Understanding Land Measurement & Title Documents in Nigeria
Μost people who purchase land in Lagos and elsewhere don’t really understand the meaning of these Real Estate terms. As a potential buyer wishing to buy a land or build a new house you must be conversant with a few of these figures. The first hurdle is to understand the system of Land measurement in Nigeria.
In Nigeria today, Land is measured in Hectares, Acres, Meters and Feet. These measurements are affected by factors, which include development pattern, human and environmental factors.
Let’s start by asking what is the size of a standard plot in Nigeria?
According to the dictionary meaning of a plot: A plot is a marked out piece of Land for the purpose of building or farming. The word ‘plot’ is an arbitrary term used to describe a land division carved out for property development.
The size of a plot can vary for different reasons but according to Nigeria’s land measurement/division, the appropriate plot for a house construction is 50ft x 100ft which can accommodate a standard house with a small compound. To better understand land measurement or divisions used in Nigeria, different units of area are used as follows:
A hectare is one of the least known metric units and one which potential buyers and Estate developers seem to struggle with –
It is a land measuring:
👉🏿100m x 100m OR
👉🏿328ft x 328ft OR
👉🏿10,000 sqm OR
👉🏿Two and half acres OR
An Acre is a standard unit of land measurement used by Land sellers and it is almost equivalent to the size of a standard football field. An Acre is a product of any rectangular plot of land giving a total of:
👉🏿43,560 sq ft OR
👉🏿6 plots (each measuring 60ft x 120ft)
In Lagos State, the standard size of a plot is 60 x 120ft (18m x 36m i.e. 648sqm), while in some other cities of the country, plots are measured in 50 x100ft.
Documents you must know in Real Estate Investment
A Survey plan is a document that measures the boundary of a parcel of land to give an accurate measurement and description of that land. The people that handle survey issues are Surveyors and they are regulated by the office of the Surveyor general in Lagos as it relates to survey issues in Lagos. A survey plan must contain the following information:
- 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
Land Use Decree 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 was 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 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.
An Excision means basically 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.
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.
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 can only sell Matters 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.ad land to buy.
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 to confirm whether it falls within the gazette and spell out which particular location it can be found.
DEED OF ASSIGNMENT
A Deed of Assignment is an Agreement between the Seller of a Land or Property and a Buyer of that Land or property showing evidence that the Seller has transferred all his rights, his title, his interest and ownership of that land to that the Seller that has just bought land.
The Deed of Assignment has been exchanged between both parties, it has to be recorded in the land registry to show legal proof that the land has exchanged hands and the public should be aware of the transaction. Such recorded Deed of Assignment come in the form of either a Governor’s Consent or Registered Conveyance.
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY
A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued by the State Government officially leases Lagos land to you, the applicant, for 99 yrs. As already indicated above, all lands belong to the Government.
A C of O however is the officially recognized Document for demonstrating Right to a Land.
What happens after 99 years? That question is still subject of debate among experts. Most have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Others postulate that as the new owner of the land, you the buyer, can renew the certificate of occupancy when it expires. That makes sense, but for now is largely a case. “We shall See”.