In a bid to curb land speculation and profiteering in Delta State, all undeveloped plots of land in the Core Area of Asaba, the Delta State capital, will be recovered and re-allocated to deserving people.
This disclosure was made by the Delta State Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Development, Chief Dan Okenyi, while inaugurating a committee to identify undeveloped plots in Asaba.
Addressing the newly inaugurated Committee, Okenyi said that; “owners of the undeveloped plots may no longer have the intention of fulfilling their obligation of building on the plots. In effect, they have become land speculators, holding out for the highest bidder or just waiting for land to appreciate further”.
In a statement issued and signed by Pius Mordi, Media Assistant to the Honourable Commissioner, the Delta Commissioner for Lands and survey further noted that “This situation is absolutely unacceptable”, adding that “while these people are engaging in illegal land speculation, many other Deltans who are willing and capable of developing such plots are denied the opportunity.”
On submission of the committee’s report in a month’s time, Okenyi said government will withdraw the Certificate of Occupancy for such lands and re-allocate them to Deltans who are yet to benefit from previous allocations and are willing to promptly develop the lands.
He said past administrations in the state had allocated plots of land to individuals and corporate organizations with the expectation that they would promptly proceed to develop their plots and spur the development of Asaba. While many beneficiaries of the allocations have gone ahead to develop their property, a significant number of recipients have failed to fulfill their obligations, he noted.
“The Core Area of Asaba is now dotted with swathes of undeveloped plots. The plots have also become unsightly and negate government’s desire of making Asaba one of the fastest developing state capitals in the country. Some now pose security risk as they have become operational bases for criminals and other unscrupulous people”, Okenyi said.
According to him, under the terms of the allocation of lands, beneficiaries are expected to develop such plots within two years of taking possession. However, some of the plots have remained undeveloped for more than five years while some beneficiaries simply fenced their plots and wrongly assumed that they had secured them. “I hereby warn all owners of undeveloped plots that building walls around such plots do not amount to development neither have they secured the plots”.
Okenyi urged the committee members to be fair, just and trasparent in the discharge of their duty, assuring that the recovering exercise will not bow to any status or social standing.
Responding, the chairman of the committee, Mr. Alex Eboka, pledged on behalf of his colleagues to be diligent in their assignment.
The committee which has 15 other members will submit its report within one month.