The Land Use Act of 1978 converted all land in Nigeria to state land. This means that the Governor of each state is responsible for the management of all lands situated in the state on behalf of the people. It is therefore a requirement of law to obtain the consent of the Governor before any assignment of title to land.
Once interest in a property/land is expressed by a purchaser, the following steps must be taken:
1) Inspection of the property/land
This is done by visiting the property to inspect it and ensure that it matches with the description on the title document, the extent of development on the land, condition of the property. This can be done by the purchaser or his estate agent.
2) Conduct a search on the property title at the Land Registry
After inspection and expression of interest in the land/property, investigation of title is carried out at the Lands Registry in the state where the land is situated by the purchaser’s solicitor. The primary objective at this stage is to ascertain that the vendor has a good root of title. This is done by a written application to conduct a search, accompanied with evidence of payment of search fee. This fee varies from State to State. Searches may also be conducted at the Probate Registry, Courts and the Corporate Affairs Commission when purchasing property that is subject to a will or which is being sold by personal representatives, property that is being sold by a company, and property that is subject to litigation, respectively.
3) Application for Governor’s Consent
After the property has been purchased, an application form along with the following documents must be submitted at the Lands Registry:
- Copies of the Deed
- Certified True Copy of title documents in respect of the property
- Survey Plan (1 Original Cloth Version And 4 Copies)
- Photographs of the property
- Purchaser’s current Tax Clearance Certificates (and Tax Clearance Certificate & Passport Photographs of two directors if a Company)
- Vendor’s current Tax Clearance Certificate (and Tax Clearance Certificate and passport photographs of 2 Directors if a Company)
- Evidence of payment of ground rent
- Evidence of up to date payment of development levy
- Evidence of up to date payment of tenement rates
- Original letter of confirmation of payment of capital contribution from NTDA (Lekki Property)
- Evidence of payment of neighbourhood improvement charges
- Approved Building Plan (For Developed Properties)
An assessment of fees payable will be sent to the solicitor after the application has been file. These payments are;
- Payment of Consent fee (8% of the capital value of the property, 16% where the Certificate of Occupancy is less than 10 years)
- Capital gains tax- 2% of capital value of the property
- Stamp duty- 2% of capital value of the property
- Administration fees-N3000.00
- Endorsement and Charting fees- N10,500.00.
- Registration fees- 3% of capital value of the property
After endorsement by the Director of Lands services, the file is sent to the Permanent Secretary’s office, who in turn sends the file to the Attorney General’s office for consent on behalf of the Governor.
After the Governor’s consent has been, the documents are sent for stamping at the office of the Commissioner for Stamp duties or the FIRS.
After stamping, the solicitor collects the deeds and takes them back to the Lands Registry for registration. The Registrar of Titles requests for the original title document for sighting. After sighting of the original title document, the deeds are stamped “registered” and the registration numbers are endorsed on the back of each copy. The Lands Registry keeps all deeds and returns 2 copies to the solicitor for the applicant.