What You Need To Know Before You Buy Land In Abuja, Lagos & Any Other Nigerian City




Lands acquired by the Government for its own specific use are lands under Government acquisition. It means the Government has plans for these lands and they intend to do something with them in the nearest future. Usually, these lands have been acquired by the Government for several years and it’s up to the Government to decide whether or not it will release the lands to people depending on if there isn’t a specific purpose for the land or if the release of those acquired lands to individuals would not interfere with any urban and regional planning regulation and if the Government can place a watchful eye over that land.

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On the other hand, a committed land is land the Government already has laid out plans for and nothing in this world will make the Government have a change of mind and give up that land. These lands include lands designated for Government estates, Government schemes, roads, etc. The truth of the matter is that buying a land in a committed area is similar to building castles in the air, because the Government would never approve the papers and if you eventually erect a building there, it will surely be demolished.
So because of these some land owners who had already bought lands under Government acquisition from the Unscrupulous Omoniles in Lagos/Ogun state, Abuja etc decided to find a way out. They took an inventory of all the illegal structures erected on lands under Government acquisition which were not sited on drainages, blocking roads and not located in committed areas. They agreed on a decision that the owners of such structures should be given the opportunity to process their papers and also be given building plans approval in a bid to also assist the Government provide affordable housing for low income earners. This singular decision of approving the processing of their papers for structures in lands under Government acquisition led to the process of Ratification and regularization of releasing lands within non-committed Government acquisition areas.
In Abuja and other city states, it is today known as Ratification while it is officially known as regularization in Alausa Lagos state. Ratification / Regularization is a process in which the unlawful owners of lands in non-committed Government acquisition areas are given the opportunity to legally obtain a title to the land they have trespassed upon from the state Government. Simply put, it is the process where the Government permits illegal occupancy of lands in non-committed Government areas thereby making it Legal. It however comes with the following conditions:

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The structure must not be located in a committed area, Estate or Government scheme
The structure must be located in an area that fits into the Urban and regional planning regulation standards of the state
The allocated set back of the land must be observed
The property must conform to the appropriate distance from drainages, canals, Gas pipelines, NNPC pipelines, NEPA transformers, Water pipelines, High tension wires and other restrictions laid down by the physical and town planning committee.
The land must be fall on road alignment
The land must not fall within a Government Committed area
The land should be within the permitted ratification/regularization areas.

Ratification/Regularization has also been extended to areas without lay out or development plans including areas with planned developments. Example of such areas in Lagos include Okota, Ketu, Badagry, Ikorodu etc, Suburbs in Ogun state such as Ibanfo Arepo, Mowe and Environs, then areas in Abuja like Wuse and Jabi etc.
So if you purchased a land that doesn’t meet all of the seven conditions, it means you didn’t do a proper land search, and your land will either be disapproved or the structure on it will most definitely be demolished.

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Procedure for Ratification or Regularization of Title
It is VERY important that you do a survey plan if your land is under Government acquisition and take it to the Surveyor General’s office to confirm for sure if it’s under Government’s acquisition and then know if it falls under lands that can be ratified. If you haven’t done so, please stop reading now and go do that. You need to know the status of your land.

Here are the steps to follow to ratify your land:

Submit an application for processing to the directorate of Land regularization (DLR) under the ministry of land.
The DLR will chart a survey plan and then carry out physical inspection of the site.
After approval of the site inspection, the DLR further processes the file by raising a demand notice for payment of land charges
Upon payment of land charges with a treasury receipt evidence, the DLR then prepares a letter of allocation (including the C of O) and send the letter of allocation to the Executive secretary Land use and Allocation directorate for endorsement. The letter of Allocation is then released to the Applicant
The Applicant’s file containing the C of O is sent through the permanent secretary to the honorable Commissioner for land Execution. After it has been executed, the C of O, is processed for stamp duty and registration and finally released to the applicant by the Honorable commissioner for lands

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Documents and requirements needed for Land Ratification/Regularization

A cover letter containing all the personal details of the agent or applicant filing for ratification must accompany the application
A completed application form to be sworn to before a magistrate or notary public duly dated and signed
4 passport photos of the Applicant
Photocopy of stamped purchase receipt
Land information certificate
Tax clearance certificate
N100,000 current special development levy
Sketch map of the site location
Original survey plan containing survey number and stamp
Photograph of the property
An original copy of the Deed of assignment
Administration fee of N4,000

To wrap this up, please bear in mind that lands in Ajah/Lekki and Epe that are under Government acquisition cannot be regularized for now. There is a suspension of ratification of lands in these area by Lagos state Government and they are currently not giving any approvals to lands there, documents, or certificate of occupancy at at the writing of this article.

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