Ibraheem Hamza Muhammad, Lafia

The Director General of the Nasarawa State Geographic Information System (NAGIS), Mr. Sonny Agassi, has said property is now a bankable asset in the state. Mr. Agassi said this when the Governor of the state, Abdullahi Sule, visited the NAGIS office in Karu recently.

He said, “The prompt signing of Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) for private property owners by Gov. Abdullahi Sule has opened a new chapter in the history of the state, as NAGIS is ever ready to ensure citizens and businesses obtain maximum benefits obtainable by using their bankable instruments to improve on the state’s economy. NAGIS is prepared to improve its services to serve every citizen of Nasarawa State and beyond.”

He said there had never been a time to obtain a C-of-O than now “given the zeal and commitment of the governor to liberalise the state’s economy to a 21st Century model where bankable assets grew an economy.”

Mr. Agassi further said the process of acquiring a C-of-O was relative to the size of land, and that the state charged the lowest rate in Nigeria, adding that the duration ranged from one to three weeks depending on some factors. Responding, Gov. Abdullahi Sule called on land owners in the state to acquire their title documents from NAGIS in order to enable them access facilities from banks and other organisations. The governor has already signed about 400 C-of-O in less than three months and directed that legal property owners should check for and collect them so as to allow them access facilities from different institutions and at the end engage in other businesses.



Umar Muhammed, Lafia

Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule has signed about four hundred Certificates of Occupancy since assumption of office on May 29th.

The governor said this during a working visit to the Nasarawa Geographic Information System Office in Karu Local Government Area of the state, where he urged landowners in the state to acquire their title documents from the NAGIS in order to enable them access facilities from banks and other organisations.

While commending the efforts of the consultants and management of NAGIS for their commitment to providing needed data on all the landmass in the state, he appointed a nine-man management committee to take over from the consultants to study and know what it takes to run the system.

His said, “I call on you to cooperate with your consultants and see yourselves as opportuned to contribute your quota to the development of the state which is in dare need of development.

“I had already signed about four hundred CofOs in three months, I have spent in the office. I have also directed that CofOs for people of the state who are legal owners of lands be checked so as to allow the said landowners access facilities from different institutions and at the end engage in other businesses.”



Understanding NAGIS Law, As Nasarawa Pioneers Digital Land Administration


As a result of the signing into law of the Nasarawa Geographic Information Service (NAGIS) bill last week, land administration in the state has recorded a defining milestone. DONATUS NADI examines the implications of the law as it affects land administration and revenue generation in the state.

Land administration in states across the country is wrought with problems such as inability to meet the land requirements of the public, cumbersome process of getting the right-of-occupancy and Certificates of Occupancy (C-of-O), frequent changing of public officers and government policies, poor record-keeping and inability of government to pay compensation in respect of acquired land and failure to harness land potential for revenue generation, among others.

To tackle these challenges, Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura, on assumption of office in 2011, sought to create a robust pattern for land administration, physical development and revenue generation unprecedented in the annals of land management in Nigeria.

This gave birth to the Nasarawa Development Platform, which has NAGIS as a major component maintaining a Geographic Information System (GIS) and Land Information System (LIS) to enhance land use and management in the state which, until recently, operated without legal backing as a corporate entity of government.

With the law in place, NAGIS has the mandate to compile and collate geospatial information and provide products and services derived from that and other information to the government and the general public.

It is also expected to create and compile electronic land registry and carryout electronic registration of instruments while regulating the standards to be applied for the compilation of geospatial data in the state.

As a corporate agency of government, NAGIS is established by law to be the repository and manager of survey information, cadastral maps and datasets in a well-structured GIS environment, in addition to providing support to the Land Use and Allocation committee.

In providing this support to each of the 13 local government areas, NAGIS is to also offer administrative and technical support for the processing of grants of customary rights of occupancy.

The agency is also mandated by its establishing law to process grants of statutory rights of occupancy, issue letters of grants, process and issue Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) and process grants of consent to all transactions from a data driven GIS and LIS environment.

Given the latitude with which the agency is expected to cover in land administration in the state, it shall provide such other services as are incidental to the maintenance of geospatial data and land information, land files and geospatial records as are provided for in the regulations made within the ambit of the law establishing the agency. It shall also create, produce and scale each type of map for the use of the state government and for the sale to the general public.

Some of the other duties of NAGIS include ensuring that land administration and management supports the development of social and economic rights in the state and make sure that they conform to national standards and requirements concerning geospatial data as well as comparable international, supranational and regional standards.

