Home Random Dennis Isong: Understanding The Difference Between Excision and Certificate of Occupancy

Dennis Isong: Understanding The Difference Between Excision and Certificate of Occupancy

Dennis Isong: Understanding The Difference Between Excision and Certificate of Occupancy

When it comes to real estate and property ownership, there are various terms and concepts that can be confusing for both buyers and sellers. The two terms are excision and certificate of occupancy. While these terms are related to land and property rights, they represent different stages and aspects of the property ownership process. Let’s delve into the differences between them and clarify their significance in real estate.


Excision is a term commonly used in the context of land acquisition and development, particularly in Nigeria and a few other countries. It refers to the legal process through which a portion of land is officially separated from a larger piece of land for a specific purpose. 

The primary aim of excision is to remove any encumbrances or claims on the land, ensuring that it can be sold or developed without any legal hindrances. The excision process typically involves the intervention of the government or relevant authorities who are responsible for approving and implementing the excision. 

The land is surveyed, and a survey plan is created to clearly demarcate the excised portion. The necessary documentation, including the survey plan and other legal requirements, must be fulfilled to obtain an excision grant or order from the appropriate authority. Once the excision is granted, the land is considered free from any government acquisition and can be legally sold or transferred to individuals or organizations.

Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)

On the other hand, a certificate of occupancy (C of O) is a document issued by the government or relevant regulatory body to confirm that a property has met all the necessary requirements and is fit for habitation or commercial use. The C of O serves as evidence of legal ownership and grants the holder the right to occupy, possess, and develop the property within the specified terms and conditions.

To obtain a certificate of occupancy, the property owner or developer must comply with various regulations and building standards set by the government or local authorities. These regulations typically include aspects such as proper land use, adherence to zoning restrictions, compliance with construction codes, and provision of essential amenities like water, electricity, and sewage systems. The property is thoroughly inspected by the appropriate regulatory body to ensure that it meets all the prescribed criteria before the certificate is issued.

Difference between excision and certificate of occupancy

The differences between the two terms will be highlighted under purpose, scope and legal nature.

Purpose: Excision primarily focuses on the division or separation of land from a larger piece for individual use or development. While a certificate of occupancy verifies the compliance of a property with legal and regulatory standards, declaring it suitable for occupation or commercial purposes.

Scope: Excision is concerned with the demarcation and liberation of land from government acquisition, removing any legal claims or restrictions. A certificate of occupancy evaluates the physical structure and amenities of a property to ensure it meets the necessary requirements for safe habitation or commercial use.

Legal nature: Excision is a legal process that confirms the removal of government claims on a particular portion of land, granting the owner the right to transfer or develop the land. A certificate of occupancy is a legal document that affirms the legal ownership and suitability of a property for occupation or commercial activities.




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