For various reasons, several people, especially new investors, venture into property business without first acquiring the land appropriately via procurement of necessary documents. This has cost some landed property owners more than they ought to have paid.
For the avoidance of doubts, anyone going into property whether for business or for residence, it is advisable he knows the land, surveys it and finds out if it is not part of government acquisition in state or local government, mapped out for the original land owners or whether it falls within the area the government has taken for public development.
It is also important to ascertain how the land in question is gazetted and under which heading it was recorded. You also must have an agreement document between you, the buyer, and the seller, to permit you to take actions on the land. From that point and with these at hand, you proceed to apply for the certificate of occupancy (C of O). Those who are unable to go through all these are likely to fall prey to zealous government officials and eventually lose the landed property.
With you having a clear understanding of all land titles, you would be guided aright when you are making investment decisions in real estate. Some of the basic documents clients are advised to understand their full definitions including but not limited to the underlisted as there are many other petty terminologies we may not explicitly discuss.
Survey plan of the land in question
For one to lay claim to any landed property, he must have surveyed the piece of land and have the 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 the land.
The people that handle survey issues are surveyors and they are regulated by the office of the Surveyor General in any state of the federation where the deed is taking place. Whether the survey plan is done in Igbakwu, Onitsha, Ibadan, Kaduna or Gombe, it must contain the following pieces of information: the identity of the owner of the land surveyed; the area description of the land surveyed; the area covered by 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. Please note that there are two kinds of survey plan – approved and provisional survey excision.
A new person in a state may not know where government has mapped out as no go area. In this regard, the Omoniles may deceive the buyer into committing a huge sum of money into a land that has been claimed by government for public development.
But with your knowledge of these and other laws, you can understand that it is legal for the governor, who is the owner of all lands in the state, to actually have the power to acquire any land compulsorily for the purpose of providing amenities for the greater good of the citizens. This may include your own land.
Fortunately, the government recognises that indigenes of different sections of the country have a right to existence and also a right to the land of their birth. Hence, it is customary for state governments to cede a portion of land to the original owners (natives) of each area. If you are buying from these families in these areas, you are then safe from government acquisition.
An excision means basically taking apart 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 any time without compensating you even if you bought it “legitimately” from the Baale or the original dwellers on the land.
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