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Land Titles and Ownership in Nigeria

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Land Titles and Ownership in Nigeria

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by Philip Obih

One of the first things that anyone interested in buying a property in Nigeria must first know is the right titles required for property transfer in Nigeria. Asuni La once said, “To know is to be sure and free of doubt. To be sure is to be clear about what you know and don’t know. Knowledge, truly is power”. Therefore, having the right knowledge is incredibly important in completing a property transfer process.

Land title is a legal document that provides proof of ownership of landed property. To avert unpleasant experiences, anyone considering investment in real estate must take land title seriously – it’s importance cannot be overemphasized. Prospective investors in land asset should limit their risks by being thoroughly informed and ensure they get the right land title. The right land title guarantees safety from fraudulent land grabbers (also called Omoniles in some parts of Nigeria) or litigation issues. Prior to the enactment of the Land Use Act in 1978, lands were under customary ownership by the indigenous people and communities.

With the enactment of the Land Use Act in 1978, land ownership in Nigeria is vested in the Governor of each state who is to administer the land for the benefit of the people. Land in this context includes developed and undeveloped land. Consequently, it is the responsibility of the State Governor to grant rights to occupy a land to Nigerians or businesses registered in Nigeria for a particular period, typically 99 years upon fulfillment of some conditions.

Another critical safety and security issue (especially when you want to embark on an important project) is the need to buy from a reputable company like Agbara Estates Limited. Agbara Estates Limited has over four decades experience in providing land and robust infrastructure for developments via the renowned Agbara Industrial Estate – Nigeria´s leading manufacturing hub.

Additionally, checking or investigating the land title of a property is an indispensable step to take before you invest in a property in Africa. The major purpose of investigation of title is to see if any defect exists in the title presented by the seller. It is usually done by way of searches conducted in all necessary places and offices where there may be particulars or details of the property and also on the property itself.

There are many land titles, but the following are the crucial ones: Excision, Gazette, Certificate of Occupancy, Governor’s Consent, Registered Deed of Assignment, Head Lease, Deed of Lease and Power of Attorney. Follow this account for the sequel.

About Philip Obih

Mr. Obih is General Manager Sales of the LandAfrique Group in Nigeria.

He has a wide experience and track record in senior positions in the banking, telecom and real estate sectors.

For more information Mr. Obih can be reached via

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