By Omeiza Ajayi
No fewer than 11, 263 Certificates of Occupancy Cs of O are lying fallow in the vaults of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration as their owners have failed to pick them, officials have said.
This was as the Administration dismissed reports of tardiness on the part of the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, in appending his signature to such documents, saying between May 2015 and May 2019, the minister had signed about 2, 493 Certificates of Occupancy some of which are yet uncollected.
Deputy Director, Information and Customer Service at the Abuja Geographic Information System AGIS, Muhammad Hazat Sule in a statement made available to Vanguard said it was not correct to infer that land title hitches were delaying property investments in Abuja or that the Minister has not signed up to 500 Certificates of Occupancy since 2015.
“These blame games and allegations are frivolous and most unfortunate because they are far from being true”, he said.
According to Sule, “the FCT Administration currently has 11, 263 Certificates of Occupancy in the vaults of Land Administration that have remained uncollected by their bona fide owners. Some of these Certificates have spent over 10 years in our vaults. These are documents expected to be in possession of their owners to lubricate the economy with multiplier effects on the lives of the citizenry.
“It was alleged in the publication that the FCT Minister has not signed up to 500 Certificates of Occupancy since 2015 which is very untrue because the Minister signed 2, 493 Certificates of Occupancy from May 2015 to May 2019. The breakdown of some of the Certificates signed by the current FCT Administration includes Agriculture – 5; Commercial – 131; Industrial – 36; Mixed Use – 45; Open Space /Green Area – 3; Public Institution – 59; and Residential 2,214 totalling 2,493”.
He noted that since the reappointment of the minister, the first and second batches of Certificates of Occupancy has already been processed, while other batches are undergoing vetting, production and further processes with a high level of due diligence.
“It is equally important to note that the processing and issuance of Certificates of Occupancy are strictly guided by statutory provisions and Land Administration policies of the FCT.
“The FCT Administration has the duty to allocate land in the entire 8,000 square kilometres of the Federal Capital Territory and control development therein, which no doubt has been carried out judiciously. There is no city in the West African sub-region that can equal Abuja’s quality development with its aesthetic beauty. The investment in property in the Federal Capital Territory has remained attractive globally because of the painstaking manner the authority has packaged the processes. Although there are challenges, it has been able to surmount them.
“To put the records straight, it is imperative to know that Estate Developers are usually given an allocation of land with a letter of intent to build houses for sale to would-be beneficiaries. The Developers are expected not to sell plots of land but completed houses with secondary and tertiary infrastructure like road networks, electricity and water supply within their respective estates; while the FCT Administration provides the primary infrastructure.
“The Estate Developers with genuine titles are under Terms and Condition with the FCT Administration, part of which at the end of development and sales, are expected to submit the names of all the beneficiaries/buyers of their houses to the FCT Administration for the subsequent issuance of individual titles as well as Certificates of Occupancy. To date, majority of these Estate Developers have not come up with the list(s) of buyers of their houses; and Cs of O is not meant for the Developers but the buyers (beneficiaries) of these houses. Although the list must be provided by the developers to enable the FCT Administration process the titles and certificates”, Sule explained.