Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Works and Housing, said he has inaugurated the Electronic Certificate of Occupancy (e-C of O) that will enable citizens to access their land titles and documents within 24 hours.
Fashola made this known while unveiling the business process automation of certificates of occupancy for Federal Lands on Friday in Abuja.
He said the generation of secured documents would be printed by the Nigerian security printing and minting to eliminate forgery. The minister urged interested applicants to begin the process
He said the government was committed to reducing poverty and promoting prosperity adding that the digitisation of the federal lands registry would help to increase the value of lands.
The minister, who recalled how he met land title applications dated 1992 upon resumption, stressed that the new process was part of the government’s commitment to reduce poverty and influence prosperity.
“This is to make life better; the process that used to take three months will now take about 24 hours. As head of the ministry, I will stop carrying loads of documents every weekend with the new innovation.”
“Some of the things I wanted to share are the arrears of C of O that I had the opportunity to process when the president finally delegated the authority to the ministry. Some of the documents date back to 1992.
“So somebody has been waiting for years to get a C of O and it will interest you that I signed about 6,685 of them during my tenure.
“It may look invisible but this is a step towards prosperity. This is another layer of technology deployment and I urge you to embrace it and keep it going, long after we have left.”
The minister further urged the staff of the ministry to embrace the new change and work judiciously for the benefit of Nigerians as “old habits never die”.
The acting Permanent Secretary, FMWH, Mr Folorunso Esan, said the IT solution would enable the minister, permanent secretary, other relevant stakeholders to have easy access to the automated business of the customised solution.
“The application will offer the minister an opportunity to digitally approve multiple CofO document using biometric authentication.
“As part of deploying a robust IT solution, the ministry has successfully integrated with TSA-Remita and FIRS platforms for seamless payment of land charges and stamp duty respectively.
In his remarks, Mr Felix Appah, Director, of Lands and Housing Development, FMWH said the automation would ensure efficiency and improve productivity as well as ensure transparency.
Appah said it would help to check any form of fraudulent activities which was prevalent in the analogue method of processing title documents.
“The importance of issuance of C of O cannot be over-emphasised because it encourages foreign investment in mass housing thereby stimulating the operations of small and medium-scale enterprises in Nigeria.
“It also serves as collateral for the holder to secure loans which will enhance economic development.
“Embracing this new development will reduce the time frame from an average of 90 days using the manual method to a 24-hour period (1 day). This will positively boost Nigeria’s ranking on the ease of doing business,” Appah said.