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NIGERIA: Sanitising Land Administration System in Abuja

Segun Awofadeji writes on the efforts by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to ensure a more efficient land administration process in the nation’s capital through the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS)
 
On his assumption of office, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, was confronted by myriad problems.
These included intense public outcry over the unfair land allocation system adopted by his predecessors resulting in alteration to the Abuja Master Plan; the rising filth in Nigeria’s capital city; issue of speed breakers which impacted negatively on the increasing number of vehicles plying the city’s road network; low public morale rooted in deep distrust of the immediate past administration; and nuisance posed by prostitutes, among others.
 
 
The Mohammed administration did not waste time in confronting these challenges headlong, right from his first day in office. The Minister’s first port of call was the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), zeroed in the fraudulent land administration system which he found in place there. The system has now been repositioned for more transparent service delivery, riding it of traces of corruption,
 
AGIS Scenario
Speaking with THISDAY in an interview in Bauchi recently, the Executive Director of AGIS, Mrs. Jamilah Tangaza, said in tackling the problem of unfair land allocation system adopted by his predecessor resulting in alteration to the Abuja Master Plan head-on, the Minister, who was not unaware of the magnitude of his action, constantly reminded persons to be affected by his sanitisation processes that public interest must be served always.
 
 
Giving a background to the current AGIS systems upgrade, Tangaza said it was in line with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan. Senator Mohammed, in June 2013, directed her (Tangaza) to overhaul and transform the business processes of the Agency in line with global best practice, with the aim of creating efficiencies, improving security and service delivery to the public.
 
 
The Minister, she explained, thereafter approved the upgrade of the entire AGIS systems following a digital audit survey of the entire Information Technology infrastructure of AGIS.
 
 
Areas the AGIS Systems upgrade cover include: system hardware/infrastructure equipment and configuration; back-up and disaster recovery; 2013 Geomedia software; 2013/2014 Satellite Imagery (covering the entire FCT); IPCCTV installation/security monitoring room; software and applications upgrade; Microsoft License Agreement (2013-2016); and Fire Reaction and defence Systems installation.
 
 
Besides the technical aspect, attention is being paid to staff members that will operate the new systems through acquisition of new and additional skills, trainings and various operational meetings.
 
Focus on Modifications
In a recent briefing with key staff members of the various divisions/units on strategic operations review and performance target ahead of the 2014 operation year, between December 9 and 15, 2013, the divisions discussed on organisational and process modifications necessary in carrying out specific tasks for optimal performance and delivery of service in tune with global best practice.
 
 
It also assessed staff performance viz-a-viz their schedule of duties and looked at the training needs of staff members for effective performance. The meetings were held bearing in mind the AGIS Reforms and Systems Upgrade blueprint. All units adopted the vision so that it guides their operations and targets for 2014.
 
Policy Thrust
The main targets/ policy thrust for AGIS in 2014 is to achieve the completion and adoption of systems upgrade of the entire AGIS infrastructure to ensure efficiency, reduce incidents of fraud and better service delivery via enhancement of virtual and physical access, data, file and systems security; increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the FCT administration – including via securing of financial transactions through full automation of revenue collection and management systems;
 
 
Another thrust is to improve staff welfare including ensuring a professional, well-trained and motivated workforce that is capable of effectively AGIS operations and management; optimise AGIS workflows, redesign business processes and implement change management programmes for all AGIS divisions, departments and units; completion and adoption of systems upgrade of the entire AGIS infrastructure with the aim of ensuring efficiency, reducing incidents of fraud and better service delivery via enhancement of virtual and physical access, data, file and systems security.
 
 
The agency also plans to increase the IGR for the FCT administration via securing of financial transactions through full automation of revenue collection and management systems; improve staff welfare including ensuring a professional, well-trained and motivated workforce that is capable of effective AGIS operations and management; and optimise AGIS workflows, redesign business processes and implement change management programmes for all AGIS divisions, departments and units.
 
