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REGISTERING PROPERTIES IN NIGERIA: A CASE FOR STREAMLINING THE PROCESS

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.


CRUCIAL FOR CAPITAL FORMATION
“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.


LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS
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
Registry.
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);

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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
follows:
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
company).
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
costs.
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
resurfaced.
CONCLUSIONS
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.

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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.

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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.

HOUSING CHALLENGE: UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS OF BUYING PROPERTY IN LAGOS STATE

Nigerians abroad and those living in the country have been scammed several times trying to purchase a property. This can be traced to either they don’t understand the process involved in acquiring a property or chose not to carry out due diligence.

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As a property professional, I have seen people fall prey to scam and other dubious acts making them lose millions of Naira. Even though we know that government have not played its role in providing affordable housing, the onus is up to individuals and corporate organisation to know the process involved in buying a property. With this knowledge, they would know if they are involved in the right transaction or are being scammed.

After several years as a Real Estate consultant, it is no news that the government is not taking the appropriate step to combat the bureaucratic process involved in verifying a property and the lack of affordable housing in Nigeria.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs puts shelter as a basic need for every human. Without shelter, a man’s social activities and other areas of life will be distorted. Also, adding to the fact that man needs a place to rest after the day’s work.

What should have been a basic provision by the government has become a den of lions for scammers and fraudsters who claim to be Real Estate professionals.

According to 2011 housing survey report, there is 17million housing deficit in Nigeria. These challenges of housing in Nigeria can existed in previous administrations. In 1991 the government of Ibrahim Babangida promulgated the National Housing Policy aimed at making housing affordable and accessible, but the policy failed. I would not bore you with the failures of the past administrations. Even the current administration under the leadership of Babatunde Fashola as the Minister of Works, Power and Housing also introduced a policy to address the challenge of housing in the country, you can tell the result. The foregoing shows that Nigeria is not bereft of policies. And I’m sure it’s not stopping soon; this is the reason I believe you should understand the process involved in purchasing a property of your own so you are not scammed.

What both the state and federal government have failed to address is an indicator of the many abnormalities that happening in the housing industry.

Every adult at a time or another would get involved in housing transaction, either for outright acquisition (purchase) or on Lease (rent).

My focus as a practising real estate professional is to explain the p process involved in the acquisition of properties (Virgin Land or a House). And to help individuals and corporate organisations who want to buy properties have the basic knowledge of what to look out for when involved in buying a property. I tailor this article to properties in Lagos, but I’m sure it can be applied in other parts of the state.

When considering buying a property the first process is to sort out the aspect of finance, location & housing type. Immediately you find a property of interest and have agreed on a purchase price, quickly request for the copy of the subsisting Title or registration details of the property for a Title search at the Lagos State Lands Bureau.

The essence of Title verification at the Lands Bureau is to ensure that there is no encumbrance(s) on the property. You may not do this yourself; the service of a Professional is required in the verification of Title. This is one of the most important aspects of buying a property, in the real sense; it is the residual interest in the property that will be transferred. This aspect must be handled with utmost professionalism. The realtor handling this process must be detailed & ensure that the buyer is protected from any provision(s) that may serve as an additional burden if the property is acquired. If possible, apply for the Certified True Copy from the Lagos State Land registry; the buyer and the realtor must be satisfied with the existing Title before going ahead with the transaction. Most potential transactions end at this stage when the buyer is not satisfied with the documents provided.

However, the process is different, where the property does not possess a registered Title and requires a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) after purchase. In such situation, a copy of the Survey is taken to the Surveyor-General’s office for charting. This is to establish whether the property falls within the Government Acquisition Scheme or not. This is because not all properties within the Government acquisition scheme are rectifiable.

Another basic consideration when buying a property is the issue of Development Permit. The purpose of buying a property is specific, it is best to find out whether the development permit for that area will allow the intended development. Things to consider include: prevailing Land use zoning, Height restrictions (permissible number of floors), the allowable number of units, Car parking requirements, Setbacks/ Airspace considerations and Landscape requirements. If all the issues stated above are not considered, the application for Town Planning approval to develop from the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban development may not be granted. This is a serious issue.

