Federal Government of Nigeria Recall we wrote a while ago that a new electronic certificate of occupancy was in the offing in Lagos State. Now the deal is done.

The Lagos State Governor- Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola has flagged off the issuance of the e-C of O. The ceremony took place at the Land's Bureau in Lagos State a a while ago during which the Governor presented the e-C of O to some sporadically selected beneficiaries. The Governor recalled that the flagging off of this exercise was symbolic as it affords his government an opportunity to intimate Lagosians the milestone already reached in making the project a reality. In the words of Governor Fashola, "government is doing everything possible to certify land titles to ensure safety of the investments that people put their savings to acquire".  He went further to say, "we have moved from geographic mapping of our State to being able to keep all our land records now in an electronic form. We know where land is and we know what sizes they are and I think that it is gradually making the work of all the land administrators a lot easier in the sense that it is not all the time now that they have to go into the bush to get dimensions of land".

The Governor reeled out the advantages of the new e-C of O over the analogue one. According to him, "this document that we now have is more secure document with security printed papers. There are all sorts of features that if you tamper with them, you will actually destroy them. They are capable of self-destruction and only few people have access to this paper, I don't have access to it and I don't need to see it to sign". He continues, "there is also a lot of information on this paper that the naked eye cannot see, so the backward reader is able to see all of the transactions and steps and then for registry of titles to be much more able to verify and advice people who want to buy land, who want to take mortgages, who want to lease out land and people who want to check whether there is any transaction on their land, to do so".

Mr. Fashola recalled that the stage for the introduction of the electronic certificate of occupancy was set by his predecessor - Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu when he digitalized the entire land registry, taking away files from public view and scanning millions of documents in the Land Bureau.

Now that the Lagos State government has walked the talk, it is high time Lagosians availed themselves of this innovation.