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Residential vacancy rate drops across cities following improved economy- Report

The number of empty spaces in residential buildings across major cities in Nigeria has dropped following the slight improvement in the nation’s economy, a new report on real estate has revealed. The Centre for Affordable Housing estimates that $360 billion is required to solve the national housing deficit which is 10 times the market capitalisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, adding that the housing deficit for Lagos State alone is put in excess of three million units and will require approximately N8 trillion to resolve at $10,000 per unit.


According to the report, to attend to this, there are ongoing initiatives by the Federal Government to increase housing supply by initiating mass housing projects across 33 states of the country. The project would engage over 650 contractors to deliver 2,736 units, employing 54,680 people in the process. It noted that working with the results of opinion polls and interviews, the project’s strategy is to construct bungalows with courtyards in the northern part of the country and blocks of flats or condominiums in the South, stressing that the experts, however, seem unconvinced, citing the slow pace of work, as designs for different regions in the country remain the only visible signs of progress. In addition, it said various states have created different initiatives to curb the housing gap in their respective constituents with Lagos State partnering with the Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company, NMRC, and private developers to deliver 20,000 housing units by the end of 2018. The report further revealed that Kaduna State Government has similarly embarked on an affordable housing programme and passed a law to establish the state’s Mortgage and Foreclosure Authority to facilitate speedy foreclosures on defaulters to its home-ownership scheme in partnership with the mortgage institutions. “As it stands, vacancy rates in Lagos averaged 11 per cent down from 15.57 per cent in half 2017 and 32.87 per cent at the end of 2016. Developments that had slowed in much of Lagos began receiving some attention as developers gradually moved back to residential sites as the economy turned for the better. “The stock of residential units in the Ikeja GRA area reduced in part due to conversions to office use while many others were either sold or leased out. The improved economic situation also encouraged the completion of many housing projects. Even the high-end 15-storey Afren Tower in Eko Atlantic received its first tenant in August 2017. “Vacancy rates in Abuja stood at a 7 per cent average, down from mid year’s 9.5 per cent and 27.57 per cent a year ago. In a bid to maximise the value of their property, landowners looked more favourable to joint ventures with developers,” the report stated.

It said the oil sector, long a favourite of luxury leasing, remained below its former earning capacity and was unable to sign many leases, and so was the case for their supply chain such as consultants, allied services and others, maintaining that other sectors that had long contributed to the demand for high-end developments were also down. It pointed out that property owners continued to be flexible with their terms in order to hold onto existing tenants with rents being reduced by up to 25 per cent in some instances, arguing that this state of affairs is similar to what was observed in the Ikeja GRA, as lease flexibility was seen not only in amounts paid and lease terms, but also in length of stay. According to the report, the fast growing business community in the Lekki Phase 1 and Oniru axis saw a demand from middle-income earners seeking to live close to work place, pointing out that standard three-bedroom homes, which are more readily available in these areas, tend to lease with a range of N2.5 million to N4 million per annum. “But the growing demand is for one or two-bed condos. This is the trend with other residential communities at borders of CBDs or commercial hubs, across the country. Service charge pricing and collection is increasingly a contentious issue in many of the gated estates and multi-tenanted developments. Landlords could manage with nil increments in rents but found it difficult running their facilities due to defaults in service charge payments. “Port Harcourt had the highest vacancy rates compared to Lagos and Abuja, averaging at 12 per cent.

Like Lagos and Abuja, this is also down from 13.75 per cent at the mid point of 2017 and 13 per cent at the end of 2016. The market has been described as not vibrant and landlords have dropped rents marginally to maintain existing tenants. “To Let boards are fast becoming a major feature in the city especially in mid to high-income localities. Purchasing power has dropped and tenants are choosing to maintain their current locations by negotiating favourable rents. There is a clear lull in the demand for luxury apartments of all sizes. “The effect of the gradual improvement in the economy is yet to influence spending in the city. To help curb the financing challenges of housing, the Mortgage Warehouse Funding Limited MWFL, was launched in Q3 2017 to provide short-term pre–financing in local currency to mortgage banks to strengthen their mortgage origination capacity. “The body essentially sits between the PMBs and the NMRC. To provide short- term financing, the MWFL intends issuing investment grade Commercial Paper under an initial N20 billion scheme. Some major activities in the residential space in the period under review include the listing of Mixta Nigeria’s N4.5bn guaranteed bond for affordable housing on the NSE. Odu’a Investment Company inaugurated a 4,400sqm for those in need of smaller sized offices. “To better avoid paying out-of-reach rents, businesses have continued the trend of moving to residential property and converting them to offices. Such property offer the advantages of exclusivity and lower management costs.”

