Land ownership: Delta declares war on land users

The Eagle Online recalls that past and current administrations in the oil rich state have suffered major challenges in the hands of inter and intra communities, bodies and individuals since the advent of democracy in 1999

War was declared on Friday by the Delta State Government on land users across the state who refuse to pay statutory dues.
The war was declared shortly after the state inaugurated a Task Force on Ground Rents Collection to fish out those evading its payment.
The state, to that effect, reviewed and updated its database to ensure that records fairly represent the actual number of properties in existence across the state.
At the inauguration of the Task Force at the Government House, Asaba, evidence of ownership of land was broken down into three categories – Certificate of Occupancy, Registered Deed of Conveyance and Land Certificate.
This is for proper implementation of Land Use Act of 1978.
The Eagle Online recalls that past and current administrations in the oil rich state have suffered major challenges in the hands of inter and intra communities, bodies and individuals since the advent of democracy in 1999.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Comrade Ovuozuorie Macaulay, said the focus of the state on improving the level of property tax compliance this year was non-negotiable.
Uduaghan said the aim of the state government at eradicating poverty and sustaining economic growth through infrastructural renewal and development, informed the marching order authorising the state’s Board of Internal Revenue to recover the money.
According to him, the tax policy of the state was to significantly improve the quality of life and promote healthier, safer and more prosperous citizenry by maximising revenue potentials without imposing excessive burden on citizens.
To douse the feudal relationship between the state and property owners, Governor Uduaghan’s Commissioner for Lands, Surveys and Urban Development, Sir Patrick Ferife, who defined grant rents as “a form of tax imposed on Land Users to generate revenue”, said the rationale behind it was to buttress the reversionary interest and supervisory role of government over every land resources in its territory or state.
He said the state relied on the provision of the 1999 Constitution, the Personal Income Tax Act 2011, the Land Use Act 1978 as amended to date and the DSIR 2009 Law, to collect and pay into government coffers all grant rents payable by landlords.
While residential, religious and recreational centres top the chargeable list, commercial and industrial lands seconded it, even as agricultural lands were not left out.

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