What are the success factors of the administration of Governor Aminu Bello Masari in land administration?
This administration under Governor Aminu Bello Masari, has brought a lot of improvement in the land sector. Before it’s coming on board, land has been looked upon as a source of political patronage instead of viewing it as a resource, Hence no much effort was made in the land administration development.
I can give you so many examples. First and foremost, before the coming of this administration, the whole system of land administration was analogue. Everything was done manually, but this administration came in, and we sat down and repositioned the sector to one of the best practices in the world. We have digitised the administration of land in Katsina State.
Also, before files were assembled in analog and kept in the locker, but now all files are imputed and stored in computers. We look up other sister agencies intending to ensure everything is digitalised. And we are on the last lap of fully digitising our Geographic Information System (GIS) to meet up with what is happening in the world. Right now we’re about 60 per cent GIS compliance.
Again, before the coming of this administration, the numbers of certificates being executed were very low, and you know that’s where the revenue comes from and where the security of tenure also comes in.
I believe from the time this state was created in 1987 to 2015, the signed executed certificates whether by the Governor or in his proxy signed were not up to 4,000 completely, but as I am talking to the present administration knowing the value of land and knowing what land stands for as a resource, hardly you take a file for signing and it will take two days except if he is not around.
Right now we have over 18,000 executed certificates, which the governor either signed or his proxy signed.
Thirdly, if you take the issue of the planning board and survey department, as well as the whole ministry before the coming of this administration, only the commissioner and the permanent secretary, had operation vehicles, but with the coming on board of the government, the planning board has at least more than four operational vehicles. Even the general manager has about two vehicles that he uses.
The same thing with the survey department and even here, each department has a Hilux and, you know how to land activities involve moving from one place to another. So if you are incapacitated without logistics, you can’t work adequately.
So, right now we are GIS compliance and also on mobile. And to add to it, he allowed us to take in some new staff because some are ageing, and a lot of personnel have retired. So the Governor allowed us despite the economic challenge to employ people in all the three MDAs.
He accepted and recognised those associations, that deal with land like “Dilale”, these informal people that deal with lands, the Tipper people selling sand, and road transport workers, among other local agents in the state. He made sure that their unions are recognised and brought into the process.
All these committees that deal with land are the constitutional adviser that he set up, he has done that of the land user allocation’ committee, model members, streets naming and house numbering committee.
And to cap it all, he sent us to Malaysia with the United Nation where we signed a charter with the United Nation habitat and the state is going to benefit greatly from the treaty.
The ministry has signed a lot of international programs ranging from safe tax, United Nations habitat, and UNICEF among others. These will enhance the capacity of the staff in terms of training and workshops. And we are also working with them to see to the improvement and success of the state.
On the revenue generation, I cannot give you an estimate of what the ministry is generating but we are the second in revenue generation in the state, apart from the board of internal revenue, next is the ministry of land and survey. And we are going to do more if we do that by capturing land titles.
What are the challenges you face while reforming the sector?
The major challenge we had is with people that don’t want to comply with the law, because of previous experiences which I told you, people don’t get their land certificated. So, they become saturated and they don’t have faith in the whole system.
But we were able to change their mindset and restore their confidence through public sensitisation and awareness concerning the reform we’ve made, and of course, a lot of people are coming in to register their sub plan and what have you.
The only problem we are having is still awareness because many people don’t know that they can get their certificates now within two weeks or one month, instead of getting at least two years before you can even get an offer that’s right of grant. So that’s the challenge we are facing most.
The welfare of workers is cardinal for effective service delivery, what do you have to say in this regard?
You know the system in Katsina is a centralised system in terms of welfare. And I believe Katsina is one of the very few states that doesn’t joke with the welfare of their staff. Workers’ salaries come in as when due, all our allowances, holiday, annual leave and grants all come in and are well attended to. Even if we have other challenges like training, we often get sponsored.
Since the coming of this administration in 2015 to date, at least more than 20 persons have been employed in the ministry, when you go to the planning board, about 11 people have been employed. It’s only the survey department, I think they employed about 4-5 people. Two from the education department were deployed to the main line in the ministry and one from the local government to the survey department.
How would you like to see Katsina State in the near future?
My expectation is when we are fully GIS to see that each person’s land is captured and documented digitally and each parcel of land has a tenure system. I mean, it has a certificate, it’s recognised, the owner will have that guarantee to which is the certificate for any purpose, either as a bail way fund or for mortgage or just to secure your tenure. My ambition is for each parcel of land to be known and to be captured and for whoever owns land in Katsina to have entitlement to that land.
How would you describe working under Governor Aminu Bello Masari?
You know, he’s a big brother, that’s one. And secondly, he’s open and you can sit and argue with him for one hour. So if you can carry the day to allow him, he doesn’t have any problem because he’s not corrupt. He has never asked me to give him land or to give his wife or anybody. So most of the things we do, he’s objective and seeing that I also much careful
My message to the people, especially those who are in charge of lands, should understand what we have done and come to the ministry. We are working as partners to see the progress of our people and the state.