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BEFORE YOU GET DUPED. A MUST KNOW!!! Government Acquisition of Land [1]


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I am sure it has crossed the minds of many “what if I have fulfilled all terms and conditions conferred in the Lagos State Land registration law and my land is government acquisition free. Is it still legal for the government to compulsorily acquire my land?”

You should know that section (1) of the land use act 1978 vests all lands that are in the territory of each state in the federation to the governors to be held in trust and administered for the use and common good and benefits of all Nigerians. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all governors of various states in Nigeria to lease to persons interested.

The implication of this statement is that the people in Nigeria do not own land but leases these lands from the government. From this point of view, no individual is the original land owner of a land but the government and that is why the government issue out “certificate of occupancy” and not “certificate of ownership” the simple explanation to this is there are no land owners in Nigeria just land occupiers. That is also why even after a person buys a land the person still pays rent for the land (section 5[1c]).

The governor has the power to grant right of occupancy and also revoke right of occupancy if certain terms and conditions are not met. See (section 5) of the land use Act. The Governor also has the power to compulsory acquire or demolish or take over any land in the state. These rights were conferred on the government through the Nigerian constitution 1999(as amended). I know it seems like the government have supremacy over all lands (relax……. don’t jump into conclusions) and yes there are limits to these powers.

When you read the constitution further, section (44[1]) of the same constitution provides that no property shall be compulsory taken except by the purpose stated by law. This means that a governor of a state cannot acquire a land if the purpose of acquiring such land has not been stated by relevant laws.

Check back again for the conditions where compulsory acquisition of land is permissible by the constitution.

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