The next is to carry out due diligence on the owner of the property. It is important to establish that the person selling is the owner or has instruction. Sometimes people bear the same name, impersonation or fraud. Where it is established that the Assignor (The person assigning his/her interest in a property) is not available and has confirmed his/her representative to the Assignee (The person acquiring the residual interest in a property), a Power of Attorney is required, authorizing the person to act on behalf of the assignor. When the property belongs to a family, there is need to establish that the people selling are the accredited representatives of the family, to avoid dispute from an aggrieved family member(s) or Litigation after the purchase.

After you have confirmed the documents, make sure that your payment goes through bank clearing, payment is acknowledged once received by the assignor/his representatives and the signing of the Deed of Assignment is done when the assignor has received value on the payment.

Finally, once the Deed of Assignment has been signed, the assignee takes physical possession of the property and commences the Title perfection process at the Lagos State Lands Bureau.

I’ll advise you to follow these processes to secure your transaction.

NHF Deductions: FMBN, Labour Unions, Assure Better Deal For Workers

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Employees Consultative Assembly (NECA) have promised better deal for Nigerian workers contributing to the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme.

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The NHF which is managed by FMBN is a social savings scheme designed to mobilise long-term funds from workers, banks, insurance companies and the federal government to advance concessionary loans to contributors. The proposal which is currently before the national assembly is contained in Section 8 of the amended loans board Act.

Fika further alleged that the disbursement of Home Renovation Loan (HRL) to federal civil servants was done to douse tension. Recall that the FMBN last year disbursed HRL worth N643m to 740 federal civil servants across the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through the loans board. Addressing journalists in Abuja, the managing director of FMBN, Arc Ahmed Dangiwa noted that the essence of the tripartite collaboration between the bank and labour unions is to widen access to affordable loans and housing to workers.

He lamented that houses sold by developers are exorbitantly high saying that civil servants who are the low and medium income earners cannot access the houses. This he said compelled the bank to come up with plans of either building the houses or sourcing for cheaper low income houses for the workers. Dangiwa debunked claims that the HRL was disbursed to douse tensions adding that HRL is one of the special products developed by the bank to assist workers with N1 million each to renovate existing homes. He maintained that the bank has disbursed HRLs to over 6000 workers in the last five years adding that the bank disbursed N6.5bn HRLs in 2017.

Also speaking, the president of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama kicked against splitting of the National Housing Fund (NHF) contributions adding that labour cannot rob Peter to pay Paul. According to him, “We cannot rob Peter to pay Paul because the operational scope of FMBN is different from that of FGSLB, though there are challenges but we are prepared to face the challenges from both sides. Kaigama noted that the problems observed in terms of the law establishing FMBN and NHF is being ammended at the national assembly saying that the leadership of NLC, TUC and NECA are involved at every stage of administration of FMBN.

He called on federal government to fund the FHSLB and pay up their share holdings in FMBN stressing that the entire funds of FMBN are owned by workers. “Either way there are problems or services being rendered by labour, the two institutions were established by a law and you cannot undermine one law in favour of another because both institutions are working for Nigerian workers”. “The FGSLB is only servicing federal workers while FMBN is servicing federal, state and local government workers as well as the private sector including the formal and informal sectors, so the scope of FMBN is wide”.

Kaigama said though there are problems but such problems would not be addressed by creating more confusion, assuring that NLC and TLC would liaise with the two institutions on how to trash out the areas of disagreement. He sought for the recapitalisation of FMBN even as he appealed to the federal government and Central Bank of Nigeria to pay up their shares in the bank. “Before now, we have not been having it very sound but we are assuring workers that with the new management team of the bank that workers will be better off in terms of getting services that they deserve” . “The foundation has been laid and we are building on that foundation to make sure that we give workers the best services it deserves”, he concluded.

Source leadership

Infrastructure deficit: Plight of civil servants in Abuja

The legendry Fela Anikulapo aptly captured the daily predicaments of the average Nigerian workers in his epic song, ‘Suffering and Smiling’. Many years after the release of the prophetic record, Nigerians’ plight has not improved, rather, as DONALD IORCHIR observes in this piece, their pitiable conditions get worse with deterioration of infrastructure in the nation’s capital city

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Exorbitant rent
For too long, civil servants working in Abuja have been passing through traumatic stress moving from their residences on the outskirts of Abuja to their offices within the capital city. Due to high rents charged by landlords within the municipality, many civil servants have to seek alternative accommodation outside the city. A good number of civil servants live as far away as Suleja, in neighbouring Niger state, Masaka in Nasarawa state and many other slums along Keffi – Abuja Road, Abuja – Lokoja Road, as well as Kaduna-Abuja Road.


