By Funmi Ogundare
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has approved the land regularisation exercise for all the landed property owned by the Lagos State University (LASU) that were encroached upon by illegal occupants.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, who disclosed this recently at a Stakeholders’ meeting held with leaders of community development associations and other key stakeholders in the community, however urged affected illegal occupants to take advantage of the state government’s magnanimity and regularise their title deeds on the said land.
He said the decision of the government to have them regularise their properties was informed by its resolve to follow the path of peace with the community members, while appealing to the community members to cooperate with the state government to make the regularisation exercise realisable and the entire process seamless.
He said the move was not one of such initiatives that would be thwarted along the way.
According to him, “Government’s intention is not to demolish but to regularise majority of the properties that have been illegally encroached upon. As it is, the level of encroachment at the Ojo campus of LASU is approximately 75 per cent, a situation that is hindering the development of the institution. The level of encroachment has restricted further expansion and development of new programmes in the university and has impeded the goal of being a first class university of the founders’ dream. Generally, over 80% of LASU land measuring over 700 hectares had been acquired by settlers illegally, leaving an estimated 160 hectares for LASU development, which is grossly inadequate. Moreover, there is a compelling reason to reclaim the encroached land particularly now that LASU is now a residential University.”
The Special Adviser noted that from yesterday, Monday, 18 December, 2017, officials of the state government and LASU will be visiting the affected houses with a view to placing on them notices on the need for the occupants to regularise their properties.
To become a bona-fide LASU tenant, Bank-Olemoh said an illegal occupant is expected to log unto llrp.lasu.edu.ng and enter their VBI number and passcode wherein they are expected to upload and update all personal information as well as pay the registration fee of N100,000.
“Fees can be paid online or in the alternative, one can print an invoice from the portal with a view to paying directly at the bank. It is important to stress that this registration fee of N100,000 will be deducted from the final registration fees upon the completion of the regularisation process. Again, under no circumstance should the fees be paid in cash to anybody,” the special adviser affirmed
He noted that the regularisation exercise will be open between now and 30th April, 2018 adding that failure to complete the exercise before the April 30 deadline will attract 25per cent increase in the fees in the first instance covering between May 1 and June 30, 2018 while a 50 per cent increase in the regularisation fees will be visited on defaulters covering the final penalty phase of July 1 and September 30.
“Any property that is not registered or regularised by the September 30, 2018 deadline will be repossessed by the state government, adding that upon the regularisation exercise, annual land use charges and rental fees would be payable to the government and LASU respectively.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of LASU, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun described the move as a step by Governor Ambode- led administration to seriously pursue lofty initiatives that will further signpost LASU as an institution of international standard and a citadel of learning.
He maintained that if the land regularisation issue is not quickly done, it could hamper the growth and development of the institution to its full capacity and status adding that the encroachment issue has over the years affected the capacity of the Institution to admit the approved numbers of admission seekers by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde said the move was in line with the promise made by the governor during the electioneering period that his administration will not inflict unnecessary hardship on the citizenry, but will rather follow the path of peace in addressing infractions.
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Wasiu Anifowoshe described the gesture by the state government as a rare opportunity, as the encroachers, under the new arrangement, would not be subjected to the payment of the regular fees charged for acquiring necessary building permit.
He said that the state government has reduced the regularisation process drastically in order to make it very easy for the occupants of the encroached lands.
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