By Kingsley Adegboye

Pension fund: Why administrators avoid investment in real estate

Administrators of the fund raised from the contributory pension scheme (CPS) are deliberately avoiding investment in real estate, citing low returns on investment and illiquidity of real estate as an asset class.
The administrators, who also cite poor and unreliable real estate assets valuation, explain that an estimated 8 percent annual return on investment and about 5 percent annual rental yield, do not make real estate an attractive investment asset class, adding that the assets cannot be converted easily to cash when the need arises.

Longe Eguarekhide, managing director, AIICO Pension Managers Limited, who disclosed this at a lecture in Lagos, also revealed however that discussions were ongoing between pension fund administrators and primary mortgage operators on how contributors to the pension scheme could access part of their retirement savings for use as equity contribution for mortgage loans.

From 2004, when the contributory scheme came into being, contribution has been quite significant and has progressively grown from N5.4 trillion a couple of years ago to N7.5 trillion at the moment, coming from contributors who represent a little above 4 percent of the country’s 170 million population.
These contributors are predominantly employees of over 200,000 employers of labour in both the public and private sectors of the economy, while the amount so far contributed is managed by operators, including 21 pension fund administrators (PFAs), seven closed pension fund administrators (CPFAs), and four pension fund custodians (PFCs).

The fund is meant to be invested in high yield investment asset classes in various sectors of the economy, but the administrators insist that, “even though real estate is a secured and relatively high yield investment asset class requiring long term and low rate funds, pension funds cannot be invested directly in it for reasons stated above.”

They also cite policy and regulatory framework among other challenges, explaining that housing policies in Nigeria have the characteristics of being inconsistent and poorly coordinated. “Lack of political commitment and differing approaches between sovereign and sub-national entities are also part of the policy challenges,” Eric Fajemisin, CEO, IBTC Pension Managers, said at a forum in Lagos.
He cited the National Housing Fund (NHF) managed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), which had a total collection of well over N2 trillion, but was yet to fully realise its goal.
The Land Use Act of 1978, which rests the power to allocate and revoke land on the state governors, is one of the regulatory challenges, which, Fajemisin said, was slowing down process of obtaining titles to ownership of land and also making property registration not only costly, but also difficult.
Pension funds administrators, like other investors, see opportunities in the housing sector, which, apart from being supported by favourable demographics, also presents investment opportunity valued at N56 trillion by the FMBN.
The country’s over 170 million population with over 80 percent of this number living in unplanned settlements under poor living conditions; only 13 million housing stock with only 5 percent in the formal mortgage, make the housing sector an investment destination, but not for the pension administrators.
“Housing or real estate generally can play a special role in the economic dialogue in Nigeria as it can generate employment, increase productivity, raise standard of living and alleviate poverty”, Fajemisin admitted, adding that unlike UK, US, China, Korea and Singapore where home ownership levels are 78 percent, 72 percent, 54 percent, 52 percent, and 92 percent respectively, home ownership is only 10 percent level in Nigeria.

FRSC partners FMBN on Housing Renovation loan

By Tukur Muntari
The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has entered into partnership with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) on providing Housing Renovation loan to its personnel across the country.


The FRSC Corps Marshal, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi disclosed this in Kano while presenting land title documents to 150 staff of Kano State Sector Command of the FRSC that benefited from the Post Service Scheme.

He said already, no fewer than 600 staff of the organisation had so far benefitted from the Housing Renovation loan since the partnership was established.

He said under the partnership, interested staff members would be given a maximum of N1 million loan with single digit interest.

He said that this would enable them renovate their houses.

He disclosed that the FRSC had acquired land in Katsina State for the FRSC post service homes.

He said that the lucky beneficiaries would soon be presented with their allocation papers.

Oyeyemi urged officers and men of the commission to increase their savings under the Post Service Scheme.

He said that would enable them have something to fall back on after retirement from the service.

“You must plan your life so that when you retire, you will have something to fall back on but if you don’t plan well, the future will be bleak.

“This is the practice in the military,” Oyeyemi said.

The Corps Marshal promised to continue to give priority attention to welfare of his personnel.

He warned them against unguarded utterances and indulging in partisan politics.

“You are uniform officers of the Federal Government so you must conduct yourselves in accordance with the law guiding the operations of the organisation.

He also charged officers and men of the service to shun rumour mongering and all other acts capable of denting the image of the organisation.

Earlier, the Kaduna Zonal Commander, Mr Bulus Darwang commended the Corps Marshal for fulfilling his promise to the staff under the post service home scheme.

He said the staff from Kaduna State were the first set of personnel under the zone to benefit from the land allocation.

Some of the beneficiaries who spoke to Housing News commended the Corps Marshal for initiating the programme.

They said it would go a long way in assisting them to build their own houses before retirement.

Stage is set for West Africa’s Largest Housing Expo

The 12th Abuja International Housing Show…This year will set a new record with more than 250 Exhibitors from 17 countries.

