Many people, especially those who are about to make their first land transaction get confused when it comes to asking the right questions.

In some cases, intending investors ask questions like “where is the place?”, “Is it far?” and lots of other questions.
I’ve even had an encounter with someone who asked for the longitude and latitude of the land.

While these questions are not out of place and arise as a result of people trying to be careful so that they don’t make a financial commitment they would later regret, wouldn’t it be better if they knew the right questions to ask?

That brings us to the first question anyone intending to buy land should ask which is *“what is the status of the land?”*

See, before you buy land in Nigeria, it is very important that you know the status of the land!

Knowing the status of the land you are about to buy can save you a lot of money and unnecessary hassles.

Imagine buying a piece of land and erecting a building on it, just for the government to come some years after, and tell you to move out, with claims that your building is illegal because it is sitting on government property.

All these can be prevented if you know the status of the land you are investing in before sealing the transaction.
This brings us to Land classification

Land can be classified as either free or acquired. A parcel of land is considered free if the government has not indicated any interest whatsoever in that land.
Such land is safe to buy because the title on the land can be perfected without issues.

In most cases, such lands will either have a gazette, a C of O or a governor’s consent.

Now that you understand what it means for land to be free, you should also know that all lands that fall within areas that are designated as urban areas are under government acquisition until deemed committed or free.

There are two types of acquisition;

  1. committed acquisition and
  2. general acquisition


Committed acquisition

A parcel of land is said to be under committed acquisition when the government has indicated an intention to use that land for a specific purpose such as provision of amenities.
Such lands belong to the government and can never be available for use by individuals.

If you purchase land that is under committed acquisition, it will be impossible for you to perfect your land title and you’ll only be occupying the land until the government comes to kick you out.

General acquisition

Lands that are under “general acquisition or “global acquisition can later be confirmed ‘free’ or ‘committed’.
A land under general acquisition can become free by a process called *excision*.

Excision is a process whereby the government releases a portion of an expanse of land that is not committed”

If a parcel of land that was formerly under acquisition becomes excised, it is then considered free and becomes gazetted.

The gazette then becomes the title on the land and such land is safe to buy because a proper title can be processed on the land.

A second case where lands under general acquisition can be released is if an individual purchased a land that was under acquisition without going through an excision process.

Such lands can go through another process called “ratification” or “regularization” in which the land owner pays for the land to be ratified or regularized.

The only conditions in this case are that the land in question must not fall within a committed area and that the purpose for which the land was bought does not disrupt the original plan of the state.

Conditions for ratification may differ from state to state.

I hope by now you understand the most important question to ask when buying land in Nigeria and the kind of lands you should avoid.

If you got value from this article, please share it with others, you might just be saving someone from possible demolition in future.

What other questions do you think first time investors should ask?

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