About AGIS
The Abuja AGIS, which has since unveiled its new AGIS systems infrastructure early March this year, are necessary prerequisites for facilitating the current and proposed revenue generating operations of AGIS and also for ensuring first-class service delivery as well as customer /stakeholder satisfaction, in line with the vision of AGIS to “become a comprehensive, all-inclusive fool-proof and state-of-the-art computerised geospatial data infrastructure for the FCT”.
 
 
The AGIS agency was established by the FCT (Establishment of Functions and Departments) and Ministry of Federal Capital Territory (MFCT) Dissolution Order No. 1, 2004 which decentralised the structure of the FCT administration, to include mission-critical agencies like AGIS, and Abuja Metropolitan Management Agency, among others.
 
 
The Order charged AGIS with the responsibility for generation, management and administration of geospatial and land related matters in the FCT. This mandate was further reviewed in August 2008 following the demerger of the Lands Administration from the agency to include handling of “data capture, processing and computerisation of Land-related Departments as well customer services such as billing and revenue collection.
 
 
The Land Administration Department’s mandate on the other hand includes the “Allocation of Land, Issuance of Certificates of Occupancy, serving as a Secretariat for the Land Use and Allocation Committee, and all other issues concerned with land administration in the FCT”. Thus, provision of land-related services in the FCT is the joint responsibility of a number of cooperating government Agencies and Departments with clearly defined but interdependent functions.
 
 
In all of these processes, AGIS plays a central role as the repository of all spatial and land-related data, in addition to computerised processing of land applications, production of certificates of occupancy, as well as serving as an umbrella for customer services related to lands administration.
 
Curbing Corruption
In his remarks during the launching ceremony of the New AGIS Systems infrastructure in Abuja, the FCT Minister disclosed that the incessant reports of proliferation of illegal survey documents, violation of the IT systems by fraudulent persons has made the government to lose a whopping sum of over N10 billion annually, but however expressed happiness that the FCT Administration has launched the new infrastructure to block the menace.
 
 
Mohammed revealed that these fraudulent activities have led to cases of double allocations, land racketeering and forgery with estimated racketeering business at over N10 billion.
 
 
Also, the upgrade would provide AGIS back-up data centre and state-of-the-art 2013/2014 Models Geomedia Satellite Imagery equipment that covers the entire FCT and some neighbouring states.
 
 
According to him, the administration has also signed a MoU with the equipment manufacturers such as Microsoft Corporation, Gilat Satcom and others for two years of maintenance of the installed equipment.
 
 
The Minister further disclosed that with the launch of Accelerated Area Council and Sectional Title Re-Issuance Scheme (AACTRIS) two years ago, over 6,000 applications have been cleared, 518 Mass Housing Applications have been processed while 1,118 applications have been cleared awaiting Certificates of Occupancy for re-issue of their titles with over N520 million realised as revenue within two years.
 
 
Senator Mohammed also revealed that he recently approved the allocation of over 3,000 plots across the six Area Councils, which were earlier recommended by the respective Area Councils’ Chairmen.
 
Vital Process
Launching the AGIS Upgraded Information Technology Infrastructure, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, commended the FCT Administration for embarking on the innovative project as it would drastically curtail, if not totally eliminate, fraudulent activities of land racketeers.
 
 
Mark, who was represented by the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, expressed delight over the landmark effort of the FCT Administration to ensure that a strategic area of its mandate is achieved.
 
He noted that the challenge of fraud in the administration of land in the FCT has been a source of worry to both government as well as FCT landlords, and lauded the FCT Minister for rising to the challenge of nipping in the bud such nefarious activities.
 
 
Also speaking at the event, the FCT Permanent Secretary, Engr. John Chukwu, said the unveiling represents the harvest of another dividend of the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan and congratulated the Minister.
 
Tangaza said with the renewal of the Microsoft volume license agreement for the FCTA for 2013 – 2016, the agency has availed the administration with the latest of the highest grade of operating system, office application, database, automation tools and more than 200 different software applications available under the Microsoft technology platform.
 
An elated Tangaza declared that as “AGIS heralds its 10th year of existence, it is pertinent to mention that the current FCT Administration has equipped the agency with the latest and cutting-edge technology that’s needed to take it to the next level through the objectives of creating efficiencies, improving security, enhancing IGR and improving service delivery to the public”.

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