Real estate developers, industrialists and small scale businesses have good news for them coming from the Lagos State government which, in collaboration with Thomson Reuters, deployed recently the Geographical Information System (eGis) in its Integrated Land Administration and Automation system with the aim of easing land title registration in the state.
Until recently, Lagos had the most expensive and longest land registration process in Nigeria. Apart from being tedious and tortuous, the process was also time consuming and the frequent interface with human elements made it not just unwieldy, but also costly.
The new technology, which is coming through the state’s Land Bureau, aims to hasten the process by reducing human interface, This will, hopefully, save time and drastically reduce the pains of the past. It is hoped too that the new technology would, in the long run, reduce house prices in the state which is struggling to close its over three million housing units deficit through private sector partnerships.
Lagos has a large and growing population with fast-paced urbanization. As its population increases, the need to upgrade existing system and introduce new ideas that will ensure availability of land for various competing needs becomes expedient. This partly explains the reason for the new technology.
“I am confident that this new innovation will have a combined effect of making the process of securing land titles seamless and also engender the highest level of security and integrity of title documents. We shall continue to fine tune the process through impactful reforms which would yield positive dividends for the benefit of all,” Akinwunmi Ambode, the state governor, said in his address at the commissioning of the Upgraded and Redesigned Land Registry at the Land Bureau.
According to the governor, “the whole essence of these reforms is to deploy cutting edge technology to drive efficiency in the Land Registry, Administration and Management System to enhance ease of doing business in Lagos”.
Ambode added that land is a key economic resource in the state owing to its limited quantity vis-à-vis the demand for residential and commercial purposes. “In the last two years, we have taken to the next level the reform in land administration and management, which witnessed the introduction of Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) under the administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” he recalled.
In its innovative approach to ease the process of transactions on land and related matters, the state has also introduced the ‘Land Administration Campus’ to help create a one-stop-shop where the office of the state Surveyor General, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development and Land Bureau are located within a complex.
Yetunde Onabule, Special Adviser to the governor on Urban Development, in her welcome address, explained that idea was to cut down bureaucracy in the handling of land title registration in the state.
According to her, “With these reforms, we have implemented a structure and framework within the Lands Bureau, commencing with the Land registry, which ensures overall performance, eliminates poor service delivery, and unnecessary time delays in Lagos”.
“We have implemented a centralized service desk, which will provide real time status update on enquiries and transactions. Furthermore, we are fully implementing the Registration of Titles Law 2015 in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, which also mitigates government’s risk and exposure to litigation arising from lapses within the Lands Bureau,” she said.
With the introduction of the eGis under the land Registry, Lagos State has shown its readiness to provide rights to land, that is, land title that guarantees and validates ownership while providing a reliable record about ownership of and interests affecting land, and at the same time maintain a secure repository of all land documents in Lagos.
Nevertheless, it is hoped that the improvement in the Land Registry and Land Bureau in land administration and management will lead to better access to formal credit, higher land values, higher investment and income in land which, in turn, would create wealth for both the state and residents.