From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Delta State Government on Monday urged owners of undeveloped plots of land in choice locations to proceed to develop such land within the next three months or risk forfeiting it.
The government said it cannot continue to condone the attitude of some persons who have continued to hold down development after enjoying the privilege of being allocated land in the choice areas by the government.
Addressing journalists in Asaba, the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, said the policy of ‘operation develop your land’ would affect those who have refused to develop their allotted plots two years after it was allocated.
Aniagwu said at the expiration of the three-month ultimatum, the government would take advantage of the provisions of the Land Use Act to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy issued for the affected plots and re-allocat the land to willing investors and developers.
He said the government has already begun the process of enumeration to ascertain the number of plots of land that have not been developed since they were allocated.
‘As of today, we are giving them only three months notice, anybody who has been allocated a land with C of O issued by the government for more than two years, and has not commenced the process of development, the government will take advantage of the provision of Land Use Act and revoke the C of O and then make that land available to other persons who are ready to develop it,’ the commissioner said.
According to him, such undeveloped plots are not only distorting the master plan for the cities but are also negating the Okowa administration’s drive for a ‘transformed environment’.
‘We want a transformed environment but we can’t continue to have bushes of undeveloped plots in the middle of our cities. We will not look at faces in enforcing this policy, even if you are the governor’s and you have refused to develop you land after two years of allocation, we will revoke the C of O.
‘People applied for land from and government graciously gave them. Rather than develop such plots, they have continued to nurse the land, looking for when the price will appreciate for them to sell. For us, these are land speculators.
‘We want those ready to develop to have access to land. You can’t apply for land and government gives it to you only to go to Lagos or Abuja and sit down and allow our city to remain bushy because you are trying to make more money at the expense of our city.
‘We have not employed anybody as a land banker. If we give you land, proceed to develop. We are interested in fast-tracking our urban renewal drive.
‘Some of the land were allocated over ten years ago, and the only thing they do is to fence it and begin to nurture it for more dividends, that is not the reason it was allocated.
‘We are convinced that with what we have put in road development, willing investors are interested in taking advantage of available land to develop and bring about employment and thus curb crime,’ Aniagwu stated.