The Lagos State Government has introduced an electronic certificate of occupancy (e-C of O), which has technology-driven security features, for land owners and property developers within the state, according to local news media.
Citing the state’s Permanent Secretary of Lands Bureau, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, ThisDay reports that the commencement of the new process would mark the gradual phasing out of the yellow paper certificate of occupancy, which until the formal notice from the state government was still a valid legal title document.
The yellow paper format has been in use since the enactment of Land Use Act of 1979.
The paper used for the electronic certificate of occupancy is said to have been specially designed for the Lagos State Government by a world-renowned security expert which incorporates technology-driven security features and makes it extremely difficult “to clone or forge the paper on which the certificate is printed.”
The new document comes encrypted with an enhanced 2D barcode that contains security information that can only be viewed with an enabled barcode reader.
Also, the sun print survey plan in the yellow paper is being replaced with an ‘as-built’ digital survey plan obtained from the Lagos State Geographic Information System, which is now electronically signed by the Surveyor-General of Lagos State within the automated system of processing.
Before now, the processing of C-of-Os in Lagos State has been made cumbersome by bureaucratic bottlenecks that unnecessarily delay the issuance of the document.
Worse, there have been cases of multiple C-of-Os being issued to different parties on the same piece of land, while some crafty people have cloned or illegally duplicated genuine C-of-Os with the aim of doing fraudulent transactions with them.
The state government says that new electronic C of O is expected to prevent unauthorised access and other unlawful tempering with the stored electronic documents and information.