Many documents are important to land owners and land buyers in Nigeria. The C of O is one of those documents. In fact, without the C of O document, there’s every likelihood you’d forfeit your home.
It is a document directly issued at various state government levels in Nigeria, and it verifies that you are the authentic owner of a specific property(s). In Nigeria, it’s impossible to purchase a house or land without the C of O. It’s just like purchasing a vehicle without getting the logbook that states all the information about your vehicle.
So, as a land owner in Nigeria, your property must have an accompanying C of O. To learn more about it, here’s an article about the land tenure system in Nigeria that gives in-depth details about the C of O.
However, to learn more about C of O in Nigeria, its full meaning, importance, how to get a C of O in Nigeria, and many more, keep reading to find out.
What Is The Meaning of C of O in Nigeria?
The full meaning of C of O is Certificate of Occupancy, a legal document obtained from the state governments in Nigeria that proves you own a particular property outright. It specifies that the property belongs exclusively to you; else, the government has the right to seize property without a C of O without any compensation.
How Does The Certificate Of Occupancy In Nigeria Work?
In Nigeria, the Land Use Act authorizes the State Government in any state in the country to issue a certificate of occupancy to a property that meets the necessary criteria.
In Nigeria, no two lands can bear the same Certificate of Occupancy; that’s to say, if you own ten lands or properties, all ten will have their C of O. With this certification, you remain in charge of your property.
Characteristics Of The Nigerian Certificate Of Occupancy
Before you can be issued a C of O, the land or property must be registered with the Surveyor-General of the State or the Federation(if the land is federal land). Why? Because the Surveyor-General has first to vet that the land is free of government acquisition.
Here are what you’ll see in Nigeria’s typical C of O.
- Certificate of Occupancy number
- File number
- Plot number
- Location details
- Plot size
- Survey plan or graphic (plot shape)
- Date of issuance
- Lease term
- Initial annual ground rent fees
- Land use purpose
- Terms and Conditions.
Why Is It Important To Have A C of O In Nigeria?
If you’ve ever wondered why it’s important to have a C of O in Nigeria, here are your reasons:
- It proves that you’re the legal owner of a particular land
- It prevents the Government from taking away the land or property from you without compensation
- It increases the value of your land/property
- It prevents multiple owners from claiming one property
Step by step process of obtaining C of O in Lagos
Processing a C of O in Lagos takes a longer time to get it done. It takes 1 and a half years or 2 years to get it. This is one of the many reasons why people think is cumbersome.
The truth is that it’s the publication stage that takes much time. Publication of names can take up to one year to be done.
Having said that, lets dive into the step by step processing stages.
Step 1: submission of form and documents
The first step is to purchase your C of O form, fill it and submit it along with your property documents listed above in the requirements section.
Note: make sure you have all the listed required property documents and submit them to the right department.
Step 2: payment of government assessment fees
At this stage you are required to pay all the government assessment fee attached to the property.
Note: the amount for the assessment fee will be determined by the location and the size of the land. So to get these details, it will be after you have finished step 1 (which is submitting your documents).
Step 3: publication of names
After all, the required documents are submitted and the fees have been paid successfully, the next stage is the publication of names.
The government will Publicize the names of people who applied for the C of O title in the newspaper for a few weeks (21 days) in other to notify the public in case if there is any objection on the property in question.
Step 4: site inspection on the property
After names have been fully published for some period of time, the assigned government official will come to the property site to inspect it.
If any issue is found, it may affect the processing of the C of O title. So always make sure that everything is cleared when they come to your site.
Step 5: processing of the C of O title
After inspection of the property has been done, the next thing is for the department in charge to prepare all the individual C of O submitted.
Step 6: Signing of the C of O certificate
After the preparation of the certificate, it will then be submitted to Lagos State Governor for signing. The moment the exiting governor signs, the process is almost done.
Step 7: Registration and collection of the C of O certificate.
After his excellence signed all the submitted C of O certificates, the certificate will be stamped, registered, and documented for future references. Thereafter each individual/applicant will be contacted for the collection of their certificate.
Note: if you are processing yours, always follow up and request at which stage the process is.
Reasons why people abandon their C of O processing
- Inadequate information– Many times they don’t produce all the essential documents as well as the necessary information and so they get stocked at various stages and would never come back.
- Address issue – Some of the addresses people give are not even genuine.
- Doing it wrongly – Not everybody that applied is actually doing it rightly.
- Cost– the cost is high in some area
- Longer time – it takes a longer time
Advantage of having C of O title for your property.
- One of the major advantages of having your title document is to claim your entitlements or compensation in case if the Lagos state government intrudes on your property.
- To be able to apply for a bank loan for a business or to move on in life.
- It is used to resolve any property dispute that may arise in the future.
- It can be used for mortgage transactions.
Requirements for process C of O in Lagos State Nigeria
- Obtaining a C of O form (which will cost between ₦5,000 to ₦10,000).
- Sun-print of your survey plan.
- All the land information certificates
- Dead of assignment/Purchased receipts
- Passport photograph
- Site photograph
- If it is a developed land copy of the approved building plan is required.
- Assessment fee (this will be determined by the land).
- Administrative fee (to be determined by the land).
- Publication fees of ₦10,000.
- Evidence of tax payment/clearance
While purchasing land in Nigeria or you have a property, ensure that your property has a C of O. If not, the government can easily take your property away at any given time. The C of O protects you and leaves you entitled to compensation if the government wants the property.