The scope of right to property includes movable and immovable property. Movable property includes any material objects that can be owned while the immovable property the constitution envisages here is land. It also must be noted that immovable property will also include ground beneath any object under the surface in its natural states like minerals and vegetation immediate space above the land surface. It is important to also include objects place on and under the land by humans.
Sections 43 and 44 of the 1999 constitution make provisions for the right to property in Nigeria.
Section 43 provides that:
Subject to the provisions of this constitution, every citizen of Nigeria shall have the right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria.
If a person satisfies all requirements to own or sell property in Nigeria, s/he cannot be refused and in such circumstance, he can enforce his/her right.
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Traditionally in Nigeria, land could belong to a community or family where such land devolved to individual members of such family.
If a member of such family is selling a land to you, upon due diligence, you can proceed to deal with him/or her under the supervision of your lawyer.
Where the land belongs to a family, a member of the family lacks the power to sell to you such land else you will acquire a wrong title. With the support of your lawyer, you must demand to see the head of the family and any other principal member of the family. They are the people who can validly transfer such title in land to you. If a member purportedly sells a family land to you without the consent of the head and a principal member of the family, you have not acquired a good title.
This same principle applies to the community land. The head and a principal of the community must transfer the title and must sign for and on behalf of the community.
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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.
 Sokoto Local Government and Others v. Alhaji Tsoho Amale & Another (2001) 12 WRN 103.
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Yes. You can only do this by enforcing your right in court where the compulsory acquisition of your property is for the interest of the governor, his/her families, and political associates or against public purposes. For example the court once held in the case of Ibafon Company Ltd. And Another V. Nigerian Ports Authority PLC and Others that the alienation of land compulsorily for public purposes to person who used it for private business was illegal.
Before your right of occupancy can be compulsorily acquired by the state, it must follow the conditions stated below:
Notice of acquisition must be given to the holder of the land. It can only be effectively served if
The acquisition notice is delivered to the person on whom it is to be served;
Leaving the notice at or sending via registered letter/courier to his usual or last know place of residence/address;
If the party to be served is an incorporated company or body, the notice must be served on inform of registered letter to the secretary or clerk of the company or body;
Where name or address of occupier or holder of the land cannot be ascertained after reasonable inquiry, and by delivering it to someone on the premises or affixing it or placing a copy of in in a eye-catching/noticeable part of the premises.
Manner and purpose of acquisition must also make provisions for prompt payment of adequate compensation and must also give a person claiming compensation right to appeal to a court in respect of the amount of compensation.
Kindly note, that the Governor can offer resettlement in another place in lieu of compensation. Where the value of new place is higher than the acquired property, a person can pay the excess to government in form of a loan.
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Yes. Any land or property including the territorial waters and exclusive economic zone of Nigeria containing any minerals, mineral oils and natural gas automatically belongs to the federal government of Nigeria. If initially bought by someone it must revert back to the federal government upon discovery of such mineral or gas after the expected payment of compensation for the land any improvements made on it
 Kehinde M. Mowoe, Constitutional Law in Nigeria 2008, Malthouse Law book at p. 520
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Ownership of real property is to be supported by documentary evidence. There are five documents every property in Nigeria must have. If your property does not have any of them, there is the need to discuss with a real estate consultant at your earliest convenience. They are:
Purchase receipt: A purchase receipt is a written acknowledgement of the recipient of payment for a property. It may be required as an evidence of ownership or acquisition of property in certain circumstances.
A registered Survey Plan: A Survey Plan is a diagram that describes the margin and precise dimension of a parcel of land. A surveyor is an expert who is concerned with the official assessment for evaluation and measurement of land. The survey is expected to be lodged (registered) at the Surveyor General’s office of the state in which the land is situated.
Deed of Assignment: A Deed of Assignment is a document that shows the new legal owner of the property; i.e. the property has been transferred from the buyer to the seller. It is a contract from the seller to assign the property to the buyer.
Certificate of Occupancy (C of O): The C of O is a justifiable consent from the government that the property is in your possession. It is usually issued by the land bureau of the state in which the property is situated.
Approved Building Plan: This is an endorsement to proceed with the construction or reconfiguration of a particular structure in a specific place, in accordance with the approved requirement. It is very essential that you ensure that the structure of the property corresponds with what is shown on the plans.