This entails that it is the duty of the agency to ensure that efficient and reliable services and secure products are made available to all stakeholders and to advance good governance and transparency in the state.

Consequently, NAGIS, as a corporate entity has the powers to acquire, own, dispose, charge and otherwise alienate, in part or whole, interests in immovable property, just as it can also bid for and accept grants made by international development agencies and to act as the delivery agent for GIS based projects.

In order to keep pace with global best practices in land administration, NAGIS has the legal backing to  enter into collaboration with reputable academic institutions within Nigeria and internationally for the purposes of research and to ensure continuous technical competence of its staff. Such collaboration may also be for the purposes of sharing knowledge and obtaining professional training of its staff in key technical operations.

The law however clearly spelt out that: “NAGIS shall not accept any gift or donation or technical assistance or equipment, if the conditions thereto by the person or foreign governments or academic institution making the gift or donation of technical assistance or equipment, are inconsistent with the functions of NAGIS”.

However, the agency shall have the right of access to all relevant geospatial data records of any private person or corporate body within the state.

It said: “NAGIS may by notice in writing, served on any person or corporate body, require such person to furnish or cause to be furnished geospatial data or other similar data held by or available to such persons on such matters as may be specified in the notice’.

The enactment of this also means a major restructuring of land administrative mechanism in the state. As such, the state ministry of Lands and Survey or Lands and Town Planning, as it has previously been known, ceases to exist or perform any such duties as regards land management in the state.

The Lands and Town Planning ministry  has, by this law, dissolved into NAGIS with its chief accounting officer being the Director General (DG) who shall be responsible for the execution of its policies and management of its day-to-day business and administration.

The DG, will also be responsible for the implementation of the business and budget of the agency and shall hold office for a period of four years in the first instance “and renewable for another term and no more”.

This restructuring is expected to ease the process of acquiring titles which was hitherto very cumbersome and spans endlessly into years.

With the current restructuring, rights of occupancy are processed within a day while certificates of occupancy can be processed within a few weeks.

To improve on this even further, NAGIS is backed by law to keep 10 per cent of the total revenue it generates in order to discharge its activities and fund its operations.

The law states: “A maximum of 10 percent of the revenue generated by NAGIS from its operations shall be appropriated to NAGIS and applied towards the funding of its operations, provided that any funds that may accrue above the actual budgetary allocation to NAGIS for the year shall be transferred to the state treasury”.

Reacting on the assent to the law by Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura which underwent legislative scrutiny for over a year, the commissioner of Lands and Town Planning, described it as a milestone in the developmental strides of the state.

He said it would present opportunities for sustainability of development taking into cognisance the natural resource endowment, economic base, population growth and opportunities that abound in the state.

Agassi enthused that the law would guarantee a robust land administration in the state and give the agency the legal backing and latitude to guarantee digital, safe and secured operations on land management and other matters connected therewith.

He said the law would go a long way in streamlining land administration in the state which has direct bearing on internally generated revenue and ensure its smooth operation.

He said the goal of the law is to present opportunities for sustainability of development taking, into cognisance the natural resource endowment, economic base, population growth, opportunities and threats.

Agassi explained that the NAGIS law mandates the agency to, among other things, “compile and collate geospatial information in the state and provide products and services derived from that and other information to the government and general public”.

The Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Aseembly, Hr. Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe- Abdullahi, said that  the NAGIS law would not only check the proliferation of illegal structures across the state but would also seek to modernise land tenure system.

He maintained that the law will enable NAGIS to perform the function of preparation of planning scheme for resettlement of acquired land and from natives after adequate payment of compensation.

“As we are all aware that NAGIS will perform its functions with ease especially granting planning permission for development of structures, monitoring of development, street naming as well as provision of site, services and facilities”.

“The law would put the state in the limelight of globalisation to facilitate easy access to information and transactions on land matters as well as boost the efficiency of land administration and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state”, he said.

The House committee chairman on Lands, Hon. Hashimu Gurku, in his remarks said that it would reduce the frequency of litigation on properties, increase revenue accruing to the state and add value to property as a result of proper documentation.

He said, “It is equally important to stress that the law provides for what obtains in modern policy drive where detailed land use platform is harnessed to drive social change and economic prosperity.”


