A Property Consultant, Mr Ayo Adejumo, said in Lagos on Monday that the challenge and requirements of obtaining the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) were responsible for the existence of many illegal structures in the Lagos metropolis.
Adejumo, who is also the Vice Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said that the procedures involved in the acquisition of the C of O were cumbersome, time-consuming and expensive.
According to him, the cumbersome process is frustrating and had made many homeowners and developers to build without government approval of their building plans since the C of O is one of the requirements for getting the approvals.
“Illegal construction is building or doing any construction work which is not authorised or legally valid. These illegal constructions are some of the consequences of urbanisation, overpopulation and expanding slum areas and shanty towns.
“Many houses in the country are dead property in the sense that they cannot be used anywhere to raise funds.
“Aside not having the appropriate Certificate of Occupancy, such structures are built and redeveloped without any approved building plans from government.
“This is not rational as many homeowners and developers stand to lose if there are problems that may require documents to back up claims of ownership of such property or land,” he said.
Adejumo, therefore, suggested the exclusion of the C of O from the requirements needed for the approval of building plans in the state.
According to him, the removal of the C of O will quicken the building plans approval process and hasten physical development in the urban areas.
He also suggested that the Lagos State Inland Revenue Service (LIRS) should have an office within the Lagos Town Planning Office, to reduce delays encountered in taking applications to the LIRS office.
Adejumo said that the bureaucratic process of moving application files to the LIRS office was another factor delaying the approval of building plans.
“Let the Lagos State Government create a small office for the LIRS inside the Town Planning office that will be responsible for handling building approval issues.
“If this can be done, it will ease the bottlenecks associated with the system of getting building permits and C of Os,’’ Adejumo said.
He urged government planning authorities to ensure that the law guiding the process was strictly complied with, stressing that the development of the metropolis had to abide by the statutory masterplan of the city.