LAND TITLES YOU NEED TO KNOW AND UNDERSTAND IN NIGERIA
Let’s discuss the following land titles
Certificate of Occupancy
Let’s discuss EXCISION (Gazette)
To make it clearer, let’s start with the dictionary definition of excision
Excision is the act or procedure of removing by or as if by cutting out.
A portion of land is said to be excised if such portion has been legally released, through a government gazette, to indigenous settlers.
Excision simply means a land free from government acquisition.
Let’s briefly discuss history as under the administration of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Some decades ago, whenever the government (Federal or state government) needs a piece of land, they will have to pay for it but the former President Olusegun Obasanjo felt it is nonsensical to pay people for land since the government is working in the best interest of these people.
And this belief promoted the federal government to enact a law (land use act of 1978) which makes the country’s governments the owners of all lands in the country.
The land use act state that every portion of land belongs to the government both in the federal and state level, which is why it is mandatory to register the usage of such land with the relevant level of government.
The act was only enacted to help document all land with the state government.
The act states that the government own the land and that the government can’t possibly use all parcels of land in the state or country, the government felt it would be good to give out unused lands back to the people.
One of the best or easiest way created to collect a piece of land from the government, is known as Excision.
Historically, before the introduction of the Land Use Act of 1978, lands in Nigeria were mostly under the control of traditional families and communities.
But by law in Nigeria, lands are under the control of the state governors.
Let’s delve into the classifications of land as related to the above discussion.
Land can be classified into two.
- Free land – Free lands are those kind of land that the government does not have an interest in.
The government allows entities [people, groups of people, organizations, etc.] to use free lands.
Note that in other to validly use free land, there is a need to process the papers until you get a title called C of O.
- Acquired land — Acquired lands are those kind of land that the government has an interest in.
Acquired lands can be further classified into two: General/Global acquisition and committed acquisition.
Global acquisition refers to those acquired lands the government doesn’t need for anything at a particular time, even though it has an interest in them. They are portions of lands that the government would have interest in later in the future. These lands can be regarded as abandoned lands. You can find these types of land around Ibeju Lekki.
Committed acquisition refers to acquired lands the government has decided to use for something.
You need to note that not all lands are excise by the Government. Global acquisition is the only type of land that can be excised and it has been briefly discussed earlier.
A government gazette (also known as an official gazette, official journal, official newspaper, official monitor or official bulletin) is a periodical publication that has been authorized to publish public or legal notices. It is usually established by statute or official action, and publication of notices within it, whether by the government or a private party, is usually considered sufficient to comply with legal requirements for public notice.
It is also important to note that whenever land is excised, the excision is recorded in a book called Gazette.
In cases where you hear “Gazette Land” you need to know that it has been interchanged with “excised land”.
Note that Gazette is not a title!
Here is the best way to identify an Excision Land
To identify an excised land, you will need the service of a surveyor to get the coordinates of the portion of any land for proper analysis & findings before buying that land. A search will be carried out by the surveyor at the state government level.
Acquisition is the opposite of Excise.
Government acquisition simply means that the government has acquired such land.
When a land is under government acquisition then such land is not free. A land can be HIGHLY ACQUIRED/COMMITTED or it is being used or is to be used for agricultural purpose ONLY and it can be subjected to government approval later in the future.
Let’s have further discussion in the comment section.