The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Nyesom Wike, says obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) in Abuja will now require a National Identification Number (NIN) and Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Friday, Wike also noted that existing landowners in the capital must get recertification to incorporate these new features.
According to the minister, he has been refraining from signing C-of-Os during his tenure as the FCT minister to introduce enhanced security measures, such as the inclusion of NIN for individuals and BVN for corporate bodies.
“There are a lot of discrepancies, a lot of cloning of C-of-Os, so we have come up with an idea that every allottee who seeks and applies for a C-of-O must supply his NIN; this is one of the features we are going to put in the new C-of-O,” he said.
“If a corporate body doesn’t have an NIN and they have a property, they must put their BVN. So many persons have not registered, and this will make them go and re-register.”
Addressing the issue of existing landlords with C-of-Os, Wike stated that they would only be required to pay a nominal fee for recertification.
“For everyone who has a C-of-O, they will come for a recertification, so that we can incorporate the NIN or BVN,” he said.
“Those who had a C-of-O before don’t need to pay money again; the highest they can pay is N50,000, and corporate bodies will pay N100,000. It helps in terms of security; it also helps to improve our revenue generation.”
“There are people who own seven properties, so this will identify them so they can pay taxes.”
Furthermore, Wike highlighted the benefits of this initiative in identifying property owners accurately for tax purposes.
He also addressed the proposed N5 million fee for C-of-O from the annual ground rent, explaining that the fee is based on land ownership rather than the structure built on it.
“The task force proposed N5 million, and the stakeholders said let it be reduced.
They asked, ‘If it’s going to be on properties four-bedroom or bed-bedroom?’, again, you have to understand that the C-of-O is not based on the building but the land. The only difference is the annual ground rent.
“The one with a two-bedroom property cannot pay the same as the person with a three-bedroom property,” he said.