Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, has signed the first batch of Certificates of Occupancy, C/O several years after such documents have been waiting for endorsement.
Commissioner for Lands, and Housing, Mr Chaka Chukwumerije, who disclosed this in Umuahia, said the “State targets to sign 1 million C/Os in 2024.”
The development, according to him, is in line with the state’s new policy of completing the signing of C/O and other titled documents within a 30-day cycle.
Chukwumerije further said it was aimed at improving the Ease of Doing Business in the state, and making Abia a preferred destination for investors.
The Commissioner regretted that approximately 2,000 Certificates of Occupancy, dating back seven years, “are awaiting resolution,” but expressed faith that under the new dawn in the state the bottlenecks would be totally eliminated.
“The number signed last week was 100. It was just a symbolic indication that we mean business because while we were on the enlightenment campaign, some people felt it was ‘audio,’ but now they can confirm it’s real.
“It’s a physical demonstration of our commitment to sign off C of O within 30 days of application. Our deliverable in 2024 is to issue a million C of Os to open up the land registration process. Our commitment to ease of doing business is sacrosanct.”
Chukwumerije hinted that the state was seriously working towards automation of the C of Os to fast track the process as currently obtains in Kaduna and Ogun states.
“We are also following up on a process of automation. Note that for every single C of O that the Governor signed, he had signed four documents. So, we want to transit to automating the entire process as is done in Kaduna and Ogun states.
“We are dealing with an inherited backlog as old as seven years in some instances. Our commitment to Abians is that as long as a land property has no issues, the C of O will be signed off within 30 days.”
The Commissioner said that the Governor had during the signing of the documents, vowed to pursue ambitious housing and land administration reforms.
He revealed plans to establish a Building Laboratory in the state as part of measures to control and enhance the quality of materials used in construction projects.
Assuring transparency, efficiency, and value, Chukwumerije stated that the state aims to address land transactions, public building maintenance, and ensure adherence to the principles of the current administration.
Chukwumerije outlined initiatives such as achieving the best land administration system in Nigeria, enhancing service delivery for Abians, renovating public buildings, increasing land transactions, issuing a million C/Os, and resolving land issues in specific areas, as part of the Ministry’s goals in 2024.
He acknowledged the Ministry’s focus on building control enforcement and expressed appreciation to the Umuahia Capital Development Authority for its efforts in preventing haphazard construction and addressing building collapse concerns.
The Ministry had since December 2023, embarked on awareness campaigns in Aba and Umuahia, sensitising residents on the importance of obtaining the C of O which is the only legal title to land ownership.
Chukwumerije urged residents with landed property in the state to apply for their C of O, assuring that within 30 days the document will be signed by the Governor after the necessary thorough processing.