3 Land Documents You Must Know Before Buying a Land

Land documents are vital thing that anyone who wants to invest his/her money in landed property must know and understand very well. It’s a pity that only 4/10 land buyers knows and understands what this land documents really mean and the purpose which they serve.

A lot of people think that the C of O is the only Land Documents they must have or ask for before they buy any land, of which this is very wrong. Apart from the C of O there other vital land documents you must ask for before you buy any land.

For example many people make this mistake when they buy land and won’t ask for a Deed of Assignment forgetting that this land document is one of the important land documents you must have when buying land because without this it means that there was no transaction at all, no prof to show you are now the new owner of the land.

Number #1: SURVEY PLAN
This is the land document that shows the boundary measurements of a parcel of land to give an accurate measurement and description of that land.

Surveyors are the people who handle survey issues and they are being regulated by the office of the Surveyor General of the state where the land is located.

A Survey Plan is a very important land document you must ask for whenever you are trying to buy a land. In fact it is the most important because it is with this document that you will be able to know everything about the land.

It is with a Survey Plan that you will be able to do a search to know if the land you are planning to buy is free or not.

my advice whenever you are negotiating for a land you want to buy first ask for the Survey Plan then take it to your Surveyor to conduct a land search so as to know if the land is free from government acquisition or to know what the zoning restrictions is.

i.e. A Survey Plan helps you to know if the land is for Agricultural, Residential, Industrial or a Commercial Purpose.
No matter how enticing or attractive a land may look, once you find out that the Land is a committed land my brother/sister please stay away from that land don’t say because others are buy and nothing has happened yet so nothing will happen after all this is Nigeria.

The following information’s are what makes the Survey Plan Authentic:

The name of the owner of the land surveyed.
The Address or description of the land surveyed.
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 drawn up.
A stamp showing the land is either free from Government acquisition or not.

Number #2: EXCISION
Before now the traditional families have so much power when it comes to anything concerning land, they are the ones who determine which land will be sold and which one they will keep.

Because of this super power they have on land, they refuse to sell lands to individuals who need it, but give it out to them under tenancy system and which made them to still have full control over that land.

This made it very difficult for anyone who wants to buy land to get one.

Because of this and some other reasons, it finally led to the proclamation of the Land Use Decree (now Act) on the 28th of March, 1978 that vested all lands in every state of the Federation under the control of the State Governors.

The Land Use 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 its own public purpose to provide amenities for the greater good of the citizens.

Fortunately, the government still recognizes that indigenes of different sections of the country have a right to existence . . . a right to the land of their birth. Hence, it is customary for state government to cede a portion of land to the original owners (natives) of each area.

So an Excision simply 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 the land could be seized by the Government anytime without compensating you even if you bought it “Legitimately” from the Baale or the Original dwellers on the land.

Hope you understand why this land document is very important before you buy any land. Because it is with this land document that you know if the Land is FREE or Under Government Acquisition.

Number #3: GAZETTE
According to the Land Use Act all land belongs to the government so the Governor is the owner of all land even the one in your village, and he alone will determine what to do with the land not even your Igwe, Oba or Emir.

So it is only when the Governor has taken the land he want to use that he give the remaining to the traditional family to do whatever they want to do with it.

A good example is what happened in Oniru, before now there was nothing like Victoria Island Ikoyi and Lekki the whole area put together was formally known as one big community called Oniru and it has an approximate total area square meters estimate of 100,000 square meters and the government was interested in that area and decided to take 70,000 square meters for its self for its own personal use as an Urban Area or public purpose, it will record this acquisition in the official government gazette and also record that the remaining 30,000 square meters has been left alone for the traditional family to have and do with it whatever it pleases it to do.

So A Gazette is an Official 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.

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A Gazette is a very powerful instrument the community owns and can replace a Certificate of Occupancy to grant title to the Villagers.

A community owning a gazette as a land document 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 search so as to confirm whether it falls within the gazette and spell out which particular location it can be found.

The Following Are Features of a Gazette:

The first page of a Gazette must have the following unless it is a dubious or fake Gazette
a. The Logo of the Country and the inscription of the title “LAGOS STATE OF NIGERIA OFFICIAL GAZETTE”
b. Underneath it must have the Number, Volume, Page, Date and the Location it was signed into law e.g No 26 in pages 200 to 291, Volume 87 dated 14th of August 2011 and have the contents of the list of the Villages, Settlements and parcels of land excised back to the community.
The Inner pages will show the following:
a. The description of the Area or Village excised
b. The number of Acres or Hectares of land excised to the Village
c. Where the boundaries of the beacons start and stop
d. The page the description of the Village excised is.

News Source: estatehomes.

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