Obaseki’s Land Use Reforms: Innovation driving issuance of electronic C-of-O, says Evbuomwan, MD Edo-GIS

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…applicants can now request for C-of-O online

… cost remains as low as N50,000

The Managing Director, Edo Geographic Information Service (Edo-GIS), Arch. Frank Evbuomwan, has said that the deployment of innovative solutions has enabled the agency to reduce the turn-around time for the issuance of electronic Certificate-of-Occupancy in the state.

Speaking with journalists in Benin City, Edo State capital, Evbuomwan said the Simplified Land Registration Procedure, an initiative of the Godwin Obaseki-led administration, has continued to receive accolades from members of the public.

He noted, “The feedbacks from members of the public have been encouraging. Our people are very happy with the new process which is a lot easier, cheaper and a faster way to get a C-of-O.”

He said “the innovation is a deliberate policy of the Obaseki-led administration to offer better services to our people and the people are happy the services are better. Turn-around time has always been a function of bureaucracy. It takes way too long to get the bureaucracy moving. That is one of the first steps we changed, moved from a hierarchical system to a horizontal system.”

“If you go through our offices you will see that we work through teams, which makes it a lot easier. It doesn’t need to move from the boss (Oga) to the Permanent Secretary and to the director and all of that. Now, what we have are work-teams, everybody that is needed is sitting around the table and we are able to move much quicker,” he added.

He explained that the digitised process has made the acquisition of C-of-O easier for people, adding, “When you submit your forms, we capture your entire file on our system, which has made retrieval much faster and easier.

“The third thing we did was to tag our files. So every time you send your file to an officer, it is timed and if it sits on your desk beyond 48 hours, even if you are the Managing Director, you will be sanctioned appropriately. We also use document scanners to track our files so as to speed up the entire process.

“Then we have a willing Governor. Most of the challenges around C-of-O entail getting the governor to sign, but Governor Obaseki is different.”

On the fee for processing C-of-Os, he said, “It is between a quarter and third of what it used to be. Presently, it is possible to get a C-of-O for as low as N50,000 depending on the size, location and use of the land; one may add a little premium on top of the N50,000.

“A plot measuring 50×100 in a place like Ekehuan Road will probably cost N60,000 depending on your use; while 100×00 piece of land in a place like Irhirhi will cost you about N70,000 depending on your use. It is a lot cheaper. This used to cost hundreds of thousands of naira, but now it has been reduced to a figure that people are very happy with. They are more comfortable with the rates now,” he added.

Evbuomwan further said that “From months and years for processing the document in the past, we have reduced it to weeks and once you complete your documentation, including timely payment of the fee, we can process your C-of-O in 30 working days.

“The registration for a C-of-O has been made quite simple with an option of online registration. It begins with filling of the application form, submission of all documents, indicating whether you have a survey plan to describe the land and a financial commitment of N50,000 from the applicant. The money is not the application fee but a part-payment reaffirming the interest of the applicant. Once we finish the processing, the applicant will be asked to bring an extra 16,000 or 20,000, thereafter, get the C-of-O within six weeks.”