ACQUIRED / BARRED LANDS IN LAGOS
Prior to the passage of the Land Use Act of 1978, all land belonged to customary landowners under native law and tradition. These landowners cultivated and exercised their full rights over their lands without any interference; however, the government was unable to acquire lands for the public interest without having to negotiate with obstinate landowners.
As a result of this arduous issue, the then-military government enacted the Land Use Decree of 1978, now known as the Land Use Act of 1978, vesting all land in each state in its governor. This Act successfully diminished the influence of customary landowners by granting the governor of the state enormous power over all lands in the state; landowners now require the consent of the governor of the state in order to exercise complete control over their farmlands.
The significance of the Act is that all land was acquired by the government; therefore, any individual or entity with an interest in land must apply to the Governor for a right to use the land for a specific term and purpose. It prevented individuals from owning land forever, as was common prior to the Act.
WHAT IS A LAND BARRED BY THE GOVERNMENT?
Having briefly discussed the origin and significance of the Land Use Act, it is safe to say that government barred lands are those that, at the time of acquisition, are still subject to government acquisition.
Due to the high rate of government presence in Ibeju-Lekki/Epe axis, these types of land are very prevalent. There are two distinct types of government acquisition. These types of lands fall under the category of government acquisition, but they are not committed. This simply indicates that the government has not designated the land for a specific purpose; such land can be purchased, but the purchaser must ratify his title with the Lagos state government. Committed government acquisition is the exact opposite of the preceding statement. These types of land have been designated by the government for a specific purpose; therefore, they are off-limits because the government will inevitably return to reclaim them. These types of land are completely off-limits to private ownership.
HOW TO DETECT PROHIBITED GOVERNMENT LAND
An expert in land verification is necessary for detecting government-owned land.
Some fraudulent vendors attempt to deceive prospective purchasers by providing the coordinates of a different piece of land and requesting that the purchasers verify these coordinates at the Surveyor General’s office. Importantly, as a prospective purchaser, you should not rely on the coordinates provided by the vendor, as they are frequently inaccurate. An expert in land verification will visit the site for an inspection and conduct exhaustive research in order to determine the land’s status. It cannot be overemphasized how important it is to always employ the services of experts and professionals. It is important to note that investigation must be conducted prior to purchase. Many individuals make the grave error of purchasing land without first verifying its status, which puts them in a very precarious position if they discover they have purchased a bad piece of property. In the real estate market, verification prior to purchase is still the norm.