by crossriverwatch admin
Facts emerged recently why the Cross River State governor, Senator Liyel Imoke has not approved land applications since 2007 when he came into office.
Our findings revealed that about two thousand applications for lands in Calabar metropolis and other four urban centers in the state are pending before the governor for approval.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that the refusal of the governor to approve new allocations despite lobbying by the applicants to get their lands approved was hinged on the revelations from the report of the task force on lands allocation.
Many lands that have been approved in the past according to the report, where cornered by vendors who traded with them to third parties without the approval and statutory payment to government.
In most cases these lands have not been paid for by the vendors who trade them to third parties thereby causing loss of revenue to government as well as making documentation of such lands difficult.
Another reason according to our findings is the reluctance or inability of those who acquire these lands to develop them and this is slowing down the development plan of government for Calabar metropolis.
Already government has devised several means to arrest the situation, part of which was to increase the cost of allocation to give room for serious buyers who are ready to develop their lands immediately.
Calabar metropolis has been a center of attraction for people to own their property and reside due to the serene and peaceful nature of the city.
Many settlers prefer to live with their families in the city, but the high cost of land and landed property has been a factor.
For example a plot of land in Calabar cost as high as between 5 and 10 million Naira depending on the location.
Speaking on the issue, the State Commissioner for Lands and Housing Development, Surveyor Ralph Uche said: “it is true that this administration has not allocated any lands since it came on board, this is because we have to plan very well and we are reviewing the existing lands already allocated.
“It is also true that people trade with government allocated lands without paying statutory fees to the government, some of these lands are even lying fallow without being developed.
“His Excellency the Governor is not happy with this situation because of our developmental plans. People are buying these lands and reselling them for huge amounts without paying what is due to the government, this is unacceptable anywhere.”
The lands commissioner who pleaded with the people of Cross River State for patience said, “We took these decisions in the greater interest of Cross River people and not to punish Cross Riverians.”
On his part, the Special Adviser Mortgage Finance, Barrister Edward Ogon said the development plan of government to build the civil service and public/private housing units is on course as part of Greater Calabar Master Plan.
Ogon while briefing newsmen in Calabar recently reaffirmed governments’ determination to build owner-occupier houses to the tune of 5,000 units by 2015.
He said the housing scheme which is on pay-as-you-earn basis will have basic modern facilities like road networks, water, light, security and schools within the vicinity.
The special adviser said the phase II housing unit in Akpabuyo which had earlier delivered 200 units has commenced.
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