Abujahousingshow is the ultimate meeting point for Real Estate Development Industry Leaders, Housing Finance Executives, Senior Policy Makers and Investors to Collaborate, Build Partnerships and Shape the Future. A massive gathering of Exhibitors, Entrepreneurs, Service Providers in Real Estate, National and International Speakers, Financiers and Investors from different parts of the world to network for the betterment of Humanity and Mankind.

From award-winning International Housing Finance Experts, to Home Grown Subject Matter Experts — explore the breadth, variety, and vitality of the West Africa’s Housing Community, meet Developers, Lenders, Manufacturers, and take advantage of Expo-only ticket offers and giveaways.


One of our goals for the Expo is to let audiences know about the depth and the breadth of Nigeria’s Real Estate Industry. Help us reach this goal by helping us spread the word!!!

This years Speakers include:

Debra Erb – MD Housing Overseas Private Investment Corporation
Dr. Xing Quan Zhang – UN-HABITAT (United Nations Human Settlements Programme)
Sonnie Ayere – Founder Dunn Loren Merrifield Group
Ahmed Dangiwa – MD Federal Mortgage Bank Of Nigeria
Ugochukwu Chime – President Redan Nigeria
Abubakar Suleiman – CEO Sterling Bank
Kecia Rust – Executive Director CAHF
Agnes Tokunbo Martins – Central Bank of Nigeria
Simon Walley – World Bank
Jide Odusolu – CEO Ogun State Property & Investment Corporation – OPIC
Dr. Chii Akporji – ED Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company
TPL Umar Shuaibu – Abuja Metropolitan Management Council
Kayode Omotosho – Executive Secretary Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria
Adeniyi Akinlusi – MD TrustBond Mortgage Bank Plc

Physically Challenged At Mercy Of Public Infrastructure In FCT – Presidential Aide

Dr Samuel Ankeli, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, says the over 3,500 public infrastructure constructed in Abuja, are not friendly to the People Living with Disability (PLWD).

Ankeli said this at a sensitisation workshop on the importance of Basic Registry and Information System in Nigeria (BRISIN) for Data governance, disability and social welfare on Thursday in Abuja.


The aide attributed the exclusion of PLWD to accessing the facilities to lack of proper data for planning and execution of those projects.

“We don’t know how many people living with disability; most time, we guess and rely on foreign organisations to give us figures about our people.

“This has made life difficult not only for people living with disability but for people in governance,’’ he said.

He, however, called on governments at all tiers to plan for PLWD whenever they are constructing any project.

The aide said the objective of the workshop was to project a system that would make the country to generate its own data for effective planning and development.

“You will agree with me that we cannot plan without data, we need to distance from a system of development without planning.

“The present situation is what we are looking at, when we plan blindly without data.

“If you go to Ministry of Women Affairs and ask about the figures of PLWD in IDPs they will not know; if you also go to the NEMA the same thing.

“We have to get to a level where we press a button and get the data we want for any purpose.’’

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is inclusive and there is no inclusive government without data governance.

In his presentation on Data Governance, Dr Anthony Uwa, National Coordinator, BRISIN, said data generation was key to data governance and that it covered every aspect of the economy.
BRISIN is an integrated system for the collection, storage and distribution of information to support the management of the economy.

The project was initiated under the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration while the Goodluck Jonathan administration inaugurated a Technical Committee for its implementation.

BRISIN is targeted at tapping into all aspects of the nation’s economy and bringing about developmental and economic growth in the country through the use of data collection of people and information.

Data received will be used to plan for the management of the nation’s resources.

Uwa, also Managing Director of Dermo Impex Limited, told the stakeholders that BRISIN would build five focal data points in the country that would grantee data governance.

He listed the points as demographic data, social data which include disability, security data and economic data as well as labour and employment data.

“These integrated data form the base for national data governance businesses benefit from data governance because it ensures data is consistent and trustworthy.

“This is critical as more organisations rely on data to make businesses decisions, optimise operations, create new products and services and improve profitability,’’ the official said.

Oyo To Demolish Illegal Structures

The Oyo State Government has assured that strategic actions were being taken to stop the proliferation of illegal structures in the state, saying that illegal structures would no longer be allowed.

The Director General, Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control, Waheed Gbadamosi, gave the assurance while leading a task force on illegal structures and filling stations to Oyo and Ogbomoso on an enforcement exercise.


He explained that the purpose of the exercise was to ensure that the pace setter status of the state was maintained in its physical planning aspect, stressing that this prompted the team to spread its tentacles to Oyo and Ogbomoso to remove some properties illegally built and those constituting a nuisance to the neighborhood.

According to Gbadamosi, “During the exercise, it was observed that the state planning laws are not being obeyed by the people living outside the state capital. Our people believe that the arm of the law cannot reach them. The vision of the present administration is to set a world class standard that does not condone illegal physical development in the state.

