For something that cannot be hidden in a “safe place”, stolen, very tangible, and visible like LAND. What rights give an individual/corporation claim over a portion of land for themselves and upgrade to a “landlord status ?”

The only way to become a landlord without feeling like a fraud is by having a government issued document in your name.

There are 7 main Land title documents issued and recognized by the Government of Nigeria.



This is the most popular and valuable land title document in Nigeria, Because it is issued by the state government, so valuable it can serve as collateral for getting loans from banks,

A Certificate of Occupancy, also known as the C of O is a document issued by state governments in Nigeria to landowners and property buyers as a legitimate proof of ownership According to the Land Use Act of 1978… This document also spells out what the land can be used for; residential, commercial, or mixed development.

DID YOU KNOW: with the CofO you do not actually “own” the land you are rather “Leased” by the State government for 99 years. Luckily since the Land Use Act was passed in 1978, There has been no need for anyone to experience the 99 years renewal clause because it’s until 2077 before the first case of renewal will apply 


Deed of Assignment or Deed of Conveyance is used in sales transactions to permanently transfer a landed property from the seller to the buyer.

In other words, a Deed of Assignment is an Agreement between the Seller of a Land or Property and a Buyer of that Land or property showing evidence that the Seller has transferred all his rights, his title, his interest, and ownership of said land/property to the “buyer” that has just paid for the land.


A deed of lease is a contract that outlines the terms of one party agreeing to lease property owned by the other party.

The use of Deed of Lease was quite common from the passage of the Land Use Act in 1978 to transfer property especially government property in the Ikoyi, Surulere, Victoria Island Axis from 1978 to the Middle 1980s. These lands were mostly federal government lands and high profile lands and it was the first foray into the issuance of the certificate of occupancies for the first time to people.

If you see any deed of lease today in respect of buying properties, it should be the old colonial properties in the 1950’s down to the 1980s and is no longer fashionable today in transferring property.

Another way you can see it today is if you are buying land, house, or property directly from the government and it is issuing you the certificate of Occupancy Directly, then the Deed of Lease will be in perfect order.


Gazette is an Official record book where all special government details are spelt out, detailed and recorded.

A Gazette is a very powerful instrument the community owns and can replace a Certificate of Occupancy to grant title to the Villagers. A community owning a gazette can only sell lands to an individual within those lands that have been excised to them and the community or family head of that land has the right to sign your documents for you if you purchase lands within those excised acres or hectares of land.

The document will show the communities or villages that have been granted excision and the number of acres or hectares of land that the government has given to them. It is within those excised acres or hectares that the traditional family is entitled to sell to the public and not anything outside those hectares /acres. If they decide to sell anything outside the excised land, then that land may fall under acquisition by the government.


By law in Nigeria, lands are under the control of State‚Äôs governors. However, historically before the introduction of Land Use Act of 1978, lands in Nigeria were mostly under the control of communities and traditional families. The Land Use Act, therefore, put lands directly under the authority of State Governors, who can also release portions of these lands back to historic land owners with proven records and history of ownership. Land excision is a mechanism through which State governments releases portions of lands to the indigenous holders or settlers through procedures and processes that are recognized by law.  The process of land excision is a way of compensating the original land owners after government acquisition of land with the coming of the Land Use Act. So, when a land has been excised, it means that the grantees have full authority over the land and can do as they wish within the confine of local laws and regulations. The release of these lands to the original holders is captured in a legal government notice or publication that is officially known as a gazette. For this reason, it is much easier to process the Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) on a land with an excision that is recorded in a land excision gazette.

Deed of Mortgage.

Deed of mortgage is used in mortgage transactions to show that land or property has been transferred from the borrower also know as the “mortgagor” to the Lender also called “mortgagee”. It is a temporary transfer in the sense that the Borrower shall be entitled to retrieve this property back from the lender when the total loan amount, together with the accrued interest, has been paid.


A survey plan is used to show the location and size of landed property. With the descriptions and coordinates on the survey document, it is easier to check or search from the office of the Surveyor-General whether the land is actually under any government acquisition or not.


Although there are other types of land title documents in Nigeria, that’s been used in property transactions. Above is a compilation of some of the most important ones.

Many people have fallen prey to fraudulent land title documents, the number one rule to buying land for sale in Nigeria is to do your due diligence and doing proper research on the property. Before buying lands for sale in Nigeria, be sure to verify the authenticity of the documents with relevant government bodies.

A land with a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) in Lagos, for example, can be verified by taking the C of O number to the land registry at Alausa to confirm if the C of O is in their database and ask them to print it out for you to do a comparison with the one you have. You can go the extra mile by asking to see and retrieve the original copy of the C of O that was uploaded into their database.

Thank you for reading. Do you know any other Nigerian land title documents or questions about land title documents in Nigeria? kindly share below in the comment section.


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