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Purchasing Stress Free Land in Nigeria: Updated Version, By Douglas Ogbankwa

Douglas-Ogbankwa • Channels Television

Purchasing land in Nigeria could be a thing of joy or a great nightmare. Circumspection is required for you not to be a victim of fraud.
The following are safeguards gleaned from true life cases , when purchasing a land in Nigeria.

1.) Let your Lawyer be with you at the beginning of a land Transaction. With that, you will be able to detect fraud or discrepancies from the start.

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2.) Never make payments and sign documents later, most times after making payments, the Vendors become evasive and elusive, knowing there is nothing to look on to.

3.) Never pay cash for land purchases, do a bank transfer, issue a cheque or raise a bank draft to provide a trail of transaction, that may come in handy for evidence.

4.) Investigate title and ownership before purchase, do not believe every information given to you by the Vendor, subject it to scrutiny.

5.) If they said the Vendor is abroad, insist on a Power of Attorney from the Vendor to a person here in Nigeria and go on line to verify the authenticity of the fact, by using social media channels to reach the Vendor.Ask for the phone and email contact of the vendor and ensure the account name of the bank account the purchase sum is paid into syncs with the name of the seller .

6.) Let the person who introduced you to the transaction sign as a witness for you.

7.) Always put dates in your Deeds of Transfer or Assignment, an undated document has no probative value in Law-as per ratios by the Supreme Court of Nigeria on this matter.

8.) If the land document was registered ,conduct a search at the Lands Registry to ascertain, if there had been a Transfer, if there was a Charge, Mortgage, Caveat or any kind of encumbrances whatsoever.

9.) If the Owner of the land was dead, demand for a document conferring ownership on the Vendor, like Letters of Administration, Document of Sharing or Order from the Customary Court.

10.) Take your documentation seriously, do not patronize quacks or business centres, be guided that according to the Land Instrument Preparation Law, every document relating to land must be prepared by a Legal Practitioner, failure of which, what you have will be a worthless sheet of paper!
Pay right to a Lawyer now or you will pay more later Documentation is the most important thread in a land transaction , after verification for the authenticity of the land .Do not take it for granted .Pay the precise fees.

11.) If you are not sure of the genuineness of the Land,pay Instalmentally, do some work to ascertain any encumbrance or otherwise.

12.) Do not allow the Vendor to rush you, while doing a land transaction, being rushed is a red flag, that the land may not be genuine.

13.) Always insist on a receipt for every payment made ,to give you evidence of same.

14.) Do a Survey Plan immediately after purchasing a land, and lodge it at the Lands Registry, to put your purchase on official records.

15.) Do not buy a land and leave it fallow,make sure you have contact of people around the land to monitor it for you and to alert you against any Trespass.Do not buy a land, when you are not ready to develop same, as land speculators will make a mince meat of your land .They have their pertains as has a lot of money to compromise the system.

16.) Make sure you have pictures and videos of the signing of the Land Documents, the children of the Vendor may feign ignorance of your transaction, if for any reason the Vendor dies.Ensure also you have a receipt and indemnity and an Affidavit of Ownership , which expands the liability of the vendor (seller), should the land be fake.

17.) Do not allow the Vendor to get a Lawyer for you, get your Lawyer that will protect your interest.

18.) Make sure the Community Leaders are aware of your purchase of land in their
Community, it makes fraud less likely and makes your purchase public knowledge.

19.) Read through before signing a Land Document, every word is important and the Law only interprets your agreements and not your thoughts. “Pacta Sunt Servada “-Parties are bound by their Agreements.

20.) You may require the Vendor to swear to an Affidavit of ownership,so if it turned out that he is not the Owner of the land subject of the transaction, it becomes a Criminal issue of lying on Oath -Perjury.

21.) Buying a Land from an individual that is ascertained to be the Owner of the land, is likely to be more authentic than buying from the Community! Be more thorough ,when buying from the Community.They look for fallow land to sell to unsuspecting members of the Public.When you see sand, gravel,blocks, built up foundation or survey beacons in a land you have an interest in , it means the land is likely to be encumbered .Intensify your search and enquiries. The land speculators will lie that it is people close that put them there or that it is the owner , do not believe until you verify the authenticity or otherwise of the information.

22.) Ensure you make the Vendor to sign a receipt and indemnity for you and ensure every Deed of Transfer prepared for you have an indemnity clause. If the land was fake, the Matter becomes an automatic case of fraud and this expands the liability of the vendor and reinforces the fact of a financial transaction , with out the requisite value, for which the Vendor can be charged to Court for Advance Fee Fraud or other related crimes .

A Land can be a thing or joy or one of extreme sadness. Better not to buy a land , than you buy one that will give you pain .Lawyers are very important in the process , so pay them well.If you could be Agents 10 Percent, why not Pay the Lawyer same or even more as his expertise, can save you an awful lot .Do not believe every thing you hear or see in a land transaction. Be very circumspect and confirm all information.

About the Author:
Douglas Ogbankwa Esq. @ douglasogbankwa.com , is a Lawyer ,Writer and Policy Analyst , who is the founder of the Benin Writers’ Society.

Warning :Copying of this work with out acknowledging the Writer or changing any aspect of this work carries criminal and civil responsibilities.Be warned

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