By Igbaugba Ehigimetor
The Edo Government has said that only 30,000 Certificates of Occupancy (Cs-of-O), were issued by it in 50 years, which includes the period of Midwest State, Bendel State and the present Edo.
Managing Director, Edo State Geographic Information Service (EDOGIS), Mr Frank Evbuomwan, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Sunday the issued Cs-of-O covered only five per cent of the properties in the state, adding that EDOGIS was poised to change the situation.
He said that the agency, which became fully operational in 2018, had so far issued no fewer than 1,200 Cs-of-O, with a target to issue 10,000 in 2020 alone.
The official said that not only had the issuance of Cs-of-O been digitalised, the process had been made easier and also cheaper.
According to him, “With less than seven weeks after making payment, you are sure to have your C-of-O.
”It comes at a reduced amount, a quarter of the several hundreds of naira spent on the same certificate before now, depending on the size of the property.
“We have digitalised the manual process of land administration in the state; EDOGIS has ensured efficiency and effectiveness in land administration in the state.
”So far, we have issued about 1,200 Cs-of-O, bearing in mind that we started about a year ago.
“Unlike the features that characterised the former certificates, especially with the ability to easily fake it, this new one comes with a lot of features such that it will be extremely impossible to be faked.
“It comes with a water marked features that you can barely see. There is also a machine readable encode, among other features,” he said.
The EDOGIS boss said that the agency which is set up as a quasi-private sector driven government agency, had carried out the aerial survey of all the urban centres of the state.
He added that the aerial survey would be extended to the rural areas.
“What this means is that we now have a graphical representation of what properties look like in the state, we are now tying that to the owners.
“Our aim is to eliminate the grey areas to properties ownership in the state in the next few months.
”This will be a major boost to investors because when they come in, they can get genuine and factual ownership of properties in the state.
“This has always been a major problem to investors in the state. They can now get reliable information on land.
”Before now, some investors pay multiple times for properties and this scared many away. Now they have easy way to verify ownership of a property.
“In addition to this, for those who have registered their properties, they now have a verifiable document they can use to unlock hidden capital on their properties,” he said.
While noting that the agency was still far at meeting it set target, he said part of the objective was to collect and digitise all data in and around ownership of land in the state.
“What we have done is that we have taken few steps in the right direction. We want a situation where the dispute over ownership of land will be a thing of the past; whether by individual, communities or government.
“It will surprise you to know that Cs-of-O cover less than 5 per cent of the properties in this entire state. It is however not Edo problem, it is a Nigerian problem.
“People have all sorts of land titles that are not formal; Oba’s approval, father’s or what have you. We are raising the bar by providing a unified system of titling properties. Unified and verifiable system.