Carry out your search properly before buying land from land Owners

Everybody desire to have a roof over their heads but their encounter with a bad experience from the land vendors is nothing to write home about. The cost and agony of buying land in a choice area within Lagos State are so enormous and unbearable for developers which have made some among them to step aside and not to be involved in any land transaction matters.

Gone are the days, when land transactions business is entrusted in the hands of relatives and friends for the best at getting land that is free from any encumbrances for physical development, the reverse is the case when those that one trusted turned out to be unfaithful because of money. Nowadays one has to explore the principles of “Do It Yourself “(DIY) so as to ensure that every Kobo is judiciously spent in search of desirable land.

In view of the above, it is important that we are acquainted with basic knowledge of land transactions even before we engage the services of a professional. 


1.Know that not all Lands can be developed. This means that some land could be under committed Government acquisition and within proposed infrastructural facilities. If this type of land is bought without proper investigation, it will be difficult to obtain Planning Permit and any development on such land will be considered illegal and subsequently demolished.
Apart from the above, some natural and artificial features existing on, near and above the land could also make it not to be developable. (click)

2. Know that not all lands can be used for your intention: The physical development and use of land in Lagos State is guided by the contents of the Development Plans and Regulations. It shows the Zoning, Height restriction, and Density. For example, if your intention is to develop a residential housing estate in an area zoned for industrial development, your application for Planning Permit will not be granted. Therefore, do a proper search on the land before you pay for it.
Summarily, any land where you can not easily obtain your Planning Permit can not be developed hence run away from it.


Nigeria’s Land Use Act from 1978 abolished all existing freehold systems. … The Land Use Act was meant to standardize land administration systems across the country. It vested all urban land within a state in the state Governor and all non-urban land in the local governments.

Under the Land Use Act, the Governor is responsible for the allocation of land in all urban areas to individuals resident or organizations in the state for residential, agricultural, commercial and other purposes while similar powers with respect to non-urban areas are conferred on the Local Government

The Scenario above indicated that from 1978 when the Land Use Act was promulgated all unregistered lands automatically became government land except those lands that have with registered title. However, some portion of this land is released back to the families or communities in the form of Excision for expansion application to the government.

In view of the above Land can be obtained for different uses, at different locations, at any time by anybody on application to Lands Bureau since she is the custodian. Apart from the above, one can equally acquire land from:

  1. the owners of approved Private Schemes (Estates);
  2. the genuine families (free land);
  3. Corporate Organizations, individuals or groups (land speculators);
  4. excision. (gazetted excised land)- what to be done before excised land is sold by the family will be discussed later in one of our articles.


  1. Request for a copy of the Registered Title on the Land (if any); This could be in the form of a Certificate of Occupancy, Deem Grant, Consent, etc.
  2. Request for a copy of the Layout or a Survey Plan.

The need for the above 1&2 will assist in doing further findings from:

  1. Land’s Bureau and Surveyor’s General Office at a lower level of investigation;
  2. Whilst at a higher or advanced level we can investigate up to the Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC), Probate Registry and Court.
  3. If the property to be purchased is an existing structure, request for the profile of the developer of the property, certificate of Structural Stability, etc to find out the structural fitness of the building. Also investigate the profile and record of the owner to find out that the owner is not on the watch list of agencies such as EFCC, ICPC, to prevent the risk of confiscation.

If you cannot get a copy of any Survey Plan previously done on the Land, seek for the help of a Land Surveyor with the use of a GPS devise to pick the coordinates of the Land for charting; or download GPS application from Google Play Store to pick the coordinates yourself for charting (you need to be guided in doing this).        

However, if you are fortunate to get a copy of the Survey Plan from the Vendor, re- cross-check it with the GPS device and apply for Land Information from Surveyor’s General Office and for the Planning Information from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development (Free). This will avail you of the information regarding the Land status, Zoning, Height, Density and Design Standards required.

If the information obtained from the above on the Land or the structure is okay, proceed with the payment. If not disengaged from the transaction. Never believe the saying by the vendor “that the land is free or will soon be released to the family by the government, or that you buy one land with a gift of a Ram or 10 bags of cement, etc”. It is an attempt to lure and deceive you. 


The Government planning instruments are:

  1. Lagos State Urban and Region Planning and Development Law 2010;
  2. Building Regulations;
  3. Lagos State Regional Plan;
  4. Master Plans;
  5. District Plans; &
  6. Model City Plans; vii. Acquisition Plan and viii Schemes.


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