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Delta State Government on Saturday offered a detailed explanation as to why it might revoke the ownership of plots of land in Asaba and other urban areas that have remained undeveloped for over two years if no development of the allotted lands commenced in three months.
The warning was issued by the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu in Asaba. He deplored the attitude of some persons who acquired land from the state government but had left such lands undeveloped for long periods, saying that the situation was impeding the transformation of the environment through urban renewal efforts of the state government.
While noting that the decision was not meant to witch-hunt anybody, Aniagwu said that some of the undeveloped lands had become the den of kidnappers and robbers aside from defacing the state capital and other towns and cities in the state.
Aniagwu said that the state government had decided to invoke Section 5 of the Land Use Act to drive the process of reclaiming undeveloped plots of land.
According to him, nobody in government is looking for land to buy from those he tagged ‘land bankers’ but rather the interest of the state government was to develop the state in all spheres.
The information commissioner said that it was counter-productive to leave an acquired land undeveloped after three to 10 years of acquisition, with a Certificate-of-Occupancy from the state government.
Aniagwu stressed that the Okowa administration was determined to its Urban renewal programme aimed at ensuring employment creation, strengthening of security, and advancement of socio-economic development.
‘Individuals who had acquired lands from the state government with Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) have turned themselves into land bankers.
‘This means that instead of such individuals to develop the acquired lands, they leave them hence we still see bushes around our cities.
He further warned that anybody with a C-of-O of two years and above on a parcel of land acquired from the state government, but without any sign of development, will have such land(s) taken over by the government for better development.
Aniagwu said, ‘We have not employed anybody as a `land banker’. If you have been given land with a C-of-O and you have refused to develop the land, the land will be revoked and given to those who need it.
‘For clarification purposes, the lands involved are the ones in urban areas in the state that were acquired from the state government with C-of-O.
‘Three months is the maximum time for a landowner whose C-of-O is over two years to commence development, failing which the C-of-O of such land will be revoked or taken back by the government.
‘Our interest is the development of our state, bringing employment to our people and above all, providing security for our people in the cities.’ He added.
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