The Lagos State Government on Friday in Ikeja issued electronic Certificates of Occupancy to 55 property owners in the state.
Gov. Babatunde Fashola presented the documents to the beneficiaries at a brief ceremony to officially kick-start the issuance of the e-certificates.
The first set of beneficiaries are property owners in the various government land schemes.
Presenting the documents, Fashola said that the migration from the paper title to electronic C of 0 was the state’s response to the problem of document counterfeiting.
According to him, the illegal printing of the “Yellow Paper” by some unscrupulous people has affected the reliability of the paper C of 0 as a legal title to properties in the state.
He said the new electronic title was to eliminate fraud in the system and ensure efficient land administration in the state.
“This new electronic document is more secure as it is designed to eliminate cloning and issuance of documents that are not genuine.
“Those issued with this e-C of O can be sure they have bought land rather than law suits. The new document guarantees safety of properties,” the governor said.
Fashola said that the government would speed up the process of issuance of the new document to clear the backlog of applications.
He said those with authentic paper C of O had nothing to worry about as the old document still provided temporary legal cover on their properties.
The governor, however, stated that holders of the “Yellow paper” would soon be required to turn in their old document for the new e-C of 0.
Shedding more light on the new document, the Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau, Mr Hakeem Muri- Okunola, said the issuance of the e-C of O was faster and less cumbersome.
According to the permanent secretary, applicants who fulfil all necessary conditions will be issued the document within 45 days.
On why property owners in government land schemes were being issued the new document first, Muri-Okunola said the step was purely for ease of administration.
“We are focusing on properties in government’s plans because we are just starting; very soon, we will extend it to private purchasers of land as well,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Abimbola Akinyemi, commended the government for the initiative and noted that it would put the minds of property owners at rest.
“I feel so great getting this document and I want to commend the government for the idea.
“With this e-C of 0, property owners can now feel safe with their properties as it has eliminated the many problems with the old paper document.
“I applied online and within a short time, here I am with the document. This is unbelievable and it is really commendable,” she said.