Here are some things to consider before you buy any piece of land in Nigeria.

1. Due Diligence /Investigation

It is crucial to engage the services of a legal professional to carry out investigation at the land registry and surveyor-general's office to verify if the co-ordinates have not been flown (falsifying the survey plan by doctoring co-ordinates to read as free from all encumbrance whilst property falls within a government committed land) or if you're buying from the natives (Omoniles) make sure you are dealing with the principal/accredited members of the family.

The property should be investigated. It is important to conduct a search and be sure that the property is free from all sorts of encumbrances. This is crucial as one may actually be entitled to sell but be unaware that the property in question is subject of litigation in court, has been used as collateral to secure a loan, a charge or mortgaged or as the case may also be, be committed (site for a government scheme or project).

2. Documentations

Ensure that the transaction is captured by way of deed of assignment or grant or contract of sale. Do not drop documents to pick up later when dealing with the natives as you cannot tell if they were duly signed/executed by the accredited members of the family, or if they were actually carried along through out the transaction. A registered surveyor must also perform a survey exercise on the said parcel and duly lodge a record copy at the surveyor general's office.

3. Title Perfection

In securing your purchased property, perfecting the transaction is essential and should entail applying for the governor's consent or Certificate of Occupancy at the relevant authority. And when the governor's consent is obtained, it is advisable to register your title documents at the lands registry.

The combined effect of this is that in case of adverse claimants, the "first in time" rule applies. Simply, where there are contesting claims to same property, the court awards ownership to whoever registered first in the lands registry. Again a non-registered document could be rendered inadmissible in court as evidence of a transaction.

4. Take Possession

Most importantly, take possession of your property. Possession in law is nine-tenth of ownership. You must exercise acts of ownership to ward off trespassers. Acts such as cultivating, building, fences etc. are not enough. Possession must be physical. I always advise that you build a little boy's quarters and keep a tenant on the property if you lack the funds to develop your bare land. If you have dealt with the natives (Omoniles) and you are not in physical possession, then prepare to be relocated or to be re-allocated another plot that is either far off from the major road or also belongs to another person.

So count your costs before buying that land.If you haven't got the funds to secure your investments, then DO NOT PURCHASE THAT LAND.