ACQUISITION OF LAND IN NIGERIA BY GOVERNMENT ALLOCATION
Here in Nigeria, acquisition of land historically has been by means of first settlement, conquest, and customary grant, gift of land, inheritance, long possession, government grants/allocation and sale of land. However for us in PAN, our major concern is the acquisition of land as at today by a Nigerian or a foreigner for the purpose of residence and business, hence our concentration here would be on government allocation of land as a major way that a business person can acquire land in Nigeria.
The Land Use Act of 1978 is the most important piece of legislation that governs land transactions in Nigeria. This is an Act which has vested all land comprised in the territory of each state of Nigeria (except land vested in the Federal Government or Federal Capital Territory)) solely on the Governor of the State.
Section (1) of the Act states “ Subject to the provisions of this Act, all land comprised in the territory of each State in the Federation are hereby vested in the Governor of that State and such land shall be held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians in accordance with the provisions of this Act “.
And section 2 (1 & 2) states “ As from the commencement of this Act –
(a) All land in urban areas shall be under the control and management of the Governor of each State. And
(b) All other land shall, subject to this Act, be under the control and management of the Local Government, within the area of jurisdiction of which the land is situated “.
(2) “There shall be established in each State a body to be known as the Land Use and Allocation Committee which shall have responsibility for:-
(a) Advising the Governor on any matter connected with the management of land to which paragraph (a) of subsection (1) above relates;
(b) Advising the Governor on any matter connected with the resettlement of persons affected by the revocation of rights of occupancy on the ground of overriding public interest under this Act; and
(c) Determining disputes as to the amount of compensation payable under this Act for improvements on land “.
Looking at the above sections of the law, it is understandable that any person who wants government allocation of land would go through the land Use and Allocation Committee of the state in question. This is also applicable to lands in non urban areas where you have to deal with the Land Use Allocation Committee of the Local Governments concerned.
Section 5 (1a) states : “It shall be lawful for the Governor in respect of land, whether or not in an urban area: – to grant statutory rights of occupancy to any person for all purposes.
Sub section 2 states “Upon the grant of a statutory right of occupancy under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section all existing rights to the use and occupation of the land which is the subject of the statutory right of occupancy shall be extinguished. “
This means that the governor of the state has the power to grant Statutory Rights of Occupancy to any person for all purposes, the implication is that both Nigerians, foreigners, companies and organizations registered under CAMA, can apply and get a grant of land anywhere in any state from the governor of the state and in the case of the FCT, from the minister in charge of FCT, or the Area Council chairmen subject to section 7 of the Land Use Act.
Similarly section 6(1) of the Act states “It shall be lawful for a Local Government in respect of land not in an urban area.
(a) To grant customary rights of occupancy to any person or organisation for the use of land in the Local Government areas for agricultural, residential and other purposes.
(b) to grant customary right of occupancy to any person or organisation for the use of land for grazing purposes and such other purposes ancillary to agricultural purposes as may be customary in the Local Government area concerned.”
Here the Local Government Chairman has the right subject to the right of the governor of the state to grant land in his jurisdiction but limited to 500 hectares for agriculture and 5000 hectares for grazing purposes.
Before we proceed to analyze the procedures to acquire land by direct allocation from the governor of the state, it is important to clear the seeming confusion in the mind of some persons who assume that since the LUA has vested all lands in the territory of the state on the governor, therefore the Governor can give any land within his state to any one . The right of the Governor is limited by section 34 and 36 0f LUA.
Under the Land Use Act 1978, there are two types of rights of occupancy recognized by the Act. These comprises of Statutory right of occupancy and Customary right of occupancy. Both Statutory right of occupancy and Customary right of occupancy are of two classifications. The first is the Statutory right of occupancy granted by the State Governor pursuant to Section 5(1) (a) of the Act and the Customary right of occupancy granted by the Local Government under Section 6 (1) (a) of the Act. The second classification is the Statutory right of occupancy deemed to have been granted by the State Governor pursuant to Section 34(2) and (4) of the Act and the Customary right of occupancy deemed to have been granted by the Local Government under Section 36(2) of the Act. Therefore, there are actual or express grant as well as a deemed grant. An actual grant is a grant expressly made by the Governor of a State or a Local Government whilst a deemed grant comes into existence automatically by the operation of law. Meaning that any person whom the land was vested prior to the commencement of the LUA is entitled to the statutory right of occupancy but while the land is undeveloped the interest will be limited to half a hectare.
However any alienation of right of all land within any State of Nigeria, the deemed Grants inclusive is subject to section 22 of the LUA on Governor’s consent.
Secondly, the State government can acquire compulsorily any of those lands for Public Purpose only after going through the required procedure as stipulated by the laws which include adequate notice and compensation. This has been adumbrated in the Supreme Court case of AG Bendel State v P L A Aideyan SC 131/1986
DIRECT ALLOCATION BY GOVERNMENT
The procedure for direct allocation of land by the governments of the states of Nigeria are generally the same but with slight modifications by different states of the Federation .For the purpose of this article we have used the procedure of Lagos State of Nigeria.
1) A Formal Letter addressed to the Executive Secretary – Land Use and Allocation Committee,
2) Allocation Form with Receipt.
3) Four Passport Photographs with white background.
4) Evidence of payment of Income Tax.
5) Current Development Levy.
6) In case of company, evidence of payment of income tax of two directors and development levy.
7) Survey Plan
8) All payment receipts of Land Charges
8) Vital Information Form.
1) Applicant purchases and submits application pack to Land Use Allocation Committee (LUAC) and Collects acknowledgement slip
2) Applicant collects letter of offer of allocation
3) Applicant pays for allocated land (within 90 days)
4) Applicant issued with letter of confirmation with plot and block number
5) Surveyor General provides Scheme Officer with digitalized survey
6) Scheme Officer processes application for C of O, signs on the file and forward file to the Executive Secretary LUAC
7: Executive Secretary LUAC approves processing and signs letter of allocation.
8) ES sends the file to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Lands
9) SSA (Lands) vets the file and sends file/application with a covering memo to the Permanent Secretary Lands Bureau.
10) If file has a query, message is relayed back by notification
11) If there is no query, SSA (Lands) signs off on the memo and sends file to Governor
12) Governor approves file and electronically signs the C of O
13) The Governor sends file to the Deputy Registrar for further processing
14) Deputy Registrar processes file and sign.
15) Sends the file to Registrar of Titles for final registration
16) Registrar of Titles registers the C of O
17) File goes for printing of C of O.
This procedure does not come without some challenges in some states of Nigeria. They include the issue of delay as most times some of the applicants delay in the payment of their premium, also there is lack of adequate modern technology for stage and retrieval of information, e.g. land information system, geographic Information system in some states. Some of the states do not have already made layouts therefore they wait for applications from intending alottees before embarking on that by the survey and inspectional division.
Also very important to note is the fact that there is serious corruption in the process of allocation of Land by Government in some states of the Federation as the exercise is subjected to politics, bribery and corruption. It must be noted that as at the time of this publication, there is an embargo on direct allocation of land by the government of Federal Capital Territory. There will be more information on the issue as the government clears the air on its decision.
In PAN, we have a network of highly experienced and connected lawyers in real estate who can assist you secure allocation from the government of any state of Nigeria and Federal Capital Territory without much delay.