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Seven Documents You Must Demand Before Buying Land

Certificate of occupancy (C of O)is not the only title that shows that you are the rightful owner of land, there are other documents that signals your ownership.

Many Nigerians have been tricked by dubious landowners and grabbers (aka omo-onile) over ignorance of necessary titling documents they ought to have requested when purchasing landed property.

Buying a land without getting necessary documents could be disastrous. The truth remains that even if you pay for a parcel of land without getting these documents, you cannot lay claim on the land.

Here are the necessary titles you must ask landowner or seller before buying a parcel of land in Nigeria.

Survey Plan

A land survey plan is a specialized map of a parcel of land, created by thoroughly examining and measuring the property. It’s more than the diagram of a property, but also a key document that shows the exact borders of the property and applicable aspects of the registered.

It is with a survey plan that you will be able to do a search whether the land you are planning to buy is free or not. We advise that whenever you are negotiating for land to buy, request for the survey plan, then take it to your surveyor to carry out a search to know if the land is free from government acquisition or whether it’s up for agricultural, residential or commercial use.


Before the enactment of the Land Use Act of 1978, some families have enormous power that they are the ones determining which property will be sold and the one that would be kept.

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The Act abolished this practice and vested land ownership to the governor of the state, but government still recognizes families that are customary owners.

Thus, excision means taking a part from a whole and the part has been excised will be documented in the official gazette of that state. This means that not having excision means the asset could be seized by the government without compensating even though you actually bought it.


This title shows towns or villages that have been granted excision and the size of land government has allotted to them.

A community owning a gazette can sell only to an individual within those lands that have been excised to them and the community or family head of that land has the right to sign your documents for you if you purchase property within those excised hectares or acre of land.

Gazette is important because if government decides one day to acquire your asset , you’d be compensated as long as your land is among the excised assets given to the community.

To determine if your property has an excision that has been covered by a gazette, we advise you get a surveyor to chart the site and take it to the surveyor’s general office to conduct proper search.

Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)

This is an asset document issued by the state government to officially lease any land under its territory to buyers for 99 years. This document gives you the right to occupy the property.

Deed of Assignment

This document affirms that the seller of the property has transferred all his rights, title, interest and ownership to the buyer. The deed of assignment contains critical information about the transaction such as the date when ownership was transferred and a specific description of the property.

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Inability to produce a deed of assignment when dispute arises on a land simply means you can’t any claim on the property.


Receipt in land transactions means the seller has acknowledged payment made by you. It does not mean the seller has transferred his ownership rights and interests to you.

One mistake rookie investors make is assuming receipt and deed of assignment serve the same function. While the former affirms you have actually paid, the latter confirms that the seller has transferred his rights and interests to you.

Governor’s Consent

This is the land document that is obtained whenever land is bought with C of O. It let the Governor and general public know that the landed property in question has changed hands. We advise you to attempt perfecting your document by getting Governor’s consent to have total peace of mind. One benefit of getting a Governor’s consent is that it you can transfer your landed property to another party without meeting Omo-onile or Family head to sign your deed and form 1c, which are obligatory to processing Governor’s consent.

Source: businessdayng


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