Edo promoting business growth with land administration reforms

The Edo State Government has said it was leveraging technology to boost investment inflow into the state, facilitate ease of doing business, and promote business growth through the land administration reforms by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration.

Speaking to journalists in Benin City, Managing Director of the Edo Geographic Information Service, EdoGIS, Osaro Aihie, noted that the ease and convenience in processing title documents for landed property and the improved land administration system has opened the state for economic growth and attracted several investors.

According to her: “We have done so much to enhance the ease of doing business through our reforms in land administration.

“Ease of doing business comprises that the investors should have a fair playing ground and the people should be carried along to understand what the investors have come to do.

“So, what we do is sit together and discuss. Where there are problems, we look at the problems and look for a solution and everybody agrees, then we go on. That is the ease of business we are talking about.

“We have ensured that businesses and investors don’t have bottlenecks that are stopping them from doing their business.

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“We also make the people understand that if they cooperate with the investors, they are likely going to get employment and other benefits.

“These are the things we do. We don’t fight; problems are to be solved. We sit down, look at the problem and solve it. A little to the right, a little to the left, and everybody is happy.

“And when it comes to the title, if you say you have a land somewhere, we will look at our records and tell you that from the records, this or that person is the true owner and problems are solved.”

The EdoGIS MD continued: “Since the beginning of this new technology that His Excellency has brought, many things have changed.

“Land grabbing has reduced drastically; no more loss of investment or capital. Before now some people would just go and buy land without conducting a search and when they come to EdoGIS, they see that the property is either mortgaged or does not belong to the person who sold it to them. There is a loss of investment there.

“But what I keep saying is that you should conduct a search. If you are going to buy land for N100 million, you just need N25,000 to find out if that land is free from all encumbrances.

“If you do that, and we tell you, ‘Yes, it is John that owns the land, then you are good to go. Then, if there is already a C-of-O and you come for the same land, there is an overlap and we cannot continue. We stop there and call those involved, communities even come.

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“Sometimes they agree that they even gave the same land to two people, then we say no, you have to relocate one person to another land.

“For those we cannot solve their problem, we refer them to the court and the law court decides who the owner is. When they send in the judgement, we accept and implement it. Because of all this, the issue of double-dealing has been drastically reduced.”

“We also visit communities. We went to one community recently and told them about the need to register their layout.

“If they do that too, there will be no double-dealing, there will be no land grabbing, no strife. They have been able to key in because they see it is good for them.

“If you have a community where they don’t fight, where they don’t double deal, many people will like to come there and the value of your land will increase.

“When investors come and you accept them in a community, they are happy. That is what we are talking about, ease of doing business, and it is helping us,” she added.

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