Sanwo-Olu Warns Physical Planning Approving Agencies against Sharp Practices

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By Segun James

Following reports of alleged sharp practices in property ownership and approval on which the Lagos State Government has received over 4,300 land grabbing petitions, the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has warned land and property permit approving agencies to live above board.

The governor made it clear that his administration would no longer tolerate officers engaging in sharp practices in issuing approvals.

Speaking at the first Lagos Real Estate market place conference and exhibition with the theme: ‘Unearthing real opportunities in real estate, making Lagos a 21st century economy’, the governor stated that residents and real estate practitioners are complaining about turnaround time for permit approval.

Sanwo-Olu, therefore, said the ministry of physical planning and agencies under it i.e the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Agency and Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), need to scale up and do better job about physical planning approvals.

He noted that the agencies needed 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.

According to the governor, “We as a government have looked at ourselves and see the need to do things differently. That is why we have to sit down with you, because one of the areas I know you have problems with us is not only in lands but also in 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 turnaround in our lands department, as the people want to have a positive experience.

“We have started it, we have solution on this GIS for a while, and it’s a project we are desirous to live on. Once it kick-starts, what it means is that it’s one stop shop. With it, you will be able to get your governor’s consent, approval and Certificate of Occupancy (Cof O) on time, as well as all of the documentation for subsequent transaction.”

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

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 would help her address the deficits observed in housing market in the state through the state Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative in providing mass housing for the people.

Benson-Awoyinka said: “As a government determined to bridge the housing deficit in the state, we are aware that 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 with the government to a desired end.”

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