economic phenomenon rather than administrative challenge with NAGIS.
The state commissioner of Lands and Town Planning, Mr. Sonny Agassi, explained that the year 2015 was peculiar not only to Nasarawa state but all across the nation as the economy suffered the backlash of economic recession occasioned by the crash in oil price at the global market.
He said, like any other commercial interest, land administration through procurement of titles and servicing of rents suffered setbacks and as a result the land sector recorded N534,238, 854.37 representing a marginal drop from N608,689,414.02.
Explaining further, Mr. Agassi noted that although there was a shortfall in the collected revenue, the revenue generated for the year 2015 stood at N1, 856, 723, 664.00. He said the shortfall experienced in collected revenue was as a result of the inability of those whose titles were ready to claim them as a result of the economic crunch.
The commissioner maintains that unlike in the years preceding Almakura’s administration from 1990-2011 which cumulatively generated and collected less than N200 million, in 2013 when the NAGIS project witnessed its first robust outing in revenue drive it generated N319,485,137.00.
The following year, in 2014, the state generated over N1.4 billion in revenue on land administration, scaling the billion Naira mark for the first time and collected N608 million which is also the highest collected in one year to date.
Although the revenue collected has always been lower than that collected, the state has consistently generated over half a billion Naira since 2014 with N534 million in 2015 and N517 in 2015 despite the economic recession.
Records obtained by LEADERSHIP showed that the success recorded by NAGIS is a direct consequence of the efforts of government in meeting its obligations. This is true to the effect that during Governor Abdullahi Adamu’s administration between 1999-2007, only a total of 3, 621 Rights of Occupancy (Rs-of-O) were delivered within 8 years. During Aliyu Doma’s four years between 2007-2011, a total of 717 Rs-of-O were produced and issued.
Within Almakura’s five years in office between 2011 to date, 3,324 were produced out of which 3,346 were collected, leaving 978 uncollected.
Similarly, in Abdullahi Adamu’s 8 years reign from 1999-2007 a total of 214 Certificates of Occupancy (C-of-Os) were printed signed and issued, while his successor, Doma, issued only 24 in four years.
From 2011 to dated, through the rejuvenated NAGIS land reform policy, Governor Almakura delivered 1,326 C-of-O, out of which 969 were collected with 969 yet to be collected.
Other reforms in land administration implies that application for statutory titles on lands in Nasarawa Stat must now be accompanied by proper survey plan in the bid fully implement government’s reforms in lands management and administration in line with international best practices.
The introduction of the new system is in strict compliance with relevant laws, particularly CAP 425 Laws of the Federation, as well as the regulation by Surveyors Council of Nigeria (SURCON).
In its bid to sustain the tempo and improve on its current achievements, Mr. Sunny Agassi has promised that NAGIS is poised to collect over N1 billionin revenue in 2017 promising further that Governor Almakura has also promised to sign over 1000 certificates of occupancy this year.
He explained that to march his words with action, the governor has already signed over 400 Cs-of-O in January and has promised to sign more monthly.
Other initiatives the Nasarawa Development Platform has embarked upon for the year is the commencement of work on the 13,000 hectare Kabusu/Gurku mega city project mean to rival the FCT.
On the front burner is also the implementation of the general land use and detailed district plans which aims to create a rational pattern for physical development. It is intended to harness the natural land potentials of Karu, Keffi and Lafia.
The commissioner of Lands and Town Planning, Mr. Sonny Agassi, said the goal of the plan is to present opportunities for sustainability of development taking into cognisance the natural resource endowment, economic base, population growth, opportunities and threats.
Agassi noted that the design contained in detailed district plan is tailored to be distinctive, sustainable and guarantee strong and safe neighbourhoods. When implemented in the various designated areas, it would produce cities that that reflect its historical and and current status of modern hierarchy in the state.
– Nadi wrote in from Nasarawa