 Written by Ayobayo Babade and Olakunbi of Tope Babade & Co (Real Estate Consultants) as a contribution to #KnowYourRightsNigeria project
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A tenancy is a relationship in which a party (the tenant) is given exclusive possession of a property (the demised premises) by another party (the owner or landlord) for a specific period of time in exchange for a fee (rent) or for free.
The rights of a tenant include:
Right to a payment receipt and written agreement: The landlord is required by law to give the tenant a written evidence acknowledging the collection of rent from the tenant. Also, the landlord and tenant are to state in clear terms the conditions upon which the tenancy relationship shall exist as well as when and how the relationship will be terminated. A tenant is expected to request and obtain a tenancy agreement as well as read same carefully before the commencement of the tenancy.
Right to peaceful enjoyment and exclusive possession: This is the hallmark of a tenancy and distinguishes it from other types of possession of property. The landlord must give the tenant the right to use the demised premises to the exclusion of all others including the landlord except for the landlord’s right of entry for periodic checks on the property. There must however be adequate notice before the landlord’s right of entry is exercised. The modalities of same shall be stipulated in the tenancy agreement.
Right to a habitable premises: The demised premises must be one that is befitting for humans to live in. The landlord is to ensure that the building is structurally sound. Structural defects or external damages are to be promptly repaired. It is unlawful for the landlord to do things that will make the building inhabitable for the tenant like removing the roofing sheets or blocking the septic tank.
Freedom from unlawful eviction from the property: A tenant is protected by law from being arbitrarily evicted by the landlord. If the tenancy is to be brought to an end, the landlord is required by law to give the tenant a valid “Notice to Quit”. If the tenant fails to leave the demised premises after the stipulated time in the Notice to Quit, the tenant will be given a “7-days notice of owners intention to recover possession”. After the expiration of this notice and the tenant still fails to deliver up possession, the landlord has the right to take the tenant to court and the court will evict the tenant. The tenant will however be liable to pay for the period of time he stays over in the premises after being told to leave.
Freedom from unreasonable increase in rent: The law protects the tenant from unreasonable increase of rent by the landlord. The rent of the demised premises must be at par with that of similar premises in the same locality. However, the law recognises special circumstances where such increases are justified but there must be evidence showing such special circumstances.
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A landlord is the owner of a premises or the holder of the reversionary interest in the property. This means that at the expiration of every tenancy, the right to possession and ownership of the said premises goes back to the landlord. Individuals own property for a number of reasons one of which is for passive income or as an investment as such, they let such properties out to tenants in exchange of rent. The rights a landlord has include:
Right to receive rent: A landlord has the right to receive regular and periodic rent form the tenant for the use and occupation of his premises. Rents can be collected weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and annually as agreed by the landlord and tenant. However, the manner by which the rent is collected determines the period of notice to which the tenant is entitled to.
Right to reasonable periodic inspection of the demised premises: The landlord is permitted by law to enter into the demised premises to carry out routine checks on the manner in which the demised premises is being used. However, before such checks, sufficient notice has to be given to the tenant in the manner stipulated in the tenancy agreement.
Right to lawfully eject a tenant: A landlord has the right to lawfully eject a tenant whose tenancy has been determined in accordance to the Tenancy Agreement or by operation of law. To lawfully eject a tenant, the appropriate notices has to be given in accordance to the law before proceeding to the law court. It is illegal to use self-help by inviting thugs or “Area-boys” to assist in ejecting a tenant. One can be liable for the crime disruption of public peace and criminal assault among others.
Right to review rent: A landlord has the right to review his rent upward (and sometimes, in the face of economic realities like economic meltdown, downwards). Such rent reviews have to take cognizance of the prevailing rate in the area and the special circumstances of the property so that they are not viewed as arbitrary or unreasonable.
Right to compensation from compulsory acquisition: The governor of the state by virtue of the Land Use Act has the right to compulsorily acquire properties within the state for “overriding public purposes”. However, whenever such occurs, the landlord has the right to be given compensation by the state government for the unexhausted improvements he has made on the land.
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Note: the Legal Team can only respond to fundamental human rights issues.