Real estate investment is now an economic gold mine in Nigeria and every top shot in business wants to have a real estate investment. In the process, a lot of people have made several real estate investments without knowing the right documents that go along with it and the state of the property they are investing on. This in turn becomes a huge cost on their investment leading them to a total loss, forfeit, and extra cost.
The amount of purchase of a real estate is of lesser interest. The documents that follow after the purchase is of the highest importance and worth.
Through this article, you will be able to know the different documents that accompany the purchase of land in Nigeria. These documents differ from one geographical location to another and this affects the way land and real estate is transacted.
EXCISION: The Land Use Act which was promulgated on the 28th of March, 1978 vested the radical title of all land in the state on the Governor in every state of the Federation.
Fortunately, it is recognized by the government that indigenous of different sections of the country have a right to existence in the land of their birth. Hence, it is customary for state government to cede a portion of land to the original owners (natives) and settlers of that area.
An Excision basically means taking a 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 that the land could be seized by the Government anytime without compensation even if you bought it “Legitimately” from the Natives or land owners or the Chief of the community where such real estate portion is located.
GAZETTE: A Gazette is an Official journal (record book) where all special government details are spelt out, detailed and recorded.
A gazette will show 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.
A Gazette is a very powerful Document the community owns and can replace a Certificate of Occupancy to grant title to the Villagers or settlers. A community owning a gazette can only sell lands to an individual within those lands that have been excised to them and the community or family head of that land has the right to sign your documents for you if you purchase lands within those excised acres or hectares of land.
If the government based on some reasons best known to them decides to revoke or acquire your land, you will be entitled to compensation as long as it’s within the Excised lands given to that community.
The best way to know whether a land is under acquisition 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 to do a land information to confirm whether it falls within the gazette and spell out which particular location it can be found.
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY: A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued by the Lagos State Government officially leases Lagos land to 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 of 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 is largely a case of “We shall see when we get there”.
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 that the Seller that has just bought land.
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 comes in the form of either a Governor’s Consent or Registered Conveyance.
SURVEY PLAN: A Survey plan is a document that measures the boundary of a parcel of land to give an accurate measurement and description of that land. The surveyors handle survey issues and they are regulated by the office of the Surveyor general. The following information is contained in a Survey Plan:
- The name of the owner of the land surveyed.
- The Address or description of the land.
- 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
- A stamp showing the land is either free from Government
acquisition or not.
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