Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike has revealed why he stopped signing Certificate of Occupancy, C of O.
The minister reiterated the resolve of the FCT Administration to sanitize the process of issuing Certificate of Occupancy, C of O in the FCT.
Wike stated this during an interactive session with Estate Developers and Residents’ Associations in the FCT at the FCDA Conference Hall in Abuja on Tuesday, November 21, 2023.
In his opening remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the Minister on Land, Urban and Regional Planning, who is also the Chairman of the Ministerial Task Force on Issuance of C of O for Mass Housing and the Recovery of Land Use Contravention fees, said the meeting was called at the behest of the FCT Minister in order to resolve disagreement between the Task Force and the developers and residents’ association for the payment of N5 million Naira as fees for the collection of C of Os.
The FCT Minister on his part lamented that the issuance of C of O in the FCT was enmeshed in a lot of controversy which sometimes led to crises.
He said, “One of the reasons I have stopped signing is because I don’t trust those C of Os they are bringing for me to sign. I don’t want to sign a C of O that has been given to another person.”
He therefore vowed that very tough decisions will be taken to resolve the crisis and restore the integrity of the system.
However after consideration of requests raised by residents at the meeting, Barrister Wike extended the period of time to pay for the C of O from 3 to 4 months,
He reminded the participants at the meeting that the FCT as a non-oil State relies on revenue generation for development activities and warned that the four-month period would not be extended.
He said, “I want to stand firm and tell you this; I’ve extended for four months. It will not go beyond four months.”
On the suggestion by the residents that the flat rate of N5 million for the issuance of C of Os should be reviewed to reflect the size and location of the property, the Minister insisted that a C of O is a business and security document which is not necessarily graded according to the size of the property or its location, and insisted that a flat rate of N5 million must be paid for its collection.
He however hinted at the possibility of a review of this sum.
He said, “If you want to have a C of O, which is a security and business document, it is not graded based on one bedroom flat or two-bedroom flat.”
The Minister also stated that he will seek the approval of the President for C of Os to be linked to the National Identity Number, NIN, for ease of identification and other issues of taxation and security.