“Illegal structures portend great danger to the people. Some people built under the power lines while some have constructed their filling and gas stations in highly residential density environment without giving room for any space. This is not too good for the state and as government; we are working round the clock to militate against natural disasters.

We want people to support this cause by adhering to the state planning laws,” he added.

He stressed that the 1978 Land Use Act provided that all lands within the territory of each state solely belonged to the state government, hence, any physical development that is being carried out in the state must be granted approval by the state government.

Demolition: Court Adjourns Hunkuyi’s N10bn Suit Against Kaduna Govt

A Kaduna State High Court on Thursday adjourned the N10 billion suit instituted by Sen. Suleiman Hunkuyi (APC- Kaduna) against the Kaduna State Government till June 5.

The Court, presided over by Justice Muhammad Lawal-Bello, adjourned the matter to determine the jurisdiction application raised by the respondents in the suit.


Hunkuyi had on March 15 approached the court to demand for N10 billion damages against the state government for alleged illegal demolition of his house at 11B, Sambo Road, Kaduna.

Joined in suit was the state Geographic Information Service (KADGIS) “for illegally and unlawfully demolishing his house”.

The court had then adjourned the case to March 26, following the request by the defence counsel (from Kaduna State Ministry of Justice) that they needed time to enable them to enter their defence.

The applicant’s counsel, Prof. Yusuf Dankofa, among others, prayed the court to declare that the respondents (Kaduna State Government and KADGIS)’s action in arrogating to themselves the power to sanction the applicant was illegal, even if he had defaulted in payment of either ground rent or land use charge or for any other reason .

The applicant had said the action constituted a gross violation of his Fundamental Human Rights as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and “therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.”
He prayed for “A declaration that the purported takeover of the applicant’s property located at No 11B Sambo Road Kaduna by the Respondents on the basis of purported non-payment of ground rent/land use charge or for any other reason is wrong, illegal and unconstitutional.”

Hunkuyi also prayed for an order of the court “setting aside the purported take over of the applicant’s property.”

He, therefore, requested for “an order of this court mandating the respondents to pay the applicant N10 billion “being aggravated, punitive and general damages against the respondents jointly and severally for the violation of his human rights.”

ustice Lawal-Bello had earlier adjourned the suit to April 19, to allow the defense counsel present his written address.

However, at the resumed hearing of the suit on Thursday, the defense counsel, Musa Kakaki, Assistant Director Civil Litigation in the state, said the court had no jurisdiction to hear the suit.

Kakaki, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the suit.

Justice Lawal-Bello, however, adjourned till June 5 to rule on the jurisdiction application.


The ease with which title to real properties is perfected enhances the property rights enjoyed by private
persons as well as corporates in any country. Land acquisition and security of title and interest in land
(as guaranteed by perfection of title), is fundamental to the harnessing of investments, expansion of
businesses and the growth of economies.

In recognition of the importance of security of interest and title to land to foreign direct investments, the
World Bank, last year, included “registering property” as one of the new indices used in its annual
Doing Business report. Hitherto, these indices were limited to: (i) starting a business; (ii) dealing with
construction permits; (iii) getting credit; (iv) protecting minority investors; (v) paying taxes; (vi) getting
electricity; (vii) trading across borders; (viii) enforcing contracts; and (ix) resolving insolvency.
In the 2016 Doing Business Report, published by the World Bank and tagged “Measuring Regulatory
Quality and Efficiency”; Nigeria is ranked 185th out of 189 countries rated globally with respect to the
“Ease of Registering Properties”. Although Nigeria ranks 169th in the overall Ease of Doing
Business Index, it is clearly a disincentive, to prospective investors interested in land acquisition deals
(and/or investors who are willing to provide debt capital) when faced with the seemingly daunting
regulatory issues as well as the high cost of registration connected with registering title to property or
creating security over landed property; more so in the light of the World Bank ranking.
To help with a better appreciation of the legal and regulatory maze bemoaning land matters in Nigeria,
this article will expatiate on the process of perfecting title to land in Nigeria, especially as it obtains in
Lagos State, with some mention of other States and the Federal Capital Territory. This article will also
analyze the challenges encountered in registering properties and creating security over land.

“In our basic economics, land is a very important asset to capital formation… you can’t start a bank, you
can’t start a business, you can’t farm; you can’t even extract crude oil without identifying a particular
piece of land or oil well (embedded in land). So it’s the basics of capital formation, it’s the basics of
prosperity; it’s the basics of economic well-being and the basics for job,” said Babatunde Fashola, the
erstwhile governor of Lagos State, at the signing into law in January 2015 of a Bill to consolidate all
land-related laws in the State.
As a valuable investment vehicle and collateral for obtaining credit, property is a catalyst for growth.
However, property-backed investments and transactions (such as leases, mortgages, and
assignments) can only be properly and securely concluded, where the relevant property transaction is
appropriately registered in a depository, usually called the “lands registry”, for ease of verification.
Indeed, countries where property registrations are governed by investment-friendly and seamless legal
and regulatory frameworks enjoy favourable perception from investors globally.

