The land is indeed basic to physical development activities. It is a scarce resource that must be guided jealously by whoever owned one. Land is categorised into different uses and types. Attempt to guide this scarce resource led to different categories of land title registration with Lagos State Land Bureau.
The promulgation of the Land Use Act of 1978 provides that all land belonging to the government and its administration in each State of the federation is vested in the governor of that state and such land is held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of Nigerians. This led to the establishment of the Land Use and allocation committee in Lagos State as the custodian of all land.
Guiding land jealously, therefore, required its registration with the Land Bureau. Thus, it is important to explain first the land title types that one can acquire on land in Lagos State.
1. SURVEY PLAN
A Survey plan is one of the land documents prepared by a licensed Surveyor registered to practice in Nigeria. It describes the size (area), geographical location (coordinates), configuration (shape) and boundary of a particular land in reference.
The land is immobile but can be made mobile with a good Survey Plan registered with the office of Surveyor-General. A good registered Survey Plan is the bedrock on which other titles to land or investigation are based. Thus its importance cannot be overemphasized.
Land administration before the Land Use Act was in the hand of the Obis, Emirs, Obas, and sometimes in the hands of the families. No sooner the Land Use Act was promulgated, the Act coupled with other laws made it possible for the Governor who is now the owner of all lands in the state to actually have the power to acquire more lands compulsorily for the public interest.
Fortunately, the government still recognizes that indigenes of different parts of the country have a right to existence, a right to the land of their birth. Hence, it is customary for the state government to cede some portion of land to the original owners (natives) of each area for expansion on request. Thus, an Excision simply means taking some portion from a whole and that part which has been excised will be recorded and documented in the official government GAZETTE of that state.
However, before this land can be sold to the public by the families whom the excision was granted it is compulsory under the law that a Layout Plan is prepared and approved by the relevant agency of the government. Otherwise, it will be difficult to obtain a Planning Permit.(click for more reading)
3.CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY
This is the most important types of land title used to certify the legal and ownership status of any land in Nigeria irrespective of its usage. It 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 where the land situates or a customary right of occupancy by the local government chairman if the land is in a rural (non-urban) area.
This statutory right of occupancy is different from a Customary Right of Occupancy, which is usually granted by the Local Government Council. It is a document that shows that the person disclosed therein, is entitled to the right of occupancy (normally 99years). It is the only certificate employed by the Land Use Act to link the owner with the right of occupancy.
This is a type of land title to the ownership of a piece or large parcel of land issued by a government’s land registry for registered freehold or leasehold lands in Nigeria prior to the promulgation of the Land Use Act of 1978. Land Certificate was usually issued to owners of land and landed properties when the Property Conveyance Law of 1959 was still in effect.
It refers to the Prima facie evidence of land ownership prior to the promulgation of the Land Use Act which vests lands in the governor of each state of the federation.
5.DEED OF ASSIGNMENT/CONVEYANCE
Conveyance(ing) is another type of land title types by which ownership of land is transferred between a seller and a buyer. It is a written mutual agreement between an owner or seller of a land/landed property and the purchaser/buyer of such land/landed property showing evidence that the owner/seller of the land/landed property has transferred all his/her ownership, interest, rights, and title on the land/landed property to the purchaser/buyer who has bought the land/landed property from him/her.
However, a Deed of Assignment, therefore, is an agreement where an assignor states his promise that from the date of the assignment or any date stipulated therein, the assignor assigns his ownership in that Land to the assignee.
This is a very important category of title to land which must be demanded for and given to a purchaser after the conclusion of any land/property transaction between such purchaser/buyer and the owner/seller of the land/landed property in question.
6.DEED OF LEASE
Unlike Deed of Assignment, Deed of Lease on the land title is also known as Governor’s Consent because, it is obtained whenever the land purchased has an existing title like Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). It’s the land document that lets the Governor and the general public know that the land in question has changed hands.
It is very important for a purchaser of land to perfect this type of land title by obtaining the Governor’s consent so as to have a complete rest of the mind.
This is a document that authenticates the exchange of money from the seller and the buyer on transactions made on any piece of land.