Al-Makura Signs 300 Land Titles, Vows To Beat 1,000 Target In 2017


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Nasarawa State governor, Umaru Tanko Almakura, yesterday signed 300 Certificates of Occupancy (Cs-of-O) thereby setting the pace for what to expect in 2017 under the states land administration platform, the Nasarawa Geographic Information Service (NAGIS).

Signing the documents in Lafia, Al-Makura reiterated his resolve to give NAGIS the needed impetus to continue to break new frontiers in land administration in the country.

He said his administration is committed to delivering over 1,000 certificates of occupancy in 2017 which will raise the bar for service delivery in digital land administration.

Al-Makura called on residents of the state to acquire titles for their lands to secure them and enjoy other corresponding benefits like access to mortgage facilities.

“This administration will continue to promote the collective prosperity of its citizens. We have put a robust land administration system in place to ensure our people in rural and urban areas harness their land potentials to add value to their lives,” he said. Speaking on the landmark achievement, the state commissioner of land and town planning, Mr. Sonny Agassi, said the signing of the 300 Cs-of-O brings to a total of 1,357 Cs-of-O signed by the governor since assumption of office five years ago. Crediting the success of digital land administration to the dogged commitment of governor Al-Makura, Agassi said NAGIS has set its sight on generating and collecting over N1 billion as internally generated revenue. He said the governor has within five years eclipsed the efforts of all previous administrations in the state simce its creation in 1996. He pointed out that between 1996 to 1999, under two military administrations, only 310 Cs-of-O were signed and issued their owners. He explained that during the 8 year reign of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu as governor from 1999-2007, only 214 were signed and issued, indicating an almost 100 percent drop in what previous military governments accomplished in less than three years. Figures rolled out revealed further that the worst period for land administration in the state was from 2007 to 2011 when the then governor, Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma, signed only 24 certificates and issued same. However, from 2011 to date, governor Al-Makura has signed 1, 057 certificates of occupancy out of which 870 have been issued with 187 yet to be collected, in an aggregate of 1, 598 signed by various administrations since the fifth generation state was created. Agassi maintained that the story is different now and credited the success to the visionary leadership of governor Almakura who, through the Nasarawa Geographic Information Service (NAGIS) has digitalized land administration in the state thereby making it easy for property owners to get titles.


Gov Almakura_nasarawa

Nasarawa GIS: Implementing Gurku/Kabusu Mega City Project To Rival FCT

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DONATUS NADI takes a closer look at efforts by the Nasarawa Geographic Information Service (NAGIS) to build a mega city to rival and/or complement the Federal Capital Territory.

In his opening remarks at the official presentation of the Gurku/Kabusu preliminary development plan in Lafia recently by Siraj Consulting Engineers, ltd,  Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura said since his administration came on board in 2011 it had the dream of setting foundation for Nasarawa of the future.

This dream was anchored on the potentials and opportunities the state has given its proximity to the Federal Capita Territory,  Abuja, which also informed the formation of the Nasarawa State Development Platform to translated this dream into reality over a sustained period of time.

The development platform is a holistic approach to ensure that Nasarawa state has a versatile development plan that would encompass land administration and other development initiatives executive by the Nasarawa Geographic Information Service (NAGIS).

Buoyed by the  desire to harness the vast land resource and other opportunities that abound in the state along the Karu-Abuja corridor, Almakura earmarked over 13, 000 hectares of land in Gurku/Kabusu axis bordering Mpape and few meters away from the Aso Rock villa in Abuja for the construction of a mega city to rival Abuja.

He said government came up with the idea in order to ease the stress for limited housing and other infrastructure on the FCT and avoid the replication of another chaotic development as found in Mararaba, Ado and other towns bordering the FCT.

“As it is Abuja metropolis is chocked to the brim and to get our projections for the future right so that we do not get caught unawares again we have decided to come out with a holistic detailed masterplan for the development of Gurku/Kabusu area”.

As the closest undeveloped area to the FCT, that is the next destination for developers and to avoid further haphazard development everything must be done within the frame of the masterplan in line with existing land laws, development laws and detailed district masterplan.

The preliminary plan and development projections designed by Siraj Consulting Engineers, ltd, showed that the developed part of Abuja in phases one and two are smaller in size to the Gurku/Kabusu land area which stands at 132 square meters. Bigger than the French capita, Paris, which has 105 square meters.

