Ogun State government has unveiled a scheme that will enable homeowners in the state regularise and properly document their properties, known as Ogun State Homeowners’ Charter Programme.
A statement from the state Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning, said that apart from forming an integral part of the government’s mission to rebuild the state, the scheme will provide data for the medium-term planning for provision of roads, schools, hospitals and other essential services.
The statement noted that GIS Satellite mapping of the state revealed significant numbers of unrecorded properties, while thousands of houses in the state have no building plan approval, certificate of occupancy and other title documents.
It added that the scheme will enable owners of properties built without government approval regularise their title documents through a window of opportunity to obtain building plan approval and certificates of occupancy. It is expected to pave way to clear ownership lands, unlock the potential of property owners to create wealth and enhance the development of Ogun State’s housing market.
Under the scheme, owners of properties without the required building approvals, or houses built on land belonging to the state government will be given a window of opportunity to obtain building plan approvals, Certificates of Occupancy and other documents that will establish their ownership to the properties.
The scheme will ensure that all penalties and fines that are normally levied against those who build houses without approvals and Certificates of Occupancy will be waived. It also relaxes the documentation requirements and fees are discounted so that many residents, especially those who would otherwise not be able to afford it, can benefit from the programme.
Also under the scheme, interested property owner will make an initial deposit of N5, 000, and then submit documents that can be used to establish ownership of the property. These would include land purchase agreements, deed of gift or sublease, receipts, and survey plan. According to the statement, “it is quite evident that without these documents, it would be extremely difficult to establish claims to ownership of properties”.
The statement added that designated officials will undertake an initial visit to the site to confirm that the property is indeed eligible for the programme, and that the information that was provided on the form is accurate. Properties that are not eligible are those that are built under Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) high tension cables, those occupying Right-of-way of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline, those on the ‘set-back’ of roads, water bodies and gullies, as well as those built on flood plans or areas that are committed acquisitions, or that are substandard or defective.
The statement said: “It is expected that properties with regularised documents will benefit from Ogun State Governments’ urban renewal policy through effective planning of facilities in the areas of education, health and other essential infrastructure.
It will also minimise disputes of ownership of properties while property related fraud and problems of land speculators are reduced to the barest minimum. The Homeowners’ Charter Programme will also enhance the value of the property market in the state.”
Communities expected to benefit from the new initiative include Sango, Sango-Ota, Magboro, Ifo, Ogijo, Ojodu, Alagbole, Ado Odo
Ota, Oke Odan, Akute, Agbado, Agbara, and Ijoko as well as other inhabitants, mostly entrepreneurial as many of them will find it easier to use their houses to secure bank loans. Some partner banks already picked for the scheme are First Bank, FCMB, GTB, Keystone Bank, Skye Bank, Sterling Bank, Wema Bank, Lavendar Microfinance, Trust Microfinance and, Gateway Savings & Loans.
“The government understands that it might be difficult for some property owners to make the full payment at once.
It has therefore made it possible for those who cannot do so to pay in instalment – as long as the final payment is made by the final deadline of August 31, 2014. The government has also been able to secure the cooperation of a number of the partner banks in offering loans with two-year tenure. The programme can be considered as a reprieve for those who have built on government lands, or those who have built on private lands without obtaining building plan permits.
People in these categories otherwise have no possibility of obtaining Certificates of Occupancy; and without this programme those living in these buildings would continue living under the uncertainty of whether or not their building will be demolished at any point. Those who take advantage of the programme will automatically be issued with Certificates of Occupancy, removing the uncertainty, and increasing their possibility to participate fully in democratic citizenship,” the statement noted.