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.


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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.

Despite declining profits, banks stable-NDIC


Nasarawa transforms slums


Nasarawa State is fighting the infrastructure battle under Governor Tanko al-Makura. The Nasarawa Geographic Information Service (NAGIS) has been up and doing in upgrading slums in the urban centres into habitable settlements, thereby re-integrating their inhabitants into a saner society defined by the availability of social amenities and public utilities.

Slums have been an eyesore in many towns. They pose a serious problem for government’s developmental efforts. Those who reside in them are exposed to health hazards, apart from lacking adequate sanitation, improved water supply, decent housing or adequate living space.

Worried by these challenges, Governor al-Makura inaugurated NAGIS a year ago. One of its terms of reference was providing a clear and detailed blueprint on general land use and district plans.

Under the first phase of the implementation, slums in Lafia, the state capital, Mararaba, Masaka and other settlements along the Abuja corridor, are expected to be addressed. The Commissioner for Lands and Town Planning, Mr. Sonny Agassi, who shed light on the slum upgrading policy, explained that it is essentially a strategy for environmental renewal. People around the areas are expected to receive a new orientation about better life through an improved access to adequate water supply, education, electricity and sewage services, he added.

Also, owing to the tenuous legal status of slum inhabitants, government is pushing for the legalisation of the right to the land on which slums are built.

Agassi stressed: “Slum upgrading’s goal is to transform these areas into decent housing areas. The concept of slum upgrading as espoused by the Al-Makura’s administration is a strategy for the improvement in a slum’s infrastructure which has become necessary after a period of unprecedented urban growth along the FCT corridor since the transference of the nation’s capital to Abuja”.

The commissioner said priority will be given to the transformation of Mararaba in Karu local government area. It is one of the rural agricultural areas along the Keffi-Abuja Expressway, encompassing Nyanya, Ado, New Karu, Masaka and Uke with an estimated population of 205,477people.

As a result of its closeness to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), its lands are targeted for a lot economic activities. The activities of the informal sector in these areas are uncoordinated. Many modes of transportation are used along the corridor, either to places of work, recreation or other businesses. These often lead to a chaotic situation on a daily basis.

There is no central water reticulation system or public supply. Residents access potable water by sinking boreholes. Some purchase from water vendors. Some dig wells. Many draw water from nearby streams.

Almakura has also expressed worry over the challenge of solid waste disposal along the Karu-Abuja road. In his view, the axis slum upgrade has become necessary because refuse is dumped indiscriminately because there was no designated site for refuse dumping or collection. The dumped refuse usually found their way into drains and waterways. When the drains are blocked, it could lead to flooding and other negative consequences.

Agasi explained that, after government has made provision for refuse dumping and collection sites, a new legislation prohibiting indiscriminate dumping of refuse would be enacted and mobile courts instituted to enforce environmental sanitation laws.