Leasehold Interest in Land and the Right of Occupancy
Generally, in Nigeria, the Land Use Act (Cap. L5, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004) (“the LUA”)
governs the ownership and use of, as well as the general administration of land, in Nigeria.
Whilst Section 1 of the LUA vests all land within the urban territory of each State (with the exception of
land vested in the Federal Government or any Agency of the Federal Government) solely in the
Governor of the relevant State, Section 2 of the LUA vests land within the rural territory of a State in the
Local Governments. For clarity, the vesting of the land in the Governor of a State does not in any way
confer actual ownership of the land on the Governor.
Specifically, the responsibility of the Governor in this regard is to hold land in trust for the common use
and benefit of all Nigerians and to this end, administer same for their benefit. Such administration of
land are, in the main limited to the allocation of these plots of land to individuals and organisations for
residential, agricultural, commercial and other purposes as well as collecting rents in relation thereto.
With the enactment of the LUA, individuals or companies are entitled to only leasehold interests (as
Freeholds were abolished by the LUA coming into force), and these leasehold interests are embodied
by “Rights of Occupancy”, which may be customary rights of occupancy or statutory rights of
occupancy. Individual rights to land are indeed preserved in the nature of rights of occupancy.
The interest created by a right of occupancy is devoid of absolute ownership or radical title. The
Supreme Court of Nigeria, in 1991, in the case of Osho Vs. Foreign Finance Corporation, described
the nature of the interest created by a right of occupancy in the following terms: “The interest of a
lessee in land is not exactly the same as that of a holder of a right of occupancy. A holder of a right of
occupancy enjoys a larger interest than a holder of lease although the two interests enjoy a common
denominator which is a term of years”. A right of occupancy under the Act can therefore be said to be a
right to use and occupy land subject to conditions and restrictions prescribed by law.
The Governor of a State is empowered to grant statutory rights of occupancy to any person in respect
of land, whether or not in an urban area and these rights are evidenced by the issuance of certificates
of occupancy (“C of O”). The LUA also empowers Local Governments to grant customary rights of
occupancy over land in non-urban areas only.
Notably, persons who were vested with title to land before the commencement of the LUA are regarded
under sections 34 – 36 as ‘deemed grantees’ of Rights of Occupancy with respect to the relevant land
and were therefore, entitled to be issued the “C of O” upon application to the relevant government ministry or agency. Any subsequent transactions in respect of the land (which is the subject of the Right
of Occupancy), must be with the consent of the Governor of the State where the land is situate.
A right of occupancy is granted for a fixed term of years. The convention is to grant a right of occupancy
for a maximum term of ninety nine (99) years where the application is for residential uses. Terms
ranging from thirty-five (35) to seventy (70) years are typically granted where the land is sought for
other (commercial) uses.
The question of whether there would be a renewal after expiration of the term, and on what terms such
a renewal would be granted, is one on which there is as yet no definite answer. Academic opinions on
this issue are polarised.
The grant of a right of occupancy is subject to certain conditions, which are spelled out in the certificate
of occupancy and the holding of this right is not absolute. Indeed, Section 28(1) of the Act empowers
the Governor of a State to revoke any right of occupancy granted to any person. Specifically, in the
case of statutory rights of occupancy, a breach of the express or implied terms and conditions of the C
of O is also a valid ground for revoking the right of occupancy.
Without prejudice to the terms and conditions specified in the C of O, the primary ground on which a
right of occupancy can be validly revoked is to satisfy an overriding public interest. “Overriding public
interest” with regards to a statutory right of occupancy, is defined to include “unlawful alienation,
requirement of the land by the Local, State or Federal Government for public purposes, and the
requirement of the land for mining purpose or oil pipelines or any purpose connected therewith. The
same applies to customary rights of occupancy, save for the addition of the requirement of the land for
extraction of building materials”. Section 51 of the Act further defines “public purposes” to mean, among
other things, purposes:
(i) for exclusive Government use or for general public use;
(ii) for obtaining control over land contiguous to any part or over land the value of which will be
enhanced by the construction of any railway, road or other public work or convenience about to
be undertaken or provided by the Government;
(iii) for obtaining control over land required for or in connection with planned urban or rural
development or settlement; and
(iv) for obtaining control over land required for or in connection with economic, industrial or
agricultural development.
From the foregoing, any purported revocation by the Governor for public interest or purpose must fall
within the ambit of the above definitions.
More importantly, a notice of revocation, (which signifies the Government’s intention to acquire property
that is subject of a Right of Occupancy), must be issued and served personally on the holder of the
right of occupancy, which said notice must be under the hand of a public officer who is duly authorized
for that purpose by the Governor. The notice of revocation must also state in clear terms the reason for
the revocation, which must be within the statutory permissible grounds for revocation. Any revocation
for purposes other than the one prescribed, though ostensibly for purposes prescribed by the Act,
would be declared void by a court of law.
Where a right of occupancy is revoked for overriding public interest, the holder of the revoked right is
entitled to compensation as specified in Section 29 of the LUA. However, the compensation shall be for
the value of the holder’s unexhausted improvements, at the date of revocation. Where there is any
dispute as to the amount of compensation payable, it may be referred to either the Land Use and
Allocation Committee, (which is a body established under Section 2(2) of the Land Use Act to, among
other things, advise 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); or the courts of law. In
Kanada Vs. Governor of Kaduna State, Section 47 of the Land Use Act, which purports to oust the
jurisdiction of courts to inquire into any question concerning the amount or adequacy of any
compensation paid under the Act, was declared unconstitutional and void.
Restrictions on Transfer or Alienation of Land
By the provisions of sections 21 and 22 of the LUA, no transactions affecting land in Nigeria either by
way of assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sublease or otherwise howsoever, shall be
carried out without first obtaining the Consent of the Governor of the concerned State. Any transaction
done, or any instrument which purports to confer on, or vest any interest or right over land in any
person in contravention of these provisions; is null and void according to section 26 of the LUA.
However, in Awojugbagbe Light Ind. Ltd. Vs. P. N. Chinukwe & Anor [1995] 5 NWLR [Pt.390] 409,
the Supreme Court held that a transaction concluded without obtaining the requisite Governor’s
Consent is not void but merely “inchoate”.

