Can my right of occupancy be LAWFULLY revoked?

It must be lawfully

Section 44(1) provides that:


No movable property or any interest in an immovable property shall be taken possession of compulsorily and no right or interest in any such property shall be acquired compulsorily in any part of Nigeria except in the manner and for the purposes prescribed by a law that, among other things

  • Requires the prompt payment of compensation therefore; and
  • Gives to any person claiming such compensation a right of access for the determination of his interest in the property and the amount of compensation to a court of law or tribunal or body having jurisdiction in that part of Nigeria.


The implication of the provision above is that right or interest in property is acknowledged but it subject to the power of government to compulsorily take possession or acquire in conditions specified by law while compensation must be paid.

Because the Land Use Act has vested the control and management of land on the governor of a state, such right of occupancy you have over the land can be revoked by the governor on behalf of the state where it is required for overriding public interest.

The right to property can be lost in the following ways:

  • Where possession or acquired interest in the land is compulsorily acquired as a result of the occupier or possessor occupying or possessing it in a manner contrary to the provisions of Land Use Act or without the required consent or approval provided under the Act ;
  • Where property is compulsorily acquired for overriding public purposes.


The public purposes include the following as provided under section 51 of the Land Use Act that such acquisition of land must be:

  • For exclusive Government use for general public use
  • For use by anybody corporate directly established by law or by anybody corporate registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act as respects which the Government owns shares, stocks or debentures;
  • For or in connection with sanitary improvements of any kind;
  • For obtaining control over land contiguous to any part or over land the value of which we be enhanced by the construction of any railway, road or other public work or convenience about to be undertaken or provided by the government;
  • For obtaining control over land required for or in connection with development of telecommunications or provision of electricity;
  • For obtaining control over land required for or in connection with mining purposes;
  • For obtaining control over land required for or in connection with planned urban or rural development or settlement;
  • For obtaining control over land required for or in connection with economic, industrial or agricultural development;
  • For educational and other social services.

For example where government compulsory acquired a person’s property for the purpose of expanding the cattle market was held legal and within the position of the provision of the constitution.[1]


[1] Sokoto Local Government and Others v. Alhaji Tsoho Amale & Another (2001) 12 WRN 103.