As early as 5am, civil servants from the neighbouring states cram buses and swarm into Abuja heading for their various places of work. In the evenings too, they scramble for buses and taxis to get back to their respective homes after the day’s work. Some civil servants who spoke with to Blueprint revealed that majority of civil servants have been dying in silence.
Okeke Uche, a staff of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, said his salary is about N70, 000 per month and as a result he had to secure accommodation in Mararaba at the rate of N 170,000, for a bedroom flat.

Struggle to board bus
According to him, “I spend more than an hour waiting for a bus in the morning, even when we eventually get a bus, valuable items like handset, money and important documents get missing, as a result of the struggle to board the bus”.
Mararaba is one of the slums in the outskirts of Nasarawa state bordering the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. After the demolishing exercise of 2003 and 2004 carried out by then Minister of FCT, Malam Nasir el-Ruiai, most of the affected persons sought refuge in a place like Mararaba and environs. Mararaba is always in chaos with bad roads, very poor sanitary condition couple with overcrowding and congestion. Even, criminals and hoodlums have taken advantage of the over population of Mararaba to make life miserable for residents.
Okeke suggested that government should construct houses according to individual level, civil servant salary should be increased and the government should increase the number of mass transit vehicles on the roads.
Similarly, Saliha Gutus, said the cost of living in the city is extremely high as a result she stays in ‘one man’ village in Nasarawa state.

Decentralise ministries
“I have never gotten home before 9:pm due to hold up.” She stated that her entire salary goes to pay house rent; and always wakes up early to avoid the traffic hold up.
She suggested that government should decentralize the offices so that those staying in far place like Gwagwalada will find it easy to get to their offices on time.
She was of the opinion that if government could build houses like storey buildings in some places and give it out to people to pay on monthly basis, it would solve the stress of waking up early in the morning.
Likewise, Roselyn Yusuf Abdu, who works in the office of Head of Service, while commenting on the pathetic condition of civil servants said, she always wakes up as early as 4am to enable her get to her place of work, stating that sometimes, she gets late to the office due to the long queue waiting to board mass transit buses because it is one of the cheapest mode of transportation. “I spend up to three hours at times before I would get to my office as a result of traffic hold up on the road” she said.

Living from hand-to-mouth
Jombo James, who works in the Ministry of Transportation as a driver bared his mind, saying he and his family are ‘ living from hand to mouth due to his poor salary’. He added that corruption had eaten deep into the fabric of government and that civil servants would continue to suffer.
“There’s no government policy right now for construction of low cost house for low income earners. So, it is clear that the problem will persist for a long time, but prayed for the better”. He maintained.
He said instead of building affordable houses in places like Jabi, Karimo, Karu and Nyanya, where houses were demolished years back, government has shared the plots among top government officials. “There is no way low income earners can live within the city, of Abuja,“ he lamented.
Gloria Peter, while expressing her feelings in the same vain said, she spends one hour to get a vehicle, at the bus stop. “I stay in Mararaba because I can’t afford the house rent in the city.
“Some of us leave our offices by 3pm instead of 4pm in order to avoid the hold-up in the evenings and increment in transportation fare” she added that the income gap between the rich and the poor is widening every day. The truth of the matter is that, many people migrate every day in large numbers to settle in places like Mararaba, Suleja and other slums due to high cost of living and this has aggravated traffic congestion on the road”.

Build subsidised houses
She strongly believes that, the problem of civil servants would be surmounted If the government can build houses and subsidize them, adding that the government should help to increase the salary of civil servants which is now over due
Living conditions have continued to deteriorate on a daily basis with the devaluation of the naira without an equivalent increase in salaries and incomes. Since the early eighties the value, of the naira has continued to decline reducing the purchasing power of the average Nigerian while government has continual to remove fuel subsidy.