Statutory requirements in the States
All States of the federation have their respective land registration laws, which, in addition to the LUA,
govern the administration of real property transactions in the relevant State.
Perfection of title involves three main stages; to wit: (1) obtaining Governor’s Consent; (2) stamping the
relevant transaction document; and (3) registration of the transaction document at the relevant Lands
Specifically in Lagos State, the registration of title to land is governed by the Lagos State Lands
Registration Law, 2015 (the “Lagos Lands Law”). Salient provisions of the Lagos Lands Law include:
 The mode of transfer of interests in land, sub-lease or mortgage must be by deed. Such
transfers shall be deemed to be complete only after the deeds have been registered at the
Lands Registry – Section 62(1);
 All deeds by which sub-leases, mortgages and dealings in land are effected are registrable
documents – Section 74(1);
 Registrable documents are mandated to be registered within sixty (60) days after obtaining the
Governor’s Consent – Section 26(1);
 A Power of Attorney (POA) authorising a third party to deal in land is a registrable document –
Section 56(2);
 Land Certificates shall be issued, containing the details of all transactions relating to land,
which have been registered as required –and the Land Certificates shall be prima facie
evidence of title – Sections 35(1) and 35(5);


A registered holder of title to land has power to dispose or deal with it and create any interest or
right over it, subject to obtaining the required Governor’s Consent – Section 32.
Due to the requirement of obtaining Governor’s Consent in relation to any alienation of land, registering
properties in Nigeria has become a cumbersome and long process, and obtaining the Governor’s
consent could take between 6 months to several years, depending on the level of bureaucratic
procedures in the relevant State. Apart from the cumbersome process, the costs associated with the
perfection of title is another challenge prospective investors consistently battle with, as these costs
could be as high as 15% of the value of the property. In Lagos, the immediate past Governor reduced
requisite perfection costs to about 3% in January of 2015 and this has helped with the increase with
compliance with the LUA and investments in real properties.
In Lagos State, there are about seven stages involved in the perfection process and these are as
1. Submission of an application for Governor’s Consent at the Lands Bureau. This application
must be accompanied by relevant documents and evidence of payment of preliminary levies
such as Application Fee, Charting Fee, Endorsement Fee and Administrative Charges, as
prescribed by the Lands Bureau.

