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Text of the Address by His Excellency, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON, Governor, Ekiti State, Nigeria on the occasion of the

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  1. 1. Page 1 of 7 Text of the Address by His Excellency Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON Governor, Ekiti State, Nigeria on the occasion of the INAUGURATION OF JUDICIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON LAND AND RELATED MATTERS Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State Monday, November 16, 2020 Protocols 1. On October 30th, 2020 I signed into force Executive Order Number 008 on the establishment and implementation of the Ekiti State Land Administration and Management Project. The Executive Order was in furtherance of government’s desire to undertake sustainable Land reforms in the state. 2. One major challenge that government faces in administration is the increasing cases of land grabbing and other fraudulent land transactions across the State. Previously, in an effort to curb these unlawful activities government enacted the Ekiti State Property Protection (Anti-Land Grabbing) Law 2019. The objective of this law
  2. 2. Page 2 of 7 is to prohibit forcible entry, violent and fraudulent conduct in relation to landed properties in Ekiti State. 3. It has now become obvious that in addition to enabling an appropriate legal framework for prohibiting criminal conduct in land transactions, there is the need for an effective enforcement mechanism to ensure that persons who traffic in landed properties are identified and swiftly prosecuted in accordance with extant Laws of Ekiti state. 4. Our commitment to the eradication of unlawful land transactions is not simply a matter of law and order. We firmly believe that an efficient and effective land administration will enhance government’s efforts in achieving poverty reduction and promotion of economic growth. Specifically, our intervention is aimed at achieving some of the following goals (i) Guarantee ownership and security of tenure; (ii) Support land and property taxation; (iii) Protect State lands;
  3. 3. Page 3 of 7 (iv) Improve urban planning and infrastructure development; (v) Support environmental management; and (vi) Enable a relevant and reliable land information system whereby information about the ownership, value and use of land may be effectively assessed and managed. 5. This is why deliberate efforts have been made to communicate government’s policy on land administration to our people. In addition to the frequent use of the media and other message transmitting platforms available to government, I directed the Honourable Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice to visit all the 16 local government areas in the State and hold consultations with community leaders including traditional institutions on governments land reform programme. The Attorney General was also directed to educate communities of the existence of the anti-land grabbing law and government’s determination to enforce the law.
  4. 4. Page 4 of 7 6. I have received the report of the visit from the Honourable Attorney- General and it is obvious that our approach to Land Reform must be immediate, firm and strategic if we are to achieve our objectives. Of concern to me is the depth of the problem of land grabbing in the state. It is worrisome that state lands are not exempted from this criminal activity. I find it distressing that some government officials have been involved in the illegal dealings on state lands. 7. My administration is determined to reverse the impunity that has characterized land administration in the state. As a first step government has established a Land Administration and Management Project Steering Committee. This committee will among others ensure effective coordination among Ministries, Departments & Agencies in developing and adopting a long-term vision, goals and strategic direction for Land administration in Ekiti State. 8. Executive Order No 8, 2020 specifically directs the Bureau of Lands to undertake a number of measures
  5. 5. Page 5 of 7 aimed at achieving certainty and clarity in land administration. These measures include: a) Revoke and Reallocate Certificate -of-Occupancy of all lands that have not been developed for a period of 3 years commencing date of allocation. For this purpose, erection of fence around the property does not constitute development; b) Give a 30-day full payment timeline to Land Allottees who developed their plots without completing payment for their allocations. The allocation to such allotees should be cancelled and property forfeited to Government at the expiration of the 30 day deadline; c) Give a 21-day full payment timeline to allottees who made only part-payment for the land allocated to them and have not developed it. Such allocations should be cancelled and reallocated at the expiry of 21 days. Such allottees should further be advised to commence immediate development or have their allocations cancelled and reallocated; d) Enforce the full payment of land use charge before processing applications for C-of-O.
  6. 6. Page 6 of 7 9. In order to ensure that all persons who unlawfully undertook dealings in state lands are appropriately identified and to provide a framework for protecting the rights of victims of land grabbing we are today inaugurating a Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Lands and Related Matters in Ekiti State. The Terms of Reference of the Commission shall be to: i) Receive and examine complaints from individuals and corporate entities on matters arising from the implementation of Executive Order No 8, 2020 and where necessary make recommendations to the governor for remedial measures or any other measures as appropriate. ii) Examine and ascertain whether government land or part of it have been illegally acquired or occupied or converted to private use and identify the persons responsible and make recommendations for recovery and appropriate sanctions; iii) Examine complaints of fraudulent transactions by individuals, families, corporate entities with respect to
  7. 7. Page 7 of 7 State Lands and make recommendations for recovery and appropriate sanctions; iv) Make recommendations to the government based on their findings on or before 1 February 2021. 10. I want to thank My Lord, Honourable Justice Adekunle Adeleye for accepting to Chair this Commission. I am confident that His Lordship’s vast experience in the subject matter will be invaluable to the workings of the Committee. I am also grateful to other members of the committee who will be sacrificing their time in the service of Ekiti State. I will be stating the obvious by saying that the task before the Committee is huge. As I mentioned earlier the issues are deep and go to the root of our institutions within and outside government. 11. I now formally inaugurate the Judicial Panel on Lands and Related Matters in Ekiti State to the glory of God and benefit of Ekiti people. Alale Ekiti a gbe a o. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON Governor