Lugbe, Gwarimpa houses no-go area
In Nigeria there is no social housing and majority of Nigerians have to seek any form of accommodation anywhere. There exist a Federal Housing Authority (FHA) that gets allocation of billions of naira every year to build houses for Nigerians; however the authority ends up building houses for only the super-rich. The Federal Housing Estate in Lugbe is supposed to be a low income estate meant for junior and intermediate staff but the cheapest house on the estate costs N 3.5 million, while rents is upwards of N500,000. Gwarimpa is a no go area for the honest Nigerian as houses on the estate sell for as much as N 22 million and rents are upwards of N 1 million and above.

Facing economic realities
The fact of the matter is that there is no affordable housing in Abuja. While civil servants are battling to cope with the challenges posed by the economy, the level of poverty in society has placed another burden on them coming from the extended family. Most Nigerians in the rural areas believe Abuja is a place of delight for everybody living there and as such believe all civil servants are living big while, in reality they are battling to cope with economic realities.

School fees in Abuja
School fees in Abuja are also on the high side with some schools charging as much as N300, 000 per term. Due to the high population density, “most residents cannot secure places for their children in the more affordable public schools and have to send their children to private schools where they have to pay exorbitant fees.
There urgent need for the Federal Capital Territory Administration to designate the area council as settlements for the low income groups and provide the necessary infrastructure and facilities for residents living in such areas. The administration of FCT should take drastic steps and do the needful to ameliorate the plight of FCT residents and workers.

NICE Worried Over Non-Implementation Of Masterplans

The Chairman, Abuja chapter of Nigeria Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE), Engr. Ben Ossy Oko has stated that the greatest challenge with Nigeria is non-compliance to the master plan particularly in Abuja. In a chat with Housing News  in Abuja, he noted that Abuja is the only city in Nigeria that was designed before government started providing infrastructures.

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He maintained that Cambera, the capital of Australia was the first capital city in the world that was designed before building infrastructure followed by Brazilia, the capital of Brazil and the third Abuja. “If you visit these cities, you will see the way they have been able to follow the implementation of the master plan but in Nigeria, reverse is the case”.

Oko stated that NICE has been providing support and professional guidance to the government given that 80 percent of development in Abuja was carried out by civil engineers. He lamented that the sprawling slum settlements in the city was due to the increasing population at the centre and economic downturn that affected the provision of infrastructure This he said energised residents to seek alternative ways of habitation.

“From the Abuja master plan, we are not supposed to have soakaways, electric poles or build houses anywhere without the presence of infrastructure but today; if you visit places like Kuje, Lugbe, Nyanya, Gwagwalada, you will notice the absence of infrastructure”.

The chairman pointed out that government had in the past built mass housing to control illegal settlements as seen in places like Apo and Pegi. Oko disclosed that their job as a professional body is to advise the government on best ways to reduce slums which is to channel resources towards speedy development of the city. He further pleaded with federal government to develop alternative means of transportation by investing heavily on railways instead of constructing many roads.

“If we have functional railway system in Abuja, somebody living in Kaduna, Keffi, Abaji doesn’t need to live in the city centre. All they need to do is to enter the train in the morning to the city and when they closes for the day, they will enter similar train back home which is what is applicable in every part of the world”. Oko was optimistic that the institution would continue to advocate for increased alternative means of transportation adding that their job as professional engineers is to advise government on people oriented policies.

Nigerian Govt. To Boost Land Registries With Establishment Of National Land Depository

The Federal Government has said that plans were on ground to establish National Land Depository, a huge ICT-backed infrastructure, to enable land investment and integration of various registries in Nigeria.

The Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday at the 25th Annual Conference of Directors of Lands in Federal and State Ministries, Department and Agencies.

Fashola, represented by Minister of State II, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri, noted that the land depository would enable prospective investors to make quick decisions regarding property investment prospect in the country.

The minister also said that the ministry was working assiduously to strengthen the Federal Land Registry for online transactions in line with global best practice.

“The results of some of these reforms of the Federal Government in this and other respects are responsible for the improvement of the country’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) ranking,’’ he said.

He recalled that with effect from January 1, 2017, Exchange of Letters (EOL) had become the sole instrument of transfer of interests in land between the Federal and State Governments that have not.

