Experts urge transparency in land administration processes
Towards attracting more investors in the sector, the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), Nigeria Chapter and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, have charged government to simplify land administration processes, especially land titling by developing a central data system.
They argued that through such measure, disputes and controversies on property acquisition and development could be easily eliminated unlike in the present circumstances whereby two people lay claim to the same Certificate Of Occupancy (C-of-O).
Adegboruwa led the charge at the general meeting/interactive session entitled, ‘Place and Nature of Agreements in Property Acquisition and Development’, organised by FIABCI, Nigeria Chapter, supported by BuyLetLive, Stanbic IBTC and Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).
He observed that with the Land Use Act (LUA), government has responsibility to manage land on behalf of the people, hence, the need for authorities to become more transparent.
“About 70 per cent of cases in the court have to do with issues of property acquisition and taking over of land and unless we get to a stage where government can be transparent, the process of titling on property will continue to be controversial,” he said.
Adegboruwa said ways to acquire property in Nigeria include, letter of administration, common purchase/ survey plan, governor’s consent, excision, judgment, and certificate of occupancy and by ‘deed of gift’. According to him, beyond ensuring due diligence of going to property registry, the character of vendors entering an agreement must be established as it is important in acquisition process.
He advised parties to have video recording of procedure of agreement and sufficient photographs of the proceedings.
He said impunity has reigned for a long time and everyone has become a Lord unto himself, adding that the Federal Government should fund the judiciary and the court system for the judges to become more effective. This, he said will enable the citizens to hold them responsible.
“In a situation whereby the judges are not well paid and there are no facilities to perform the functions, the judiciary has become like a clog in the wheel of progress of investment and property development in Nigeria. We don’t blame the judges, the situation has made the system to become slow. So, the government should ensure that dispute resolution mechanism is simplified.”
He urged private developers to embrace arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), mechanism instead of always focusing on the court system.
Adegboruwa further explained that parties are averse to ADR in the property sector because of the lack of information and enlightenment about its advantages, stressing that it is also applicable to the law profession where many practicing lawyers resists its application.
He also charged real estate professionals to partner with the government to educate the society more on the advantages of ADR methods in resolving property related cases.
FIABCI Nigeria President, Mr. Gladstone Opara, urged the government to develop central database for property registeration, adding that the government needs to improve transparency in the real estate sector to boost confidence of local and foreign investors.
Also speaking, the President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Mr. Johnbull Amayaevbo, pledged to accommodate FIABCI’s input into its forthcoming yearly conference in March 2023 and facilitate more members’ enrollment into the organisation.