Gov. Babagana Zulum signed 775 Certificates of Occupancy on land ownership between 2020 and 2022, Engr. Adam Bababe, Executive Secretary of Borno Geographic Information Service (BOGIS), said on Saturday in Maiduguri.
Bababe told newsmen that before the establishment of BOGIS in 2020, successive governments in the state signed only 1,722 Certificates of Occupancy in 20 years – from 1999 to 2019.
“In 2020, the year we started, Gov. Zulum signed 61 Certificates of Occupancy.
“In 2021, he signed 414 such certificates and in 2022, he has signed 300 and we are sure he will sign more before the year runs out.
“Hopefully we will have more than 1,000 certificates signed before the year ends.
What obtained in 20 years, we have now achieved in three years.
“The certificates are counterfeit-proof, GIS-based, digitalised, and can be geo-referenced,’’ Bababe said.
He also announced that the agency had completed the digitisation of processes of all existing land files and was in the process of linking the files to what was physically on the ground.
He cautioned beneficiaries against using certified lands for purposes other than which the Certificates of Occupancy were signed, adding that in the event of a change of plan, users should contact BOGIS for alteration.
“For instance, if you want to convert a residential property to a business place, you have to apply and there is a fee for that.
“We may approve based on suitability after assessment by town planners,’’ Bababe explained.
He noted that land charges in Borno were among the least in the country.
He explained that Borno charges one naira per square metre of land in high-density areas of low-income owners, amounting to N450 annually.
In low-density areas like Government Reservation Areas, three naira is collected per square metre which comes to N1,350 per annum, he added.
He said also that the 2022 flood had vindicated the government’s marking of houses constructed on waterways or inside river banks for demolition as the floods had washed some of them away.
Bababe said owners of such structures misunderstood the government’s intention to save lives until the floods posed a threat to their lives.