REFORMS AT THE LAND BUREAU
1. THE BEGINNING – THE ELECTRONIC DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (EDMS) – 2003
We started with the EDMS during the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration by scanning all the title documents at the Land Registry, so that title searches can be done electronically. We have scanned over 30 million documents on to the EDMS.
2. FOLLOWED BY – THE ELECTRONIC CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY PROJECT – 2014
The decision to change yellow paper Certificate of Occupancy was borne out of the need to curtail some identified risks, such as forgery, counterfeiting and cloning. In addition to these factors, it became essential to move in line with modern technology and to put in place new and better ways of doing things in order to improve service delivery. It is pertinent to note that the yellow paper Certificate of Occupancy has been in use and unchanged since the promulgation of the Land Use Act 1978. (36 years as at 2014 when we launched the E-C of O)
3. OBJECTIVES OF THE E – C OF O PROJECT
Ensuring that all Certificates of Occupancy in circulation are genuine and verifiable.
Having in place a fully computerised and secure process for issuing Certificates of Occupancy.
Increase public / investor confidence by instilling integrity in the State’s Certificate of Occupancy.
Encouraging a larger pool of registration of title which can then be used as collateral and enhance economic growth and thereby give life to dead assets.
4. THE MAJOR CHANGES IN THE E – C OF O
(i) The first major change is in the type of paper used in printing the new E-C of O. The yellow A3 size paper has been replaced with a user-friendly and secure A4 paper that enables automated processing. The paper used for the E-C of O was specially designed and made for the Lagos State Government by a world-renowned security paper expert and includes state-of-the-art security features that makes it extremely difficult to clone or forge using current technology.
(ii) The second major change is the streamlining and automation of the procedure for processing C of O’s. As such, the process for the issuance of E-C of Os, is not only completely secure and significantly shorter.
(iii) The third major change is that a transaction page has been added to the E-C of O, (an element taken from the Land Certificate). Like in the Land Certificate, the transaction page, which is inside the body of the E-C of O, will list all the transactions (if any) that have taken place in respect of the land in question.
(iv) The fourth major change is that some of the clauses and contents of the E-C of O have been revised to take cognisance of current trends and development while ensuring compliance with relevant laws.
(v) The fifth major change is the Survey Plan. The sun print survey plan has been replaced with a digital survey plan derived from the Lagos State Geographic Information System (LAGIS), which is accurate to 10cm. Furthermore, the digital survey plans are signed electronically within the automated system of processing by the Surveyor General of Lagos State, (a first of its kind in Nigeria).
(vi) The sixth major change designed to better secure E-C of O document is the introduction of an encrypted enhanced 2D bar code on the E-C of O and will appear on the E-C of O paper. The barcode also contains certain security information that can only be viewed with an enabled barcode reader, (a first of its kind in Nigeria).
(vii) The seventh major change is that the signatures of the State Governor, the Commissioner for Stamp Duties and the Registrar of Titles are all appended and signed electronically within the automated system of processing, (a first of its kind in Nigeria).
5. The following other initiatives have been put in place to facilitate the Ease of Doing Business at the Lands Bureau.
Upgrading and Restructuring of the Land registry as well as Reviewing its business processes. We have redesigned the layout of the Lands Registry to ensure flow of processes and transactions which will lead to reduced TAT. We have also collapsed the number of units within the land Registry from 11 to 5. The Land Registry is the destination of all the processes of title documents at the Lands Bureau. Land Registration generally describes systems by which matters concerning ownership, possession or other rights in land can be recorded to provide evidence of title, facilitate transactions and prevent unlawful interference.
We have removed the requirement for a sworn Affidavit prior to conducting title search at the Land Registry.
We have collapsed the work flow interface with customers in all the Directorates in Lands Bureau to 4 occasions: Applicant submits application – Applicant collects Demand Notice – Applicant submits revenue receipts – Applicant comes back to collect registered title documents.
Reorientation of staff – The attitude of the staffs towards public who are our client has been worked on. We now see our customers as king and must be treated with respect and prompt service delivery.
