Breaking News

required documents should know and ask for when purchasing a land in Nigeria.

A neighbor came to me a few months ago saying she is in dire need of money and needs to sell a piece of land she purchased 3 years ago.

I asked her for the location and the title documents. She said documents? What do you mean by documents; that she was given a receipt as proof of payment for buying the land. She bought it from a colleague who needed urgent cash to leave the country and it was sold so cheap. She couldn’t believe she could get a land as cheap as that. My team and I tried to help her recover but unfortunately she lost the land because she has no valid documents to back her up.

We have heard lots of stories of people losing their lands to fraudulent people because they don’t know the documents they require to purchase a land and because they have refused to seek professional advice from professionals and we all know what our judicial system is like when you take a land matter to court.

So here are some required documents you must know and ask for when buying a land in Nigeria.

A survey plan is a document that contains a detailed description of the land you are about to purchase. With a survey plan, you can conduct a geographical search to ascertain if the piece of land is free from government acquisition or not. This document shows the boundary measurements of a parcel of land and gives an accurate measurement and description of that land. With this document, you basically know everything about the land. It’s a very important document you must ask for when you are about to purchase a land in Nigeria.

A deed of Assignment is a MUST HAVE document. It’s one of the most recognized documents of title on matters relating to land transactions in Nigeria. It helps trace the history of how such land has been transferred and how it got to the present owner as well as any disputes that may have occurred as to the rightful owner of such land.

A Deed of Assignment is an agreement between the Seller and a Buyer of a Land or Property. It is an evidence that the seller has transferred all his rights title, interest and ownership of that land to the seller that has just bought land.

The deed gives a specific description of the property that is included in the transfer of ownership and also the dates the ownership of the property transfers from one owner to the other.

This document should be registered at the appropriate land registry to show legal evidence as to the exchange of ownership in any land transaction in order to make the general public and government aware of such transaction.

Certificate of Occupancy
A Certificate of Occupancy, also known as the C of O is a legal document indicating that an owner of any land has been granted a statutory right of occupancy by the executive governor of the state.

The document is issued by state governments in Nigeria to landowners and property buyers as a legitimate proof of ownership.

Over time, land users and financial institutions have elevated this type of land document to be conclusive evidence of the ownership of the land described in it, to the exclusion of any other party claiming title to the same piece of land.

A receipt is very important but doesn’t automatically confer legal ownership. It is one the documents a buyer will rely on to prove ownership where there is a dispute. If you are purchasing a family land, a receipt signed by the head of family with the signature of at least 2 members should be issued to you. It should contain the family name, the date the land was purchased, land location, address of the family and amount paid. Sometimes they try to be cunny asking you to pay for the receipt. Note that it is not to be paid for.

The land use act vested all lands in every state to the Governor of the state. The Governor actually has the power to acquire more lands compulsorily for its own public purpose to provide amenities for the greater good of the citizens.
Any area, community or village the Governor designates as an Urban Area is an acquired land and the rest of the land that is not acquired will be given back to the community it was acquired from in the form of an Excision.

An Excision here means taking part from a whole and that part that has been excised, will 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 from the Baale or the Original dwellers on the land.

A Gazette is an Official record book where all special government details are spelt out, detailed and recorded.
It shows the communities or villages that have been granted excision and the number of acres or hectares of land that the government has given to them.

It is within those excised acres or hectares that the traditional family is entitled to sell its lands to the public and not anything outside those hectares of land given or excised to them.
An individual family can only sell lands that has been excised to them withnin the community, and the family head and two principal members signs the document.

If the government decides to revoke or acquire your land, you will be compensated, as long as it’s within the Excised lands given to that community. If its not within, you will surely have yourself to blame.

So be smart when trying to purchase a property in Nigeria or you seek the advice of a professional before you hit the transfer button or get to the bank.

No comments