Before the Land Use Act of 1978, all lands belonged to the customary landowners under native law and custom. These landowners cultivated and exercised full rights over their lands without any disturbance, however the government was unable to acquire lands freely for public interest whenever required without having to deal with stubborn landowners.
As a result of this painstaking issue the then military government enacted the Land Use Decree of 1978 now known as the Land Use Act of 1978 vesting all lands in every state in the governor of that state. This Act successfully diminished the influence of the customary landowners by granting the governor of the state enormous power over all lands in the state, the landowners now require the consent of the state governor to allow them have total control over their farmlands. The significance of the Act is that all lands became government acquired hence any individual or entity with an interest in any land shall apply to Governor for a right to use the land for a specific term and for a specific purpose. It stopped individuals from owning land in perpetuity as common before the advent of the Act.
WHAT IS A GOVERNMENT BARRED LAND?
Having discussed briefly the origin and the significance of the Land Use Act, it is safe to say that government barred lands are lands that at the time of purchase still falls within government acquisition. These types of lands are very common in Ibeju-Lekki/ Epe axis due to the high rate of government presence in those areas. There are two types of government acquisition, these are;
- Non-committed government acquisition: these types of lands fall within government acquisition however they are not committed. What this simply means is that the government does not have that land earmarked for a particular purpose, this kind of lands can be purchased but the buyer must proceed to ratify his title with the Lagos state government.
- Committed government acquisition: this is a direct opposite of the aforementioned. These types of land have been earmarked by the government for a particular purpose hence it’s a no go area as it is certain that the government shall someday come to reclaim that land. These kinds of lands are completely prohibited from individual acquisition.
HOW TO DETECT A GOVERNMENT BARRED LAND
Detection of a government acquired land requires the services of a land verification expert. Some fraudulent sellers try to deceive prospective buyers by giving the coordinates of a different land and ask them to go verify those coordinates at the office of the Surveyor General. It is important to note that as a prospective buyer you must ensure you don’t rely on coordinates given to you by a seller as it is oftentimes very inaccurate.
A land verification expert will proceed to the site for inspection and conduct thorough investigation afterwards he will be able to confirm the status of the land. The need to always employ the services of experts and professionals cannot be overemphasized. It is pertinent to note that investigation must be done before purchase, people make the mistake of purchasing before verifying the status of the land, this is very much wrong as it puts you in a very precarious situation on discovery that you have purchased a bad land.
Verification before purchase remains the watchword in the real estate market.
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