2. The application is referred to the office of the Surveyor General of Lagos State for the purposes
of: (a) charting the relevant survey plan; (b) ascertaining that the land is free from government
acquisition; and (c) ascertaining that the coordinates of the land as reflected in the relevant
original survey, do not fall outside the vendor’s property.
3. Thereafter the application is returned to the Lands Bureau and an assessment letter is issued
requesting the applicant to make the following payments:
(i) Consent Fee;
(ii) Stamp Duty;
(iii) Capital Gains Tax;
(iv) Registration Fee;
(v) Business Premises Charge (payable if the property is a business premises or if one of
the parties is a company);
(vi) Direct Assessment (personal income tax of parties to the transaction); and
(vii) Neigbourhood Improvement Charge, (where applicable).
4. Payment receipts obtained in respect of the payments mentioned under (3) above, are then
forwarded to the Lands Bureau.
5. The Deed is forwarded to any of the designated commissioners for the endorsement of the
relevant portion of the Deed on behalf of the Governor, evincing the requisite Governor’s
Consent to the transaction.
6. Subsequently, the Deed is stamped by the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (where
parties are individuals) or the Federal Inland Revenue Service (where one of the parties is a
It is instructive to know that by virtue of section 22(4) of the Stamp Duties Act (Cap. S8, Laws
of the Federation of Nigeria 2004), every instrument relating to any property situate in Nigeria
must be duly stamped (following payment of appropriate duties). Without stamping, such
instrument will not be acceptable for registration at the Lands Registry and will also be
inadmissible in evidence in any court proceedings.
7. Following stamping, the Deed is presented to the Lagos State Lands Registry, for registration.
Registration signifies the completion of the perfection process and a duly perfected original
Deed (together with one counterpart Deed) is returned to the applicant.
Regulatory reform
Although the process outlined above appears relatively easy, the bureaucracy that often attends
applications for perfection of title makes the process tedious and cumbersome.

More instructively, it is important to note that stakeholders in the real property sector have attributed
Nigeria’s poor showing in property transactions to “obsolete laws, weak governance framework,
fragmented regulatory structures and administrative malpractices”. In the global real property markets,
the seamless processes of property registration are ensured through streamlined rules and minimal
Indeed, data reveals that it takes an average of three days only for buyers to perfect titles to their
landed properties in Dubai with a near zero cost. Available data on jurisdictions such as Thailand,
South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States suggests timelines for registration and associated
costs as follows:
 Thailand – 1 day and 1% cost;
 South Africa – 2 months and 3% maximum cost;
 United Kingdom – 2 months and 4% maximum cost; and
 United States – 2 months and $8,000 maximum cost.
Thus, in a bid to streamline the perfection process and reduce the time expended on perfection in
Lagos State, the Fashola-led administration attempted some major reform of the process.
In furtherance of this reform, the Directorate of Land Services in Lagos State, issued a guideline
referred to as “The 30-Day Governor’s Consent to Subsequent Transaction of Land”. The guidelines
actually regulate more than the procedure for obtaining Governor’s Consent, and do regulate the entire
perfection process including registration and collection of registered documents.
The 30-Day guidelines lay down a 10-step procedure with specific timelines for completion of each
step/activity. The 10-step procedure, with attendant timelines, is as follows:
(i) Receipt of applications and accompanying documents at the reception desk;
(ii) Unique referencing of applications for identification purpose; (Steps I & II are to be completed
in One (1) day).
(iii) Investigation of the status of the land through charting – (This must be completed within Four
(4) to Seven (7) days)
(iv) Assessment of property to determine applicable fees
(v) Issuance of Demand Notices (Steps IV & V are to be completed in One (1) to Two (2) days)
(vi) Forwarding of treasury receipts of payments of fees by applicants – (This must be completed
within Five (5) to Seven (7) days)

(vii) Approval and endorsement of documents by the Honourable Commissioner (This must be
completed within Four (4) to Seven (7) days)
(viii) Stamping of Documents (This must be completed within Two (2) to Three (3) days)
(ix) Registration of Documents (This must be completed within Two (2) to Three (3) days)
(x) Collection of all registered Documents
However, in practice, these 30-Day guidelines are not being adhered to by officials involved in the
perfection process in Lagos State. For this reason, the old regime (which is slow, inhibitive, and
discouraging to business transactions), which existed before the issuance of the guideline has since
Undoubtedly, the negative effects of the complex and overburdened property perfection procedures on
the economy are clearly shown, by Nigeria’s low competitiveness and poor Doing Business ranking.
As Africa’s biggest economy with about $510 billion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures, Nigeria has
the potential of becoming one of the world’s real estate hubs. But the inhibiting practices slowing the
pace of perfection of title to properties have continued to affect adversely, the contribution of the real
property sector, to the growth of the overall economy.
For instance, mortgage contribution to the GDP in Nigeria is a negligible 0.12% and this is because
most people fail to comply, given the enormity of the costs associated with registering security over
landed property. The costs of registering security over land in Lagos state for instance is about 2.2% of
the mortgage value (to get the Deed of Legal Mortgage properly registered both at the Lands Registry
and the Corporate Affairs Commission). By comparison, mortgage contributions to the economies of the
US, Britain, Germany, Thailand, South Africa and Ghana are respectively; 63%, 64%, 55%, 15%, 20%
and 3%. Clearly, since the costs of perfecting mortgages in those jurisdictions are relatively small, that
drives compliance with the laws and regulations governing alienation of property rights related to land.
In our opinion, there is need to reform the various land registration laws across the States of the
federation and streamline the rules. In this connection, the Lagos State model is commended. There is
also the need to review downward some of the onerous rates and fees payable on land registration as
well as the time lag for completing the processes in all the States.
Most importantly, there cannot be any real and quantifiable reform unless and until strict adherence to
the streamlined is enforced and stiff sanctions laid down for none compliance. In the absence of firm
and driven implementation and compliance, the new laws, regulations and guidelines only become
ineffective documents and the reforms eventually fail to achieve the desired effect of improving our
global ranking under the “Doing Business” parameters and our economy doesn’t get the desired boost
which it desperately requires.

