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Unassailable Safeguards When Purchasing A Land In Nigeria, By Douglas Ogbankwa Esq

THERE is an aphorism in Benin , Edo State , Nigeria, that people do not drag for land , it is the land that drag for people. In order for you not to drag for land for you to be dragged in land Transaction or for the land to drag you , you have to be extremely careful, when conducting a land transaction.

There are time honoured principles by this writer ,spurned out of his practical experience for close to two decades. These principles are general, but you deal with circumstances in their merit .They are just a general guide .

1.Let a Lawyer be with you at the beginning of the Transaction.It makes the Land Speculators to do the right thing ,from the beginning, knowing that a good Lawyer will detect fraud or discrepancies from the start.


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.There should be precision in your transaction.

3. Never pay cash for land purchases ,do a bank transfer , issue a cheque or raise a draft to provide a trail of transaction and online real time evidence of payment, you can generate on the spur of the moment.

4.Investigate title and ownership before purchase,don’t believe every information given to you by the Vendor,subject it to scrutiny .

5. If they say 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.Also demand to talk to the seller directly.

6.Let the person who introduced you to the transaction sign as a witness for you This will give you a physical trail to the transaction.

7.Always put dates in your Deeds of Transfer or Assignment ,an undated document has no probative value in Law-as per a ratio by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.A date also gives your document more authenticity.

8 .If the land document is 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 is dead, demand for a document conferring ownership on the Vendor ,like Letters of Administration,Document of Sharing or Order from the Customary Court .When you buy a land from the son or daughter of an owner who is dead with out a document vesting ownership, you have purchased nothing or you have purchased a litigation.

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 now or you will pay more later.

11. If you are not sure of the genuineness of the Land,pay Instalmentally,do some work to ascertain 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.

13.Do a Survey Plan immediately after purchasing a land, and lodge it in the Lands Registry,to put on purchase on official records .

14.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.

15.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.

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

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

18.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.

19.You may require the Vendor to swear to an Affidavit of ownership,so if it turns out that he is not the Owner ,it becomes a Criminal issue of lying on Oath -Perjury.

20. 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!

21.Ensure you make the Vendor to sign and receipt and indemnity for you and ensure every Deed of Transfer prepared for you have an indemnity clause.If the land is fake ,the Matter becomes an automatic case of fraud.The receipt becomes an evidence against the seller or the fraudsters .

22.Always ask to talk to seller directly and except there is a power of attorney, pay directly to the account of the seller .If you are asked to pay to another account prepare a receipt and indemnify for the recipient to sign ,tying the payment to the beneficiary.

23.Always ensure the seller brings his identity card to ensure that he is actually the seller .There is a new development of identity fraud going on in land transactions. Getting the Seller to provide an official ID Card gives you certainty .

24.Let your Surveyor follow you to the land as you are seeing the land for purchase, to demarcate same immediately and put your beacons for clear demarcation. A Survey Plan by Law is additional evidence of possession that can prove your ownership. Also ensure the Survey Plan is lodged with the Land Registry.

25.Aside Search in the Land Registry, do a physical search of persons in the surroundings of the land .That drunkard can give you information the land registry can not give you

26.Never allow any one hurry you over the purchase of a land .If he or she says there is a buyer ,tell the person to sell to the buyer .Land is there forever ,so be sure you are actually buying a genuine land .

27.Know that there is a new fraud of estate agents selling people ‘s houses and land and relocating with the proceeds abroad .Be very careful of the details you give to agents about your land and yourself. If your land has a fence ,but a phone number there for people to be able to call you or your trusted buddie.

28.Ensure you sign all documents at the same time payments are being made .Let it be done contemporaneously.

29.Also enquire about the reputation of agents and lawyers involved in transaction .Their reputation counts in knowing whether you are buying a genuine land or not .

30.Capture the siging of land transactions and videos and ensure that there a narration by the seller of what he is selling and for how much .You can do this discreetly as some sellers who are big ,may find this embarrassing.

Be caref with people in a land transaction no matter what profession they belong to .Ensure you do all your checks and findings. Employ professionals to do a professional search .Better to pay small now ,than more later .It could be a case of penny wise , pounds foolish .Be wise as a serpent .

About the Author:

Douglas Ogbankwa Esq ,, lawyer ,Writer and Policy Analyst is the writer of the Book Nuggets for Life

About The Author