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Learn Everything About Nigeria’s Property Documents

One of the most pertinent ways of laying claim to ownership of land/landed properties’ or carrying out  land/landed properties transactions is by having title documents that are relevant and recognized by various government statues and laws on such land and landed properties.This text  is dedicated to identifying and explaining the various title documents, They include:

SURVEY PLAN

A Survey Plan is a document that measures the boundary of a parcel of land. It shows  accurate measurement, description of the piece of land , etc. 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
  • The drawn out portion of the land survey and mapped out on the survey plan document
  • The beacon numbers
  • The surveyor who drew up the survey plan and the date it was drawn up
  • A stamp showing the land is either free from Government acquisition or not.
    The people that handle survey issues are Surveyors and they are regulated by the office of the Surveyor general in Lagos as it relates to survey issues in Lagos

EXCISION

“Excision”  in this context means that a portion of land  is legally released to indigenous settlers ( Villagers) by  the state or federal government. Thus, such portion of land is legally free from government acquisition.

 “The Land Use Act” passed  on the 28th of March, 1978  vested all lands in every state of the Federation under the control of the State Governors. The Land Use Act coupled with other laws  has made it possible for the Governor who is now recognized as the owner of all lands in the state to  have the power to acquire more lands compulsorily for its own public purpose  and/or to provide amenities for the greater good of the citizens.

Fortunately, the government recognizes that indigenes of different sections of the country have a right to existence, and thus a right to the land of their birth. Hence, it is customary for state government to cede a portion of land to the original owners (natives) of each area.

Excision simply means free from govt acquisition, and thus will be recorded and documented in the official government gazette of that state.

GAZETTE

A Gazette is an Official record book where all special government details are spelt out, detailed and recorded.

A gazette will show the communities 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 owners  are entitled to sell its lands to the public.

A Gazette is a very powerful instrument the community owns and can replace a Certificate of Occupancy to grant title to the Community. A community owning a gazette can only sell land to an individual within the area that have been excised to them. The community or family head of the owners of the property have the right to sign documents for  purchased lands within the exercised areas.

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 buyer.

If the Deed of Assignment has been exchanged between both parties, it has to be recorded in the land registry to show legal proof that the land has exchanged hands and the public should be aware of the transaction. Such recorded Deed of Assignment can come in the form of either a Governor’s Consent or Registered Conveyance.

CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY (C of O)

A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued by the Lagos State Government officially leases Lagos land to you, the applicant, for 99 years. As already indicated above, all lands belong to the Government.

A C of O however is the officially recognized Document for demonstrating Right to a Land.

What happens after 99 years? That question is still subject to debate among experts. Most have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Others postulate that as the new owner of the land, you the buyer can renew the certificate of occupancy when it expires. That makes sense, but for now, it is largely a case of “We shall see when we get there”