Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has launched the Homeowners’ Charter to provide opportunity for those who have built properties illegally on government or private land without obtaining the necessary building plan approval to regularise their ownership at a huge discount.
The application forms would be available in partner banks and various charter centers across the state till February 28, next year.
Criticising the rampant and well-orchestrated culture of building illegally without approval in the state over the past 12 years, Amosun said those who also built illegally on land that belongs to OPIC and Housing Corporation and who for years, have lived with uncertainty about whether government would eventually repossess the land with this initiative could also take advantage of the programme to regularize their property.
At the launching ceremony in Abeokuta on Monday, the governor said henceforth, all the normal conditions required to obtain Building Plan Approval and Certificate of Occupancy, including the requirement to obtain three years’ tax clearance certificate have been waived. So also has the government waived the penalties for building without approval which are ten times the normal charges.
“We have applied a deep discount to the usual charge for Survey Plan and for Stamp Duty. All we ask in return for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is that for every property, the owners would be required to provide us with full enumeration data of each and every resident to enable us to develop an accurate residents’ database to support our future planning,’’ he said.
He said the new charge under the charter, which gives special consideration to rural dwellers, could be paid in installments considering the current economic climate. “We have selected a number of partner banks, some of whom are even prepared to offer finance for those who require it,’’ he said.
Governor Amosun who disclosed that the process for obtaining the documents had been made seamless with one-stop-shops in each area.
He explained that the programme reflects his commitment to providing affordable housing and urban renewal emanating from the urgent need also for reliable population data as the government plans for the future needs of the state.
Governor Amosun said that the Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping embarked upon at the inception of his administration revealed that the level of development in some local governments was significantly in excess of that suggested by official records and such situation would hinder planning for the medium and long term needs of the people.
Mr. Adewale Osinowo, Special Adviser on Lands and Survey, revealed that over 80% of houses in the state were without building approvals; meanwhile, a building without approval was prone to litigation and demolition.
The official launch was attended by community development associations and built industry professional bodies, among others.