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Issues on land title documents you must know

Many years later, he got to the land to find it has been sold to another person;

Buying a plot of land had always been the dream of Mr Abdullah Sanusi. He saved money for several years and was able to buy plot of land many kilometres from his current home where he has been a tenant for several years.

Mr Sanusi bought the land from land owners (omo onile) and collected evidence of payment. He left the land unattended as he was sure the land would appreciate over years be he would decide what to do with it.

Many years later, he got to the land to find it has been sold to another person; with a building erected on it. He kicked and fought and did everything but nothing seemed to work as the new landlord had all his documents and titles which Sanusi did not have. He lost his investment due to lack of knowledge on the basic documents and titles he ought to acquire.

The case of Mr Sanusi is common in Lagos State and many other highbrow areas where the demand for land is high. As important as it is to buy land for those interested in purchasing property, it is equally important to get the right documents and titles. Perchance land grabbers sell the land off to another person, the documents will be tendered and any building erected on it would be demolished except the individual is ready to sell it off.

The Managing Director of Prime Mundial Realtors, Popoola Afeez, urged land investors to ensure six documents and titles are completed before building a property on their lands to avoid consequences.

Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)

In his explanation to our reporter, the Lagos-based realtor, Afeez, emphasised the need for a C of O, noting that in Lagos, the state government officially leases land to the applicant for 99 years; as all lands belong to the government.

What happens after 99 years? Afeez said experts were yet to get an accurate answer to the question as it was still a subject of debate.

He said the C of O was the officially recognised document for demonstrating right to a land, but noted that it was not the only security for all land titles, and further noted that no single land could be issued with two C of O.

Governor’s Consent

Mr Afeez said, “There are stages and processes in acquiring these documents. You don’t just wake up one day and get a C of O on a piece of land. You move from survey plan to excision to gazette to C of O, and then Governor’s Consent.”

The realtor explained that when an individual purchased a land or property that already had a C of O, he would not be able to acquire another C of O, but rather would get Governor’s Consent.

He said, “Every subsequent or new owner only needs to perfect the title by applying for and processing Governor’s Consent, with the Deed of Assignment and other documents given by the original owner.”

He further “When you buy a property with C of O, in order to have complete rest of mind, you must have to perfect the title by applying for and obtaining Governor’s Consent. It is then the transaction becomes legal in the eyes of the government.”


As important as the C of O and Government’s Consent are, it is important to understand Coordinates as well.

Coordinates as explained by Afeez are unique points on the earth’s surface where a land is located when charted on the atlas or globe. They are used to know the exact place where the land is located. Coordinates are used by surveyors in carrying out searches on a piece of land to know if it is free, acquired or committed. They are designated as (metres North) and mE (metres East).

Other documents

The other documents that are important as explained by Afeez are purchase land receipt, registered survey and title deed of assignment. Title deeds are important official copies of the register and title plan; they are the irrefutable proof of ownership of a property.

Mr Afeez said, “They (receipt, deed or assignment) are proof that the original owner has transferred his/her interest in the property to a new owner. They are evidence provided by the buyer as the new owner of the property.

“Most documents are handed over after purchase. However, a buyer may need the survey to chart the land. That is, to find out if the land is free or committed.”

In an article published on Magnified Homes’ website, other titles and documents mentioned are excision, gazette, freehold and deed of conveyance.


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