By Sarauniya G Usman
Mr Shehu Abubakar, Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Gombe State has called on all state governments to develop a proper land administration system to address the problems in the process of land acquisition.
He said this at the sidelines of the 1-day stakeholder ‘s Discussion Panel on Issues, Concerns and Rights on Land Acquisition for Development in Abuja.
the programme was organised by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) with the support of the World Bank Assisted Nigeria Electricity and Gas Improvement Project.
He said all states should come up with a geographical information system as doing this would solve a lot of land issues and also bring revenue for the government.
According to him land issues are prevalent in most states of the federation but if the states would have a well defined procedure and process on land acquisition these problems could be overcame.
“Apart from this, some of the things that cause these problems are lack of awareness. People need to be aware that government has right over land especially when it has to do with overriding public interest.
“It is the responsibility of some government agencies to create awareness but institutions are not doing that.
“Secondly, another issue is that sometimes for political sentiment people sometimes create disparity in payment because of their political connections. Another problem also is the attitude of the land owners themselves.
“Some land owners are resistance when it comes to taken over their lands for reasons best known to them,’’ he said.
The commissioner added that people should learn to make sacrifices especially when they see that such lands will be used for projects that will profit the generality of the communities.
He said that transparency was also an issue that affects land acquisition; he said most people do not deal honestly when it comes to land transactions.
“Sometimes people want to create some irregularities for selfish interests. Sometimes they undervalue or overvalue properties.
“ All these are the problems to be addressed if we want to have a transformed land administration system in the country.
He therefore called on the agencies responsible for creating awareness on land issues to be up and doing.
Abubakar said citizens should be well educated and informed on the fact that the laws in the Nigerian Constitution had vested the states and local governments with ownership of all lands in the state.