“I will implore you to key in and forward the EOL document to the ministry for execution and return for other processes.’’

Fashola also noted that the implementation of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPAS) had commenced in Nigeria.

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‘’IPAS is a new accounting reporting standard, approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2010 with January. 1, 2016, the commencement date is targeted at full and transparent disclosure of government financial records.

“As the repository and managers of these public assets, you have major professional role to play in their inventorisation and valuation.’’

The minister assured that the ministry had processed over 1,500 secondary transactions on Federal Government lands nationwide, adding that they had been impacting on the economy.

According to the minister, the ministry is also working hard to title over 2,000 lands, thus empowering the holders to raise investible funds to establish new and grow existing businesses.

He noted that property registration was one of the 13 criteria set by the World Bank for determining the competitiveness to investors.

Fashola stressed the need for concerted effort, to ensure modernised land registry and improve on the country’s EODB ranking which measured its competitiveness to investors.

In a keynote address, Rev. Olurotimi Onabanjo, the Chairman of the conference, said the National Land Policy was formatted in 2014 to provide framework for organised and sustainable deployment of land.

He emphasised that the document had attained advanced stage, adding that it would soon be reviewed, tested and validated by stakeholders, including the director’s forum.

Speaking on Land Use Act, he noted that effort to overcome inherent operational complexities and lapses in the act had proved difficult to amend, due to the cumbersome requirement of 1999 Constitution.

He noted that a compendium of regulations that would facilitate and improve land administration was developed by the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform (PTCLR) in 2012 with the support of stakeholders.

“The regulations were recently approved by the National Economic Council and would soon be presented to FEC for approval by the National Council of States,’’ he said.

He said the conference, aimed at improving land administration in Nigeria, was held last in Ilorin in 2008 due to no budget line.

Onabanjo said that the break was also due to funding constraints which inhibited the Federal and state governments which had earlier committed to the conference.

“The 10-year break has inflicted tremendous setback on the conference and numerous capacity and skills building benefits accruable.’’

The Two-day conference with the theme “Effective Land Governance for National Economic Growth and Development ’’ is a peer review platform to develop requisite skills for effective management of public lands.

Low-cost housing needs dignity, says Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi

Fresh from scooping architecture’s most august award, the champion of housing for the poor is urging greater compassion
The winner of architecture’s “Nobel prize”, Balkrishna Doshi, has called on his profession to rethink the way it approaches building for the most impoverished communities.

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The internationally noted champion of housing for India’s poor, Doshi was awarded the Pritzker prize last week, in large part for the Aranya low-cost housing project. It accommodates 80,000 people with houses and courtyards linked by a maze of pathways in the city of Indore.

A celebrity in India where he speaks to packed lectures, 90-year-old Doshi, who studied under Le Corbusier, has worked on other projects – including mixed-income housing for a life insurance corporation in Ahmedabad and the underground Amdavad ni Gufa art gallery – but it is Aranya for which he is best known.

Speaking to the Housing news after the announcement of his award, Doshi said that architects and urban planners involved in low-income housing projects – as well as architectural education – needed to move away from their focus on the designer as individual to being far more collaborative, compassionate and invested in the dignity of those they house.

And in the chequered history of slum clearance and relocation – including in the US after Roosevelt’s New Deal , and in countries like France and the UK in the post-war era – Doshi’s Aranya stands out as a success story in a country with substantial and persisting housing issues for its poorest citizens.
“They are not houses but homes where a happy community lives. That is what finally matters,” Doshi has said in the past of the organising credo for this project.

Doshi believes that a large part of Aranya’s success has been because instead of presenting those who would live there – often in a purpose-built house for the first time – with a ready-made design, the development allows residents the space and opportunity to adapt and improve their homes.

Built around a central spine to accommodate businesses, Doshi’s brick houses – in sizes from a single room to larger homes for wealthier families – were designed around parks and courtyards, with groups of ten houses forming inward-looking clusters.

Beyond aesthetics, Doshi argued that architecture and urban design – done right – can and should be socially transformative for the world’s poorest.

“If you empower people then what happens is that it creates incentives for people that are self-generated. The promise of a home is not a limited hope, but the sky becomes the limit.”

