COVID-19: Lagos Introduces Drop Box Facility for Land Documentation

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Sanwo-Olu

Bennett Oghifo

The Lagos State government says it has set up drop box facility at the Land Registry in its Lands Bureau to ensure unhindered land title documentation in this dire period of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The drop box facility is administered at the collection centre of the Lands Registry, said the Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Lands Bureau, Mr. Olabode Agoro, at a webinar on: “COVID 19 Disruption and Land Title Administration in Lagos State: Preserving the Business of Real Estate”, organised by DF Legal, a firm of legal practitioners.

Agoro said all transactions, including application for Governor’s Consent, would now be done using the drop box facility “by placing the application and supporting documents inside an envelope with the name of the applicant written on it. The applicant is also required to write a phone number (WhatsApp enabled) and an email address on the envelope.

“Upon submission of the envelope, a file number is given for tracking the application and a team of dedicated officials at the Registry would proceed with the processing of the application. “The team would contact the applicant where documents are outstanding. Also, the Bureau has limited the number of persons allowed at a time into its customer service centre to use the drop box.”

Agoro listed services undertaken by the Bureau to include the application for Governor’s Consent, processing of all documentation regarding land titles and administering all lands in Lagos on behalf of the Governor of Lagos State.

He explained that “Governor’s Consent is the process where a transferor seeks the approval of the Governor of Lagos State to transfer of interest in land to the transferee.”

The Permanent Secretary also assured that the ongoing digitisation process, which is aimed at automating all processes in the Lands Registry, should be concluded by the end of next year. He said this would culminate in the launch of an e-portal for hosting all kinds of transactions carried out in the Registry.

Also, the Director of Land Services, Mrs. Joy Awe, explained that in applying for Governor’s Consent, an applicant is expected to submit a Form 1C, three deeds with chartable survey (where the land is a private land), a means of identification, a cover letter with easily accessible phone numbers, site photographs containing the date and time the photograph was taken and a site location sketch.

She, however, said if it was government land, the chartable survey may be dispensed with. “The applicant is also expected to attach four passport photographs: one on the Form 1C and on each of the three deeds. Where the applicant is a corporate body, it is expected to include its Certificate of Incorporation.”

Other issues addressed at the webinar were Retrospective Registration, commonly known as Double Consent and the process for applying for Double Consent, a situation where the last assignee (now the present assignor) does not have a registered title. In this instance, reliance is placed on other existing registered title documents that make up the roots of title. Hence, the assignor’s unregistered documents are submitted for registration alongside the assignee’s deed.

An application for Double Consent is expected to contain five deeds (two of the assignor’s unregistered deed and three of the assignee’s deed) and an indemnity letter in addition to the documents required for an application for consent. A site inspection and an interview of occupants of the land will also be conducted.

The Deputy Registrar of Titles, Mr. Adebisi Adeniji, stated that “once an application for consent is received from the Directorate of Land Services, before the Directorate of Lands Registry can proceed to act on the registration, request is made for the ‘Roots of Title’ for sighting before the Registry can proceed with the registration of the title.”

He appealed to applicants to be proactive by making the originals of their Roots of Title available once they receive a letter from the Directorate of Lands Services intimating them that their file has been moved to the Directorate of Land Registry.

The Managing Partner, DF Legal, Mrs. Abiola Ogundare, said the webinar was organised to examine the effect of the COVID-19 disruption on the activities of the Lagos State Lands Bureau and how the public can interface with the Bureau in view of its skeletal services now being rendered by government establishments and other businesses.

Ogundare called on the state government to speed up digitisation to ensure seamless process of documentation forthwith.