• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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94% of Lagos properties lack legal titles, stakeholders lament

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Experts in Nigeria’s building industry have raised concerns about the high number of properties in Lagos State lacking legal titles. They estimate a staggering 94% of properties fall into this category.

The issue came to light during the launch of Edge Facility Managers in Lagos. Stakeholders used the opportunity to call for a streamlined land titling process.

Streamlining for growth

Victor Alonge, First Vice President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), emphasized the link between land titles and economic development.

“This ‘dead capital’ is unusable because owners lack legal titles,” Alonge explained. “Without a legal title, you can’t access financing for anything. Banks require security, collateral for loans. That security is a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), and without it, banks won’t lend.”

Alonge proposed streamlining the land titling system to ease registration. He urged state governors to prioritize the issue.

Lagos: A leader with challenges

“While Lagos is at the forefront of improving its land titling system,” Alonge said, “even here, an estimated 94% of properties lack legal titles. If Lagos faces this challenge, imagine the situation in states like Nasarawa, Ogun, and Oyo.”

He commended Edo State for recent progress. “The Edo State governor surprised me,” Alonge recounted. “Since the state’s creation, only about 2,000 C of Os had been issued. In less than eight years of his administration, he’s issued over 30,000. It’s progress, but there’s more to be done.”

Beyond bureaucracy: Building trust

Chudi Ubosi, Managing Partner of Ubosi Eleh & Co., highlighted the importance of identifying available assets. However, he noted public mistrust as a significant barrier.

“People fear getting titles,” Ubosi explained. “They believe it opens the door to government intrusion, like tax increases. Additionally, many are unaware of the benefits of formal titles or intimidated by the process, viewing the government as a bureaucratic nightmare.”

Ubosi urged the government to prioritize public awareness campaigns, education, and capacity building to address these concerns.