What is Certificate Of Occupancy?
Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is a document given to someone by the government, certifying the person as the rightful owner of a parcel of land. There can only be one (1) Owner of the Certificate of Occupancy on a Land. The certificate belongs to one person only and cannot be changed or replicated.
According to section 22 of 1978 land Use Act, “it shall not be lawful for the holder of a statutory Right of Occupancy granted by the Governor to alienate his Right of Occupancy or any part thereof by assignment, sublease etc without the prior consent of the Governor”.
What is Governor’s Consent?
Governor’s Consent can simply be defined as validation of change of landed property ownership by seeking the consent of a governor. If you buy a land that has a C of O from a seller, it is mandatory you make the governor of the state to be aware of that, otherwise you will not be recognized by law as the rightful owner of the land and if the seller sells the land to another person and the person obtains the consent of the governor, he or she becomes the rightful owner of the land. At first, all lands belong to government until it is excised (read about excision) to indigenous settlers (villagers). After a land has been excised, one can go for the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O).
Difference Between C of O And Governor’s Consent
The first person on a piece of land that has Excision but has never received a C of O can go for Certificate of Occupancy and be legally recognized as rightful owner of the land. Now if the person later decides to sell his land to another person, that person (that is the buyer) must obtain the Governor’s Consent before that transaction can be deemed legal in the eyes of the Government. After obtaining the Governor’s Consent, if the new buyers also decides to sell the land again to a third owner in future, that Third owner must also obtain a new Consent of the Governor before that transaction can be deemed legal in the eyes of the Government and the process continues every time the property changes hands to a new buyer.
The first person on a land is the only person or group of persons entitled to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy. Every subsequent buyer of that land must get a Governor’s consent.
Therefore, it is very important for a purchaser of land to perfect his or her document by obtaining a Governor’s consent so as to have a complete rest of mind because if another person should obtain consent before him/her on same land, the person that the transaction has been consented by the Governor shall be regarded as the valid owner. Although it is good to buy a land that already has a Global C of O or the Land has a Gazette, it still doesn’t give you the full satisfaction that you own the land without any form of fear or intrusion by land speculators. Your documents have not been perfected and the consent of the Governor to that transaction has not been obtained.
It’s because of this situation whereby the speculators know that purchasers of land do not want to spend money to get Governor’s Consent that they will begin to resell people’s lands to multiple buyers because they know it’s only the purchaser that perfects his title by obtaining the Governors consent that can lay claim to that land validly in the eyes of the law.That’s why I encourage people who buy land/landed property to immediately start the process of obtaining Governors consent after they have bought a land and a Deed of Assignment has been drawn up. Delay has been shown to be very fatal and we should learn from the past experiences of others who have fallen victim to this situation.
Obtaining a Governors Consent from the Land Bureau isn’t the easiest thing to get quickly despite the importance attached to it and urgency needed to secure a land. On the Government website, it is stated that a Governors Consent can be obtained within 30 days but that has proven to be very untrue due to bureaucracy at land bureaus, a Governor’s consent that naturally could end within 30 days could translate to 6-months or a Year depending on the strength of your agent/consultant handling the job.
All in all, a Governors Consent is a very good document to obtain and I advise you to get it so as to free yourself from unwanted situation 100%. An advantage of having a Governor’s consent is that you can transfer your land to another person without going back to the initial seller or Family Baale to sign your deed and Form 1c which are compulsory requirements needed before you can process Governors consent. Land speculators pray seriously for the Owner not to have a Governors consent so that they can make a lot of money running into Thousands whenever the Owner require the signatures of the family to start the Governors consent.
It’s even very tough now for Land Buyers because a major requirement by the government now is that you must obtain a Governor’s consent before you obtain a building plan approval. If it takes 6months to a year before they get their Consent. When will the person now get his approval? Stepping aside the criticism of those in charge of processing the C of O, You should try as much as possible to get a Governors Consent for all your genuine land so as to completely live a straight forward life devoid of trouble.