Citizens Gate Portal: this is an initiative of the Office of the Head of Service and it is designed to bring citizens closer to the Government. It is a platform that allows citizens to communicate with the Government and to voice out their complaints suggestions and compliments. Each MDA including Lands Bureau is plugged into the system and we have 2 resolvers and 1 supervisor dedicated to this platform. Please visit www.citizensgate.gov.ng. It is available to download on google play store and App store.
Quarterly Stake Holders Meeting – This is an interactive session with the public and customers of Lands Bureau. This gives us feedback on our performance and areas to improve upon.
Introduction of “file ownership” for Land Officers – this is a situation where a single Officer takes full responsibility for processing all files assigned to him/her to conclusion. The Officer will be answerable for any delay in prompt processing of the files assigned.
Introduction of passport photographs on the Form 1C (application form for Governor’s Consent) and Deeds of Assignment/Sublease in order to identify the buyer and seller. Also, only one Deed is released to the applicant.
Introduction of Survey Desk at Lands Bureau for the processing of Governors Consent application for Mortgages, to fast track processing of applications.
Introduction of an automated text message notification system to customers regarding their application, letters, enquiries, etc.
Introduction of Quality Control Unit at the Directorate of Land Services which has now blocked some leakages that was experienced in the past and has improved work output.
The Consent Registry at the Directorate of Land Services has been upgraded and redesigned with new filing systems for easy storage and retrieval of files.
Creation of an efficient Front Desk and Customer Complaints Unit that promptly attends to public enquiries and complaints. We also have complaint / suggestion boxes in strategic locations within the Bureau
Creation of a Help Desk for Abandoned and Uncompleted Applications.
Creation of a new land allocation system, both for individual allocations and private estate developers that ensures ease access to allocated land and prompt issuance of the certificate of Occupancy within 30 days of payment of all land charges.
Implementation of the Lagos State Land Registration law 2015- Replacement of Memorandum of Loss with Deed of Extract; Registration of land owner’s representatives.
Implementation Property Protection Law 2016, (a law designed to tackle the menace of Land Grabbers) with prison sentences ranging from 2 years, 10 year and 20 years. The law also creates a Special Taskforce to implement this law. The Hon Attorney general and Commissioner for Justice is the Chairman while the Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau is the Vice Chairman.
We have a robust GIS in place at the office of the State Surveyor General which enables owner’s to access information about the land parcel and title. Investors can also conduct a search on the property using the GIS. The GIS will assist policy makers in decision making. The cadastral mapping/digital mapping contains 99 layers of all sectors including, environment, education, health, physical planning, housing, etc assists with identification of properties and is in place at the Office of the State Surveyor General.
FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS (2017 – 2019) – THE INTEGRATED LAND ADMINISTRATION AND AUTOMATION SYSTEM
We are very excited and proud to inform you that His Excellency, The Governor; Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has approved the deployment of the Integrated Land Administration and Automation System by Thompson Reuters. The Integrated Land Administration and Automation System provides for a fully integrated end-to-end Land Administration platform for a sustainable and automated land administration environment, effectively reducing silos of information that exist across Departments / Agencies and thereby streamlining the entire workflow process. This intervention is designed to manage information and automate business activities related to property rights registration, transacting and contracting real property and digital preservation of land-related documents.
The Integrated Land Administration and Automation System is a suite of technology modules that can conduct rapid inventory of land rights, automate/manage land records, create/ maintain integrated geographic data accurately and fairly value any property. Some of the key considerations of these interventions are:
Workflow and Transaction Centric; which allows for complete modernization and automation of land administration. Applicants will be able to submit and track their applications online. They will also be able to conduct searches and obtain Certified True Copies of Titles on line.
Content Sharing; which enables different agencies and departments to work on the same data sources,
Data Security; which eliminates unauthorized activity
Reporting; enabling Government officials to make better and smarter decisions
GIS; integrates with and use existing investment from the Surveyor-General’s office
Record Preservation; digitizing of paper records means the preservation of valuable documentation.
This innovation will reduce the time frame for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy (from initiation to completion) to a maximum of 14 working days
It will optimise revenue collected from land transactions
It will multiply land transactions and revenues by 5 or 6 times of the current level
It will reduce the cost of land transaction and increase incentives for private sector investment.
In a nutshell, it is a fully automated land administration solution that will secure records, streamline processes and reduce organisational bottle necks for a more effective Land Information system and cadastral map management.