Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on Monday inaugurated an 11-man committee on land reform with a view to unlocking economic potentials of land in the state.
Addressing the committee in Akure, Akeredolu identified inconsistent land policies, uncoordinated execution, poor monitoring and evaluation as factors militating against effective governance of the land sector.
The governor said that he had directed the state Ministry of Lands and Housing to urgently explore possible means of correcting past lapses and anomalies in land use.
According to him, the ministry has been specifically mandated to focus on acquisition of land for public and private use.
The governor added that the ministry should also ensure procurement of title deed, commercialisation through land use charge, digitisation of the land process, mapping of the state, legal reforms as well as management and monitoring of land.
“These became imperative for obvious reasons as this administration needs to break grounds to shore up the state’s revenue base in order to meet its ever increasing demand and be responsive to people’s needs.
“Our major desire is to undertake measures aimed at tapping all vital resources to strengthen the state’s social-economic base.
“One major means of achieving this is to embark on aggressive land reform that will not only enhance our revenue generation capacity, but will also provide a secured environment for prospective and potential investors.
“It is the only sure way to instill confidence in the system,” the governor said.
He expressed confidence that the reform would be comprehensive, pragmatic and simple enough to enable the people to buy into its overall goal of improving the quality of life of the people.
Akeredolu said that efficient governance and responsible use of land would attract large scale agricultural investment.
He said that these would also enhance job creation through entrepreneurship and industrialisation.
The governor gave an assurance that the committee’s recommendations would be instrumental in charting a new course for the state on land.
Akeredolu, therefore, enjoined members of the committee to be efficient in discharging their duties.
Earlier, Mr Donald Ojogo, the state Commissioner for Lands and Housing, had said that there was need for a holistic as well as more enduring and effective land management and acquisition system in the state.
“We observed that the state, with a total land mass of about 15,500 square kilometres and having a population of about 3.6 million people would be under pressure to effectively manage its land.
“The committee will come up with a lot of measures that would eradicate human errors in the administration and acquisition of land in the state,’’ he said.
The commissioner stated that the Land Reform Committee would ensure that policies were initiated and developed for proper implementation with minimum errors in administration and management of land.
Responding on behalf of the committee, its Secretary, Mr Wale Adegoke, who thanked the governor for the opportunity to serve, gave an assurance that members would not compromise on the confidence reposed in them.
”As population grows, there would be issues of proper allocation of lands as population grows.
“The committee will chart a way forward and present recommendations that would ensure that land is effectively managed within best practices.
“We will also ensure inter-agency collaboration in the use of land data as well as delivering value while unlocking the economic potentials of land in the state,” he stated.
Our correspondent reports that the committee has former Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Prof. Peter Awoniyi, as Chairman.