We often hear stories of people duped in their quests to become landowners in Nigeria. Some get to their lands only to meet construction workers they had no idea about already mounting blocks.
It’s easy to be misguided when buying land in Nigeria, especially when there are Omo Oniles (native land grabbers) to contend with. They issue you a receipt, but you find out later in the future that it isn’t legit. Or that no one knows the person who sold you the land. And of course, the address on your receipt would be a hoax.
To avoid getting yourself in these pitiful situations, know 6 important documents you must always ask for when buying land in Nigeria.
A Survey plan is usually drawn up by a surveyor. These plans are regulated by the office of the surveyor general in any state in question, as it relates to the survey issues in such states.
A survey plan would contain the measurement and description of a parcel of land. This plan would also point out the boundary of the land.
A survey plan must contain the following information:
– The name of the owner of the land surveyed.
– The Address or description of the land surveyed.
– The size of the land surveyed.
– A mapped out portion of the land surveyed.
– The beacon numbers.
– Name of the surveyor who drew up the survey plan and the date it was drawn up.
– A stamp to signify if the land is free from Government acquisition or not.
On the 28th of March, 1978, the Land Use Decree vested all lands in every state of the Federation under the control of the State Governors. This Land Use Act coupled with other land acquisition laws now allows the Governor to allocate more lands, even if compulsorily, to the provision of amenities for the greater good of the citizens.
However, the government recognizes that indigenes of different sections of the country have a right to their land of birth. Hence, it is customary for a state government to relinquish a portion of land to the original owners (natives) of each area.
An Excision basically means a waiver on a portion of land, pronouncing it as a private property and no longer under the government’s jurisdiction. This excision will likewise be recorded and documented in the official government gazette of that state. In other words, not having an excision means the land could be seized by the government anytime, without compensation, even if you bought it “legitimately” from the Baale, omo onile, or the original dwellers of the land.
A Gazette is an official record book where communities or villages that have been granted excision and the number of acres or hectares of land that the government has given to them, are detailed and recorded. It is within those excised acres or hectares that traditional families are entitled to sell their lands to the public.
A Gazette can as well replace a Certificate of Occupancy to a community, granting title to the Villagers. A community owning a gazette has the right to sell the land within its right of excision, and any village or family head can sign your documents if you purchase lands within those excised land. However, if for some reason, the government later decides to revoke or acquire your land within an excised area, you will be entitled to compensation.
The best way to know whether a land is under acquisition by the government or has an excision that has been covered by a Gazette is to get a surveyor to chart the site and take it to the surveyor general’s office for a land record. This will confirm whether the land falls within the gazette and spell out the particular location it can be found.
The first page of a genuine Gazette must have the following information in order:
– The Logo of the Country and the inscription of a state title: “ (NAME OF STATE) OF NIGERIA OFFICIAL GAZETTE”
– Number, Volume, Page, Date and Location the Gazette was signed into law. e.g No 26 in pages 200 to 291, Volume 87, dated 14th of August 2011.
– A list of content for Villages, Settlements and parcels of land excised back to the community.
The Inner pages will include the following:
– The description of the Area or Village excised.
– The number of Acres or Hectares of land excised to the Village.
– The boundaries of the beacons.
DEED OF ASSIGNMENT
A Deed of Assignment is an agreement between the seller of a land or property and a buyer of that land or property, showing evidence that the seller has transferred all his rights, his title, his interest and ownership of that land to the buyer.
A Deed of Assignment exchanged between both parties has to be recorded at the state’s land registry, to show legal proof of the land exchanging owners and inform the public of the transaction. Such recorded Deed of Assignment comes in the form of either a Governor’s Consent or a Registered Conveyance.
An important thing to note is that a Deed of Assignment should not be confused for a receipt. Be sure to receive your proof of payment from the seller of any land you purchase.
A Governor’s Consent is a documented approval that must be given by the governor of a state or his delegate, to validate any transaction involving the transfer of ownership or other interest over land or landed property.
In other words, the governor of any state in which you purchase land or landed property must consent to the transaction and transfer of ownership. Without this document, your land is still not fully yours and invalid at law.
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY
A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued by the Lagos State Government for example, officially leases the land to you, the applicant, for 99 years. As we earlier stated, all lands belong to the state government. By so doing, a C of O is the officially recognized document for demonstrating right to a Land.
Now that we’ve looked at the 6 important documents to always ask for when buying land in Nigeria, be sure to update yours if you’re lacking any of them. Remember, the government has all the right to seize any land or property without proper documentation and proof of ownership.
Do you want to become a landowner in Nigeria and don’t know an authorized seller? Bleu Orange Oxford sells a wide range of land and property across Nigeria, with flexible payment plans spanning up to ten years.
Interested? Speak with us and become a landowner in Nigeria.
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