The picturesque terrain with a perfect blend of hilly and low lying areas is divided into K and P project areas for Kabusu, which is on the elavated part of the land area and Kupe, which is on the low land. The Kabusu project area consists of 8 districts while the Kupe project area is divided into 21 districts giving a total of 29 project districts.

For a realistic start, the Managing Director of Siraj Engineering consultants, Dr. Kamal Azar, said a comprehensive preliminary masterplan would be developed for only one of the Kabusu districts with total land mass of 520 hectares.

Azar identified access road, water and power supply as the major hinderances to development plan, noting however that while access roads and water can be provided for, the problem of power supply is a national phenomenon but adequate provision for power lines and possible locations of power sub and feeder stations would be provided for.

Kabusu, which is 12 kilometers from the Keffi-Abuja expressway,  can be reached from Karu or from the FCT through Mpape but that is not so appealing due to heavy traffic being experienced on the axis on a daily basis although it is the shorter route into Abuja. Karu on the other hand is longer but less conjested.

Constructing access road from Karu would require adding two additional lanes on existing Abuja-Keffi expressway for about 2.5 kilometers to contain additional traffic which also implies that there would be demolitions, acquisitions and compensations which would require enormous sums oc money.

However, many entrances are also required into such a massive area so eventually all the three identified entrances would be developed although the Mpape entrance would require collaboration with the FCT administration.  The other two entrances include the one in Karu and the other from an un-urbanized area after Karu.

For the Karu entrance road a 4-lane highway is proposed which Siraj MD, Mr. Azar believes are realizable and have been fully designed with all engineering considerations.

In the area of water supply to care for the needs of the proposed mega city, engineering survey has been concluded on a proposed earth dam  or lake in a valley between the two ridges of hills in Kabusu project area although geological survey is yet to be conducted.

Mr. Azar explained that the dam, when completed, is capable of holding 88 cubic meters of water which is sufficient to provide water to over two million people. The dam which will need 3.4 million cubic meters of earth to fill in order to have good retention capacity will have a surface area of 3.2 kilometers and is situated wholly inside Nasarawa state. When completed, the dam is expected to be 600 meters in length and 60 meters in height.

Azar said: We can exploit the lake to develop tourist areas with proper restrictions to avoid pollution. We can have restaurants,  hotels and green areas to provide aesthetic lake view”.

The question, however, still remains as to how to make people come into this area to develop it. Attractors would have to be created to woo in investors and developers. Although Governor Almakura has plans for mass housing projects for both Nasarawa state and Abuja residents,  that may not be enough to attract people without guarantee on other corresponding social services like schools,  markets, hospitals and recreational facilities.

Commenting on some of the concepts conceived to achieve this objective, Mr Azar said: “We have conceptualized an ‘Afro-Disney’ with its unique features and we have the land to offer for free and build the infrastructure”.

He also stated that some of the attractors would include a lake village to host motorized sporting events like canoeing and rafting. Exhibition cities are also provided for to host international expos just as synergies would be worked out with international medical associations and hospitals to host medical exhibitions in a medical city to be constructed in the area.

In line with global best practices,  Azar said in designing the development plan only 50 percent of the total land mass would be built upon while the remaining 50 percent would be left as green area so as to avoid creating what he termed another “concrete city’.

The area bordering ths FCT is divided into 8 clusters which is further sub-divided into different land uses to include diplomatic compound, government compound,  residential,  commercial academic and other land uses with lots of open spaces and green area, something different from Abuja.

Azar explained furthe that 55 kilometers of linear roads would be constructed with 6 kilometers being a highway that will lead into the city as the major connecting road which will be bordered by a business district and high, medium and low income housing so that no district would be isolated.

In his submission, the minister of state for Environment,  Mallam Ibrahim Usman Jibrin, maintained that although the project is enormous, it is achievable, saying one of the critical challenges the work would face has to do with the curren economic recession the country is facing.

He also noted that compliance to the housing and other development models would be difficult due to what he described as “the cultural aspect of our development as to our lifestyles and how we want to share our environment with people”.

The state commissioner for Lands and Town Planning, Mr. Sonny Agassi, who corroborated his view added that although government was not oblivious of the enormity of the size and cost of the project, Governor Almakura has the will and resolve to give the project a good start.

He said the project would outlive Almakura’s administration but a good foundation would go along way in giving it successful trade mark on which incoming administrations would consolidate.

Agassi also maintained that when realized, the project would be the real goldmine for Nasarawa state as proceeds from land administration,  taxes and other levies would guarantee inflow of cash to the state.