By YINKA KOLAWOLE
Investigations have revealed that majority of home owners in Lagos State, and in many other states of the federation, have no Certificate of Occupancy (C of O).
A Certificate of Occupancy is a document issued by State governments in Nigeria to a land/property buyer as a proof of ownership.
A parcel of land or property without an authentic C of O or equivalent could be likened to a vehicle without an authentic vehicle licence.
Individuals or corporations seeking to buy land in Lagos have several options:They can buy straight from the government in the case of government acquired land or buy from individuals who have bought from the government or buy from the natives (popularly known as Omo o’nile in Lagos), after verifying from the authorities that they are not illegally selling government acquired land.
Whoever one buys from, you need to eventually obtain a C of O from the state government to legitimize the purchase, if the previous owner have not already done so.
The following are the step by step procedures and documents required for obtaining a C of O in Lagos State for both State land and non-State land:
Procedures for State land
Applicant purchases and submits application pack to Land Use Allocation Committee (LUAC) and collects acknowledgement slip; Applicant collects letter of offer of allocation (1 day); Applicant pays for allocated land (within 90 days); Applicant issued with letter of confirmation with plot and block number (Full payments must be made before Plots & Blocks are allocated); Scheme Officer processes application for C of O, signs off on the file and forward files to Executive Secretary LUAC (5 days); Surveyor General provides Scheme Officer with digitized survey (2 days); ES LUAC approves processing and signs letter of allocation. ES LUAC signs off on the file, send file to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Lands (2 days);
SSA (Lands) vets entire file and sends file/application with a covering memo to the Permanent Secretary Lands Bureau (2 days); If file has a query, message is relayed back by notification;
PS Lands signs off on the memo and sends file to Governor (2 days); Governor approves file and electronically signs the C of O (2 days); If file has a query, message is relayed back by notification.
Upon approval and signing of C of O, the Governor signs off and sends file to the Deputy Registrar for further processing (2 days); Deputy Registrar processes file further, signs off and sends file to Registrar of Titles for final registration (2 days); Registrar of Titles registers the C of O, signs off and request for printing of C of O (1 day).
The whole process adds up to 21 days
Documents required for State land
Formal Letter addressed to the Executive Secretary – Land Use and Allocation Committee, Block 13, Room 4, Lands Bureau, The Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja; Standard Allocation Form with Receipt – Lekki Pennisula Schemes, Abijo Commercial and Industrial (Form for Prime Land); other areas (Form for General); Four Passport Photographs with white background; Evidence of payment of Income Tax; Current Development Levy (In case of company, Evidence of payment of Income Tax of Two Directors and Development Levy); Survey Plan; All payment receipts of Land Charges; Vital Information Form.
Procedures for Non-State land
Submission of Application and Vital Information Form for Certificate of Occupancy (by Applicant); Compilation of applicants names for publication, Title Search for previous Registration and Site Inspection (21 days); Certificate of Occupancy Engrossment (by LUAC);
Recommendation for execution of C of O (by ES LUAC, SSA Lands & PS Lands); Execution of C of O (by Governor); Stamp Duty (by Commissioner for Stamp Duties); Registration of C of O (by Land Registry); and Collection of executed and registered C of O (by Applicant)
Documents required for Non-State land
Formal Letter addressed to the ES LUAC, Block 13, Room 4, Lands Bureau, The Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja; Completed Certificate of Occupancy Form with receipt; Land Information Certificate with receipt; Four original Survey Plan (2 in cloth and 2 in paper); Four Passport Photograph with white background; Sketch Map of the Site Location; Purchase Receipt Duly Stamped; Evidence of payment of Income Tax; Current Development Levy. (In case of Company, Two Directors Tax Clearance and Development Levy); Publication Fee – N10,000.00; Capital Contribution Fee subject to a minimum of N30,000.00; Building Plan Approval if developed; and Copy of Tenement Rate Receipt (if occupied).