Land Use Act: The Sale and Re-Sale of Community Land in Imo State

BY: ONYENWE PRINCELY

On the good efforts of the of the state government of Imo state to deal with cases of land menace posed by land speculators in the State, betrayals of good governance are parading themselves as land agents on increase at the rural communities where they may feel so free to perpetuate obnoxious acts against the already existing ethics of the ministry of land, survey and Urban planning in Imo State.

It has been discovered that most of the communal war and conflicts are caused by discrepancies on land sharing and occasional trespass by government without due settlement and compensation to the rightful owners of the land. Because of this anomalous hit over land issues, owners of land have decided to map out their lands to individual owners.

Besides, it is a criminal act for the owners of a particular portion of land to sell same portion of land to more than two or three buyers at a time. Some may even re-sell a particular portion of allotted land to their relatives with fake documents to fraud the buyers of their hard-earned money. Therefore, buyers must endavour to be careful of the type of land agents and the landowners they deal with to avoid “mmakwara” had I known in quote.

The aboriginal people of Umuagwu Nekede in Owerri West Local Government Area are affected by the menace of these disgruntled agents who indulge in selling and re-selling of a particular portion of land to more than one or two buyers at a time. Most of these so-called agents are unregistered and unprofessional in their practices. They indulge in sharp practices to grasp their agency fee and run away leaving the buyers aloof amid controversies. This is so unfortunate.

On the other hand allot tees only secure  government land for speculative objectives counter to government goals and such allotted land may stand the chance of being sold by these angry agents or may be revoked by the government after staying undeveloped for a long period of years .

It is agreeable the land use Act vested all lands within the State territory on the governor and each property or plots owner is required to pay rent to the governor vis a vis the State. Therefore, the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning Owerri being one of the biggest and most attractive Ministries in the State must rise up with very critical responsibility of land and administration to regulate the services of land agents and Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA).

It is also the duty of the Ministry to control all survey activities in the State as well as boundary controls, registration of tittles of Land and collection of statutory fees and levies from lands and buildings and where necessary maintain the Owerri master plan inclusive of rural communities to checkmate the abrupt abuse of land use Act.

Just recently, Nekede – Avu – Obinze farmland, a certain developer had claimed acquiring these lands for Federal University of Technology Owerri and the Communities objected to it.  Some part of same land was used by the government for industrialization waiting due compensation until date.

Such criminals that perpetuate this kind of misdeed in our society should be flushed out by relevant authorities and agencies saddled with such responsibility to uphold benefits of land use Act, knowing quiet well that the basics of development of any society is land.

For this reason, sale of a particular portion of land to more than one person at a time is a consensus that crime is a major social problem that usually does injury or harm to others. Crime is a sort of society’s ability to contain; it violates sacred customs, law and values. Crime can also interrupt the smooth operation of socio – economic and political order of a nation, state or community Just as the sale and re – sale of land in Umuagwu Umuoma Nekede in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State and its environ has affected the land use Act of Imo State.

Onyenwe Princely is a public Affairs analyst, a human rights activist and renowned journalist. 08036856526

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