Okowa has no Power to nullify C of O – Lawyers, surveyors

Delta State Governor

Lawyers, surveyors and other professionals under the aegis of Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, APBN, have asked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State to reverse his administration’s policy nullifying all Certificates of Occupancy (C of Os), in the state, describing it as “brazen violation of the law.”

The group, in a statement by Gracious Omatseye, Chairman, Victor Ezie, Secretary, and Nyerhovwo Ohre (Legal Adviser), said they took exception to the policy following media affirmation of the policy through the state Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro.

The statement read in part: “The C of O is a legal title to the piece or parcel of land described therein i.e. a leasehold agreement between the holder and the governor, with interest which can be transferred for value and or used as  collateral  for a bank loan and or other such benefits.  Neither the Land Use Act nor the C of O contains any provision, clause or condition which gives powers to the governor to nullify a C of O duly executed and registered as a legal document in the Registry of Deeds. In the very unusual event of breach of any of the conditions or clauses by the holder, the governor must follow due process by serving a quit notice through the courts to take possession.

It is brazen violation of the law for the governor to nullify and or cancel, in a wholesale manner, all C of Os. “The governor has powers to revoke individual C of O for good reason shown or for overriding public purpose only through due process as provided in the Land Use Act. In the event of revocation, fair and adequate compensation must be paid to the holder and the specific public interest for which the certificate is being revoked must be published.”

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Among the implications of unilateral nullification of all C of Os in the state, APBN argued it would jeopardize the state’s economy by scaring investors and discouraging banks acceptance of C of Os issues by the state as collateral for loans and violates rule of law and democracy.

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