Sanwo-Olu Warns Physical Planning Agencies Against Sharp Practices

…As State Receives Over 4300 Land Grabbing Petitions  

By Benjamin Omoike

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday warned land and property permit approving agencies in the state, to live above board, saying his administration would no longer tolerate officers engaging in sharp practices in giving approvals.

Speaking at the first Lagos Real Estate market place conference and exhibition themed “Unearthing Real Opportunities In Real Estate, Making Lagos A 21st century Economy”, the governor stated that residents and real estate practitioners are complaining about turn around time for permit approval. 

He, therefore, said the Ministry of Physical Planning and Agencies under it, like the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Agency and Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), need to scale up and do a better job about physical planning approvals. 

Sanwo-Olu noted that the agencies need to be up and doing, especially as the real estate sector has the capacity to redefine the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), of the country, with Lagos not an exception.

He said,  “We as a government, we have looked at ourselves and said we need to do things differently . That is why we have to sit down with you one of the areas i know you have problems with us is not only in lands but also physical planning . We need to do a better job of physical planning , we need to do a better job of LASBCA and we need to do a quicker turn around in our lands department , people want to have a positive experience.

“We have started it, we have on this GIS solution for a while, its a project we are desirous to go live on, once it kick starts, what it means is that its one stop shop. With it, you will be able to get your Governor’s Consent, approval and Certificate of Occupancy, on time, all of the documentation for subsequent transaction.”

The governor noted that housing, real estate and property development is a critical sector and strong enabler that can help to transform the Gross Domestic Product GDP, of the state and by extension, the country. 

He said having a roof over one’s head is one the critical needs of mankind, saying it is proper for the government and private sector to give priority attention to it.

The governor pointed out that real estate opportunities in the state are boundless, waiting to be explored, saying LASREA, a housing regulatory body becomes imperative to ensure that there is data capturing operators in the  industry and the right thing was being done in the sector. 

Sanwo-Olu noted that government cannot claim to know it all in exploring the opportunities, reason it must collaborate and sit with critical stakeholders to explore the opportunities.

The governor said the state government is working on all the indices to make Lagos competitive in terms of ease of doing business, especially as Lagos is compared with cities around the world.

The Special Adviser to Sanwo-Olu on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, in her welcome address, appealed to investors in the real estate sector to team up with the state government to create a home ownership model that will help her address the deficits observed in housing market in the state through the state Public and Private Partnership initiative in providing mass housing for the people.

Benson-Awoyinka also said: ‘As a government determined to bridge the housing deficit in the state, we are aware the role of government in not just the provision of houses alone but also to create an enabling environment for the private sector working hand in hand to a desired end. 

“We will make business thrive and we will relentlessly pursue the sole aim of government which is the protection of lives and property beginning with the provision of decent and affordable housing for the people of our dear state, Lagos.”

During the panel discussion, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo said as part of efforts aimed at promoting ease of doing business led to the enactment of the state Property protection law in 2016.

Represented by a director in the ministry, Mrs Kehinde Taiwo, Onigbanjo said the taskforce on land grabbing set up as a result of the law has received over 4300 petitions with over 2000 of such petitions concluded.

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