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In my last article sales of family land in Nigeria), I made it clear that alienation of title to a family land without the consent of the family head will make such transfer of title null and void and of no effect. However, do you wonder what would happen if the family head transfers or alienate title of a family land to another without the consent of the principal members of the family?

Sales of family land by the family head without the consent of the principal members of the family will make such sale voidable and not void. A voidable and a void contract do not mean the same thing, but it is very usual that people get confused on what a void and voidable contract is.

A Void Contract is a contract that cannot be enforceable, but a Voidable Contract is a contract in which one party has the right to enforce the contract. Voidable in this sense means the contract is not null and void and will pass as a legal act if no one challenges such act, while void contract is a contract that has been void from the beginning (the case of selling a family land without the consent of the family head).

This means that, where a land has been sold by the family head without the consent of principal members, such aggrieved member, even when such member is not a principal member can raise an action in court to set aside the sale of such family land done without proper consent. The court can then make such sale a void one that will be non-enforceable.

However, any sale of  family land must be with the consent of the larger family. When bringing a claim to the court, the family head must be well established to make a sale of family land by a family head done without proper consent of other family members void.

In JAMES OLOWOYO vs OJO (2012) ALL FWLR (PT. 628). The court dismissed the plaintiffs claim on the ground that he failed to establish his headship of the family whose sale of land he was challenging.
For further assistance, explanation, or consultation on this subject matter or any other land/property related issues, do not hesitate to contact me via or Call 08034869295. You can also email me on whatever question you have on land/property law and anything relating to it.   CLICK to read previous article on family land

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