The Attorney to FUTO host communities and an Owerri based estate surveyor and values, ESV Chief Sam Anokam has commended the effort of the governor, His Excellency Sen. Hope Uzodinma for the recovery of the State stolen properties and private properties by the past administration who largely carried out the acquisition of private and government properties for personal use.
Chief Anokam who stated this in an interview with Nigeria Watchdog reporter on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021 said that the idea of recovery of stolen properties is not bad but should be looked at critically. Government is legitimate and continuim and according to the land use act, every land within the State is vested on the governor and it would be wrong that one bought a land from government, receipts and C of O’s were issued and the land developed and another government comes to nullify it.
Continuing, the implementation Committee may face some serious challenges because some innocent purchasers from government would obviously challenge the decision in court, then court will decide. He opined that if the implementation Committee go by the white paper truly to demolish, the entire landscape of Owerri will be littered with demolish sites.
Alternatively, he suggested that some of these properties can be converted to more profitable use for the purpose of earning revenue for the government and serving the needs of the society by regularising that transaction and payment of impunitive cost instead of demolishing the structure, by demolishing it, the developer has lost, the government has lost too and the land cannot be reversed to it’s former use.
Responding to a question, Chief Anokam said, land use within a State is subject to government control because as population increases the demand for land rises and the government is in position to measure the various forms of land use and quantities at different areas from time to time. We lack this process during the past administration but we are bringing it back by first of all recover all illegalities and situate it properly. But in situating properly he should make sure that it doesn’t affect innocent buyers who believe that whatever government does is right.
Responding to another question, Chief Anokam said, is not wise for those whose lands were forcefully taken and sold to another to confront them personally, that such would cause a huge crisis, but the people should through government machinery lead them to take a over process.
He further explained that land use act talked about government setting up land use and allocation committee which would constitute of experts in land matters to offer advice to the governor in the management and administration of land vested on him in trust for his people. This Committee according to him will act as advisory body to the governor on land matters. The governor therefore cannot act unilaterally, every issue that concerns land would be reviewed critically by this body before coming to conclusion of an advice to the governor.
But in all ramifications, if the government presumes that an action that was done before in terms of land management was faulty and the new administration can correct it, it therefore look at it on the action of law and due process and advice of the body set up.
He therefore advised that to avert such disasters in the future, people should follow the right process of land acquisition, adopt due process and avoid greed and influence, he concluded.