Land Administration Made Easy With OLARMS In Ogun - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Monday, November 15, 2021

Land Administration Made Easy With OLARMS In Ogun



The Daily Crucible | Published Monday,  November 15, 2021

By Kunle Sokunbi

Globally, land is regarded as one of the key natural resources that individuals, organisations and governments harness for wealth creation and prosperity. Suffice to say that the place of land in the economic development of any nation cannot be overemphasised, one can therefore hypothesize that land remains the most important factor without which no meaningful production of goods can be made.

In this part of the world, land ownership is often through inheritance as it is usually transferred from one generation to another. It is therefore not strange to find a situation whereby more than one family will lay claim to a piece of land, or in some cases, members of the same extended family selling the same parcel of land to different people. More often than not, victims lose such land or in some cases, are made to repurchase such land.

It is also not uncommon to find situations whereby owners of such land bought from families are made to part with varying, and sometimes outrageous sums of money while putting up their structures. This anomaly made some prospective buyers vow not to have anything to do with any land purportedly owned by a family as they are not ready to contend with land grabbers and speculators, referred to in local parlance as ‘omo onile’.

As a way out, such individuals or organisations opt for government-owned lands, believing that such is more secured and reassuring. Experience has however shown that even government-owned land may not be totally insulated from troubles associated with land ownership in sub-Saharan Africa as matters relating to administrative or bureaucratic bottleneck, leading to delayed or double allocation often crop up.

These obstacles have somewhat discouraged not a few prospective land buyers and investors from venturing into  businesses requiring land in any or most parts of the country, thus slowing down general socio-economic development.

In Ogun, land and its management are what crude oil is to Nigeria, it is a money-spinning natural endowment that forms the integral source of generating revenue internally. The Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun alluded to this recently when he described land as “our own crude oil in Ogun State”.

The governor had noted that “we must manage our land resources to ensure the present and future prosperity of our State is assured as we also aim at harnessing the State's land mass to further demonstrate the commitment of government to deepen the Ease of Doing Business as well as provide the needed ambience for business to thrive in the State". 

 One will therefore not be wrong to describe land as the goose that lays the golden egg. Reason for the prime position given to land in Ogun State is not far-fetched. The State has a land mass of over 16,000 square kilometres, coupled with its comparative and competitive advantages resulting from its strategic location and proximity to Lagos State, the commercial capital of the country.

Ogun is seen to be literally sitting on a gold mine, which, if properly harnessed could make it less dependent on the monthly Federal Allocation from Abuja. It therefore stands to reason that any government that is worth its salt will do its utmost to harness the potentials which land presents to generate wealth and achieve economic growth.

Determined to ensure a seamless land administration in the State, the incumbent administration under the leadership of Governor Dapo Abiodun, has continued to ingeniously embark on initiatives that guarantee prosperity of the people by providing the prerequisite conducive environment for attracting investments to the State. One of such initiatives is the Ogun State Land Administration and Revenue Management System (OLARMS) launched recently in Abeokuta, the State capital.

Armed with a dedicated portal, www.olarms.ogunstate.gov.ng, OLARMS is designed to provide a contemporary online solution, streamline and ensure seamless process of purchase, administration and management for potential land buyers. With this in place, interested individuals and corporate organisations can now access and acquire land in specified government-owned estates from the comfort of their homes.

Such estates that are readily available are Hill Crest Estate and President Muhammadu Buhari Estate, Kobape, both in Abeokuta, while others, such as the New Government City, Kobape, Abeokuta, Evergreen Estate, Adigbe, Abeokuta, Mixed Scheme, Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, Magboro, Ilaro LUD, Sagamu Ogijo Road, Recreation Park, Ode-Omi, Epe Mojoda Scheme, and Lekki/Epe road are in the offing.

Apart from creating the needed enabling environment for businesses to thrive, OLARMS will also engender transparency and accountability in land management, eliminate revenue leakages, rebuild public trust in the process of land purchase and title documentation as well as provide conveniences in land related transactions.

 Another component of OLARMS is the Property Registration Programme (PRP) which provides a rare opportunity for residents and entrepreneurs who have encroached on land already acquired by the government across the State to regularise their documents.

Shedding more light on the PRP, the State Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) to the Governor, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo said: “The PRP is very simple and it focuses only on government acquisition, not everywhere in Ogun State, but it covers industrial, commercial and residential acquisitions of government that people have encroached. So, if you have built on government acquisitions, without purchasing that land directly from government, now you have an opportunity to regularise or ratify the title documents of those properties",

OLARMS is also designed to address the issue of uncompleted applications for the Home Owners Charter, processed by the last administration. This becomes imperative as the current administration has discovered several cases of uncompleted applications running into hundreds of thousands from the Home Owners Charter programme. With OLARMS, applicants who fall into this category can now heave a sigh of relief as their documents have been digitised and put on the OLARMS platform for easy processing as the current government is poised to clear all backlogs.

Beyond providing the much needed solutions to the myriad of problems associated with acquisition of land, OLARMS is also expected to complement the various revenue generating initiatives of Government as it is believed that when it becomes fully operational and applicants begin to massively subscribe to it, the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which presently stands at N75 billion, as of September 2021, is expected to increase to about N100 billion by the end of the year.

It was therefore not surprising to note that, in about two weeks of its launch, about 1,500 applicants have subscribed OLARMS. 

What is more? The Prince Dapo Abiodun administration has been unveiling programmes capable of reducing stress and enhancing the Ease of Doing Business index. The introduction of digital payment platforms, establishment of various Economic Development Clusters across the State and the Land Use and Amenities Charge among others readily come to mind here. With OLARMS coming on board, the indication is that prospective land buyers in the State would be on a rollercoaster as they are in for a good time because land administration is now made easy with OLARMS.

• Kunle Sokunbi, an Indigene of Ogun State,  writes from Abeokuta.

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