11 Jan



Registration is the act of making a formal entry into a register. It is a safe and easy means of recording transactions on land and investigating title.

Land Instruments Registration Act 1924 mandates registration of all instruments/documents affecting land while the Registration of Titles Act mandates registration of titles affecting land in registrable districts.


Mandates registration of documents/instruments evidencing transfer of interest in land… excluding a will-Section 2. It does not register title-Coker V Oguneye. Section 14 provides that such must be registered within 6 months or 12 months of execution in Nigeria or abroad respectively. A purchase receipt is not registrable since it does not transfer interest in land- Ogunbambi V Abowaba. Although a receipt of mortgage money Marriage Acty be registrable since it operates as a surrender-135 PCL. An agreement to sell or lease is not registrable under Lagos state law. Though registrable in other states. Where the grantor is an illiterate, it should be executed in the presence of a magistrate or justice of peace who witnesses thereto-Section 4 illiterates protection law..

Section 19 provides that registration does not enhance or affect the validity of an instrument. Failure to register entails loss of priority and connotes that the instrument cannot be given in evidence to prove title-Ossai V Victor. Although it has been held in various cases (Bucknor-Maclean V Inlak, Obijuru V Ozim) that such unregistered documents can be used to prove equitable interest and payment of money. Especially where payment is coupled with movement into possession-Etajaja V Ologbo, Ogunbambi V Abowaba. It can be defeated when a bonafide purchaser for value without notice of the prior equity-Okoye V Dumez.

Under Section 16, priority is determined by date of registration rather than date of creating interest provided such interest was obtained from the rightful owner.

Invalid title cannot be validated by registration-Folashade V Duroshola.

Registration of Title Act: applies where an interest in land has been created after an area has been declared a registrable district or where a person voluntarily applies to be registered. This gives certainty to title and ensures easy and speedy inquiry into the existence of the title by merely perusing the register. Thus as was noted in Gibbs V Messer, there is no need to go behind the register to investigate history of vendor’s title.

The 2015 Registration law of Lagos State merges registration of title and instrument in Section 2. A The registrar can require interested persons to produce relevant documents, information and explanation under oath. His power does not extend to declaration of who has title to the land-Majekodunmi V Abina. He may refuse to register such instruments if they do not comply with legal requirements. E.g. in respect of family land and the members do not consent.

Compulsory registration: Section 5 mandates registration where there has been transfer of interest (conveyance, lease of not less than 40 years(Section 14), assignment of not less than 40 years) of interest located in registration district. Within 60 days else transaction is void-Johnson V Onisiwo. The court noted that the invalidation is not automatic as an extension can be granted in Onashile V Barclays Bank. The court noted in Bucknor Macklean V Inlak that registration of void title (like that vitiated by fraud or forgery) confers no estate on the registered owner except a subsequent purchaser take bona fide for value and without notice of the fraud or forgery.

Voluntary Registration: Section 6 a person who has power to sell, one who has fee simple in the land, a lessee (of not less than 5 years) can apply to be registered to that effect.

The register has 3 parts: the proprietorship register(contains details of the owner), property register (contains details of property), and charges register (details of encumberances in the land is registered).

Unregistered interest in land may be protected by registration of caution or restriction. Caution seeks to ensure that the cautioner is heard/consents before a dealing in land is registered/permitted respectively-Section 43 and 44 respectively. A restriction is a friendly entry which seeks to prevent registration of a dealing in land until specified requirements are met.


Title conferred is not absolute. According to Section 48(1,2,3 and 4):

  • It shall not confer any right to minerals on that land
  • The estate of the registered owner is subject to registered charges or incumbrances.
  • Any unregistered estates created by himself or arising by reason of his fiduciary relationship to any person or protected by a caution or restriction or other notice, note or entry.
  • Any estate adverse to his right capable of arising at the date of first registration.
  • Where he is a registered owner having not purchased for value, he is subject to unregistered estate affecting the estate of the previous registered owner through whom he derives his title.

Section 53 provides that registration obtained by a forged or unregistered disposition is void. However, where a purchaser for value from such owner is protected under Section 53(2)-Yusufu V Ojo, the court noted that value here includes marriage, money as well as money’s worth. In Assaf V Fuwa, the court noted that first in time would prevail except the claimant can show that the owner of the legal estate has either declared an express trust of the legal estate in his favour or conveyed it to him or had lodged title deeds with him. It has been noted in Lababedi V Lagos Metal Industries ltd that Section 53(2) should not be used as an engine of fraud. In this case, the Supreme Court held that fraud or forgery invalidated title and subsequent purchasers acquired noting notwithstanding that they gave value or acted innocently following the nemo dat quad non habet. However, in Banire V Balogun, the court held that Section 53(2) on its literal construction offers protection to bonafide purchaser for value with defective title.

Rectification of the register

Section 61 makes rectification possible where the court orders so or where the registrar or the court is of the opinion that any entry in the register has been obtained by fraud. Any person that has suffered a loss as a result of rectification is entitled to compensation except he has substantially contributed to the mistake, fraud or omission that necessitated the rectification.

Section 48 of the LUA recognised the importance of registration subject to modification as would bring the laws in conformity with the Act or its general intendment. C of O issued by the governor under Section 9 is not title in itself it merely evidences title. Governor’s consent should be gotten for a document sought to be registered. The expression of fee simple under the registration laws shall be replaced with right of occupancy… sublease shall replace lease. Transactions relating to pre-land use Act registered titles are still governed by the registration of titles law as registration of new title ceased with the introduction of the lua vis a vis the certificate of occupancy.


Quite eccentric really

Leave a Reply