Source: The Grey Matter Concept is an initiative of the law firm, Banwo & Ighodalo


FG to Harmonise, Set up Integrated Depository of Nigeria’s Land Assets

The federal government on Tuesday disclosed that Nigeria would soon have a unified depository of her landed assets from the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory, from which appropriate statistics for investments on housing developments; agriculture and others can be obtained by interested investors.

It also stated that about 2,736 newly built housing units would soon be added to the Nigerian national housing stock, to gradually cut down her national housing deficit which it said was estimated at 18 million.


Speaking at the 25th edition of the annual conference of directors and heads of lands in the federal and state government’s ministries, the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Mustapha Shehuri, in Abuja, explained that the new land depository would boost investments in the country when it becomes operational.

Shehuri stated that the depository would include all the landed properties in the country, adding that it will be an online system backed up by a good Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure.

According to him, the effort was part of both the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP) and the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) frameworks of the government.

“We are working hard to strengthen the Federal Land Registry for online transactions in line with global best practices. The results of some of these reforms of the federal government in this and other respects are responsible for the modest improvement in the country’s EODB ranking which has now gone up 24 places from the position as at 2015,” said Shehuri.

He further explained: “There are also plans to establish the National Land Depository, a huge ICT-backed infrastructure for the integration of various registries in Nigeria. This would enable prospective investors make quick decisions regarding property investment prospects in the country.”

According to the minister, the government has in line with the demands of the World Bank to make Nigeria’s economy competitive by ensuring prompt processing of landed transactions, processed over 1,500 secondary transactions on its land across the country.

“The ministry has successfully processed over 1,500 secondary transactions on federal government lands nationwide which are already positively impacting on the economy.

“We are also working hard to title over 2000 lands thus empowering the holders to raise investible funds to establish new and grow existing businesses, thereby creating value and jobs,” he noted.

On the status of the National Housing Programme (NHP), Shehuri, stated that: “The NHP would be adding 2,736 serviced units to the national housing stock thus gradually reducing the huge deficit currently estimated at 16 to 18 million units.”

Expert Wants Green Technology In Housing Policy

An environmentalist, Mr Lot Kaduma, has called on the Federal Government to integrate the evolving Green Building technology into Nigeria’s national housing policy.
Kaduma, an architect and sustainable cities campaigner, made the call in an interview with newsmen in Lagos last Friday.

He said that integration of the technology into the national housing policy would help to mitigate the effects of climate change in Nigeria.

According to him, green buildings evolved from the Green Technology concept, designed to mitigate or reverse the negative effects of human activity on the environment.
Kaduma said that embracing green buildings in Nigeria was the way to go, to make the environment friendly to people.

He pointed out that the construction industry constituted a major source of climate change, owing to toxic emissions from non-green buildings.
“The construction industry is a major contributor to climate change, where buildings alone account for over 30 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“This requires increased awareness among stakeholders in the Nigerian construction industry and the need for a strong buying of green buildings by the stakeholders to ensure its quick adoption in Nigeria.
According to him, a key issue that affects the practicability of green buildings in Nigeria is the level of technical knowledge available within the construction sector.

“Construction professionals, manufacturers and artisans will need to acquire new skills in the aspect of design, construction and management of green buildings in Nigeria.”
Kaduma also called for the incorporation of the technology into the curriculum of tertiary institutions and professional bodies in the country.
“The technology should be a requisite for professional certification and advancement in professional bodies like the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Institute of Builders and the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors.”
The architect said that the long-term benefits of a green building outweighed its high cost implications.
“There is a general perception that the initial cost of green buildings is higher than regular buildings.
“But recent advancements in the green technology industry have led to a fall in the price of green buildings.

“The global community has set a goal to ensure that all buildings are Net-Zero Green Buildings by 2050,” he stated.
The Tide source learnt that the Heritage Place on Lugard Avenue in Ikoyi, Lagos, is Nigeria’s premier green building.
The building is reputed to be the first to achieve the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in both design and construction.
Nestoil Towers in Victoria Island in Lagos, completed in 2016, is also cited as another LEED certified green building in Nigeria.
Others are the Eco Village in Port Harcourt and the Abuja Technology Village, which will be inaugurated next year.

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