If at times Doshi speaks more like a humanist philosopher than a designer, it is an outlook that was explicitly recognised by the prize committee that “projects must go beyond the functional to connect with the human spirit through poetic and philosophical underpinnings”.

“Housing as shelter is but one aspect of these projects,” the Pritzker jury added in its citation.

“The entire planning of the community, the scale, the creation of public, semi-public and private spaces are a testament to his understanding of how cities work and the importance of the urban design.”

Echoing that theme, Doshi added: “As architects we are supposed to be social, economic and cultural designers. But really we are exclusive when we need to be inclusive.”

“If I as an architect am not able to do something for my people and provide them with what they need, then I should say my job is incomplete.”

For Doshi that has not only meant designing places like Aranya to replace slum housing but to have the curiosity and humility to learn from slums, not least how and why a successful sense of community coalesces, even in situations of extreme hardship.
“I used take students to slum areas. When you talk to the people living there they are lot more open and willing to share and modify because the human being is basically a compassionate animal.

“In Bombay,” he added, “we have a large slum near the airport. When we were studying you could see that besides the situation of living there in absolute misery, people were also willing to challenge themselves to find a better way of life, and seeking to overcome the problems.”

The balance, for Doshi, is a subtle combination of factors including access to the “essentials” of life – shops, cafes and places to do business – with the housing maintaining crucial “privacies” while leaving room for cooperative communities to develop through their own negotiations.

“That means borders that are diffuse. What you need to find is how to create not separations but buffer zones, places where there is room for variation.” Doshi said he found such models in Indian temples and old cities.

“You want slight shifts – to create gaps – because architecture is not mechanical.”

Instead Doshi sees communities and the physical places that they live as “organic” and “messy” and inevitably adapting what the architect has designed.

Commenting on the importance of the award for India, Alok Ranjan, Jaipur-based professor and member of the Indian Institute of Architects, told AFP last week: “This is very good news for Indian architects because he is our godfather. We are very proud.

“What stands out about his work is that it is for all strata of society … not only for the elite but also for the middle- and low-income groups.”

Work with EFCC, ICPC, CCB to curtail corruption in built industry, FG tells QSRBN

By Chris Ochayi

Disturbed by high cost of projects occasioned by corrupt activities in the built environment, the Federal Government has asked the Quantity Surveyors’ Registration Board of Nigeria, QSRBN, to work closely with the country’s anti-graft agencies such as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, and Code of Conduct Bureau CCB, in order to curb the menace of corruption in the construction industry.

Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, who gave the charge during the 2018 annual assembly of registered quantity surveyors and induction of newly registered quantity surveyors and practising firms, expressed concerns over rising incidents of corrupt practices in the sector. Fashola said: “I therefore urge your Board to work closely with anti-corruption agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, among others to tame the menace of corruption in the construction industry.”

He said that the Federal Government is waging a fierce war against corruption in all aspects of our national life and will always encourage partnership with bodies such as the QSRBN, adding that to win this battle, “I encourage you to continue to put the fight against corruption in the front burner of your activities until desired milestone of success is met.” According to the minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mohammad Bukar, “Ethics is a major challenge to professionalism in Nigeria. Therefore, in regulating your profession, the Quantity Registration Board of Nigeria, QSRBN, should strive to maintain the highest standard of professional ethics among quantity surveyors.

“The Board must not hesitate to blacklist any quantity surveyor found wanting in this regard. Another area deserving urgent attention of your Board is the menace posed by activities of quacks. Quacks inflict much damage on the economy. They are not qualified and are unregistered.

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They do not subscribe to any professional ethics and codes of conduct, hence their unscrupulous activities. “Construction project costing and estimation is of course in the domain of quantity surveyors. It is therefore, illegal for any person not so trained and registered by the Board to offer such professional services to government either for remuneration or otherwise. Quantity surveyors have a major role in helping government to achieve value-for-money in the procurement of capital goods, works and services”, Fashola said. In his address, the President, QSRBN, Alhaji Murtala Aliyu, noted that the Board is better placed to drive the current administration’s corruption fight to ensure the creation of value-for-money in public procurements, adding that “If as a country, we want to be taken seriously in our procurement of public goods and services. We must involve quantity surveyors in all costing at all levels from inception to commissioning of projects”.

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