According to the Federal Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, a Certificate of Occupancy is an instrument of title issued by an authorized government office evidencing the right to occupy and use a specific piece of land described in the document together with the survey description of the location under certain terms of contract.
Certificate of Occupancy confers on the holder of the land the right to occupy it for 99 years having in mind that the Land Use Act 1978 made the state the custodian of land in Nigeria. This document describes whether or not the property can be used for residential, commercial or mixed development.
Certificate of Occupancy is the most important document of landed property because it legally confers exclusive right of property ownership on their holders. Thus, it’s used to resolve land dispute and prevent the government from repossessing the said land. In a situation where the government decides to use its overriding control to recover a property that has a Certificate of Occupancy, it will duly compensate the holder. It can also be used as collateral in bank.
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Procedure for Obtaining Certificate of Occupancy
v Verify that the landed property in question is not under government acquisition;
v Purchase and submit application pack to the Land Use Allocation Committee. At submission, the applicant will collect an acknowledgement slip.
v The application pack will be submitted with the following documents:
Ø Land Information Certificate,
Ø Receipt for Land Information Fee,
Ø Receipt for Application Form,
Ø Fee for Publication/Inspection,
Ø Land Purchase Receipt and Agreement,
Ø Current Tax Clearance Certificate,
Ø Receipt of Development Levy,
Ø Sketch of Site Location,
Ø 4 Copies of White-Background Passport Photograph of the Applicant,
Ø Approved Building Plan (for buildings),
Ø Tenement Rate Receipt or Land Used Charge (for occupied buildings),
Ø A Written and Addressed Cover Letter to the Executive Secretary of the Land Use and Allocation Committee.
v Payment for allocated land not later than 90 days.
v Within the application period, it is advertised to attract objection if the property is owned by someone other than the applicant.
v The applicant will be issued a confirmation letter that has plot and block number.
v Scheme Officer processes the application, signs on the form and forwards to the executive secretary of the Land Use Allocation Committee.
v The Surveyor General provides the Scheme Officer with digitized survey.
v The process is approved and a letter of allocation is issued by the executive secretary of the Land Use Allocation Committee.
v The executive secretary of the Land Use Allocation Committee signs the file and sends it to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Lands.
v The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Lands vets the entire file and sends it to with a covering memo to the Permanent Secretary of Land Bureau.
v If the file has an issue, a message will be relayed back by notification. If there’s no query on the file, the Permanent Secretary signs the memo and sends the file to the Governor.
v If the file has a query, a message will be relayed back by notification. If not, it will be approved by the Governor who then electronically signs the Certificate of Occupancy and sends the file to the Deputy Registrar for further processing.
v When the Deputy Registrar is done with his part on the processing, he signs and forwards it to his boss – The Registrar, who then registers the Certificate of Occupancy, signs it and request for its printing.
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