In a bid to ensure judicious utilisation of land allocated to individuals and companies in the state, Governor Udom Emmanuel has approved the set up of of the Land Verification and Recovery Committee to manage, validate and recover lands that have not fulfilled the terms of allotment.
The Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, Pastor Umo Bassey Eno dropped the hint when he was a guest on Update Akwa Ibom, a high-end Radio programme of the Ministry of Information and Strategy on Comfort 95.1 FM, on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021.
Pastor Eno said that land is a very essential resource in the development matrix of the state and the Committee will be charged with painstakingly verifying the authenticity of allotted plots and recovery of those lands which premium have not been paid by beneficiaries, into the coffers of the state.
He frowned at those whom lands were allocated and they used the properties as collateral for other businesses without recourse to developing the land in defiance of the terms of allotment as well as those who obtain loans and grants from Government without fulfilling the purpose for which they were given.
The Commissioner also said that the Committee will work with the Geographic Information System (GIS) to identify the veracity of acquired lands by Government for which compensation have been paid and those ones where compensation have not been paid to the previous owners.
He charged individuals who intend buying lands to access information from the Directorate of lands and town planning in the Ministry to avoid acquiring Government lands.
“Before buying land, go to the Ministry of Lands and make enquiries from the Directorate of lands and town planning. There is always a need to cross check in order not to make the mistake of purchasing Government owned lands and risk demolition of your property” he advised.
The Commissioner revealed that Local Governments across the state have been mandated to donate at least 50 hectares of land for agricultural purposes, as part of efforts by the State Government to achieve food sufficiency and ensure that 80% of food consumed are grown within the state.
Pastor Umo Eno who also oversees the Directorate of Agric Investment, opined that youths will be involved in the aggressive cultivation of lands allocated them for cultivating Cassava for commercial purposes, assuring that Government will offtake the produce to feed the Cassava processing mills in the state .
He also revealed plans by the Government to build 3 off-taking centres in the 3 Senatorial Districts.
According to him, “The Government has approved plans to build off-taking centres in the 3 Senatorial Districts to serve as an incentive for those youths who would be involved in the cultivation of Cassava”
“Whereby the the produce will feed the Cassava Processing Mills.
These would ensure stability in the price of Garri, being a staple food in the State and Country ” he said.
The Commissioner restated Government’s willingness to continue to support farmers in the state with various grants and subsidies, pointing out that a comprehensive data base has been created by the Directorate of Agric Investment to collate the number of farmers in the state, the crops they cultivate as well as their various Local Government and villages for necessary incentives to boost agricultural practices.
He revealed that over 300,000 farmers have been captured in the database.
Pastor Umo Eno thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for his vision of industrialization and food sufficiency in the state, and urged the citizens to support the actualisation of the Completion Agenda of his administration.