Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on Wednesday flagged off the distribution of the newly digitised Certificate of Occupancy under the Home Ownership Chartered of Ondo State Scheme (HOCOS), saying it will boost the economic activities of the people through transactions with financial institutions.
The Governor noted that the HOCOS is aimed at ensuring transparency, fast-tracking and repositioning of land administration in the state.
Governor Akeredolu spoke during the flag-off ceremony of the distribution of the newly digitised Certificate of Occupancy to the first set of beneficiaries, held at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s Office, Alagbaka, Akure.
The Governor said the new Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) under HOCOS, has the mandate of transforming the process of land titling from analogue to digital system.
He explained that property owners in the state, after granting titles, can use their Certificate of Occupancy as collaterals in financial transactions.
The Governor maintained that in line with HOCOS objective, his administration has successfully moved, in an innovative manner, from a five-leaf manually produced Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) to an abridged single-sheet digitised format that is produced with speed, efficiency and accuracy.
“The objective of HOCOS is to make land transactions and titling less cumbersome and transparent to the public through digitisation of processes. We are proud to say that we have achieved this objective.
“Rest assured that we will make the review of land administration policies a continuous process until we achieve perfection. I am glad to inform you that the HOCOS platform has brought about a turnaround in our land titling process with reduction in the unmitigated frustrations and nasty experiences of our people which were imposed by the activities of touts. We have been able to eradicate the associated bottlenecks and loss of revenue.
“Undoubtedly, the Scheme will boost the economic activities of our people through subsequent transactions with financial institutions after granting of title which can be easily used as collaterals in financial transactions.
“The new single-leaf C of O to be distributed today has been designed with the highest technological standard, with the introduction of security features to protect the integrity of the document. It will also enable easy conduct of property search and prevent cyber fraud.
“It is gratifying to disclose that we have not compromised any extant law and professional standard guiding land titling or administration in the introduction of the new digitised certificate”, Governor Akeredolu said.
The Governor disclosed that his administration has also strengthened the Land Administration sector in the state by recruiting 35 qualified professionals in the fields of Architecture, Quantity Surveying, Land Surveying, Estate Management and Building to boost the capacity and manpower need of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Lands and Housing.
He added: “This epoch making feat of reducing the process time of C of O in the State and improvement in the quality to one-page digitised document is a landmark achievement that we have strategically worked on to achieve upon our assumption of office, and today, the dream is being fulfilled.”
Earlier in his address, the state Commissioner for Infrastructure, Lands and Housing, Engr Raimi Aminu, applauded Governor Akeredolu for his ability to manage the meager resources to achieve much in the state.
He said the title documents confer all property owners legal rights to their land resources, describing the Home Ownership Charter of Ondo State (HOCOS) initiative of the Governor as life transforming scheme.
“During the last administration, you will recall that an agency was established called Land Bureau Records. A whole building was given to the Land Bureau Records inside the Governor’s Office here and government spent a lot of money then but nothing came out of it, and this is what they were dreaming of that time. They even brought some expatriates and some people from abroad and they were paying them special salaries but at the end nothing came out of it.
“With Mr Governor’s support and his initiative, we are seeing it all today you know this a government for the people”, he added.
Aminu also said very soon the state would migrate to the second phase which is Ondo State Geographical Information System among other facilities, saying that by this, investors coming to the State would know which area would be suitable for their investment.
The Commissioner for Finance, Wale Akinterinwa explained the opportunities, advantages and benefits inherent in the HOCOS program.
He said title owners can easily approach any bank for money to fund their various businesses with ease.
He added that the program is a life transforming scheme that will improve the fortune of all title owners including farmers across the state.
The Executive Chairman of the Ondo State Internal Revenue Services, Tolu Adegbie appreciated the Governor for the laudable initiative.
In his goodwill message, the chairman, Ondo State Council of Obas and Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, who explained that it took him about six years to process a C of O in the past, however, lauded Governor Akeredolu for the good ingenuity which he said has changed the narratives.
There were goodwill messages from representatives of financial institutions and other stakeholders.
In his response, Femi Akinola who spoke on behalf of other beneficiaries appreciated Governor Akeredolu for the laudable initiative and advised the poeple without title documents to take the advantage of the good program.