C of O vs GAZETTE
When it comes to landed property purchase, one aspect that should not be overlooked is the title documentation which is simply a means of laying claim to ownership of land as well as in any land/landed properties’ transactions. In Nigeria, various land documents associated with real estate exist following the enactment of the land use act. However, reviews from leaders in the industry show strong preference towards excised and gazette properties over the highly acclaimed certificate of occupancy.
You might want to ask why?
The certificate of occupancy is a title document used to certify the legal and ownership status of any land in Nigeria irrespective of its usage. It is a legal document indicating that an owner of a land has been granted statutory right of occupancy by the executive governor of the state where the land situates or a customary right of occupancy by the local government chairman if the land is in a rural area. Right of occupancy is a right to use and occupy land within an approved government layout in accordance with the provisions of the Land Use Act. This is not to be confused with ownership of land therefore a certificate of occupancy is a document that shows the individual disclosed is entitled to the right of occupancy. While this is fantastic, the right is for a maximum of 99 years for residential purpose and from 35 to 70 years for other uses depending on value of improvements
So what happens after the duration? Guess we find out after
Government on the other hand, recognizes the right of indigenes as original owners of lands now under its control therefore releases a part to the community. An excision is taking a part from a whole and the excised part will be documented in the official government gazette of that state which means, a gazette is simply a paper publication to the effect of an excision, an official book where all special government details are spelt out, and recorded. It shows the communities that have been granted excision, the number of acres or hectares of land that the government has given to them within which the traditional family is entitled to sell to the public. Anything outside the excised land is under acquisition by the government and could be seized without compensation even when bought legitimately. Again, the government must compensate buyers in cases of reacquisition of excised plots.
A gazette is therefore a very powerful instrument the community owns and can replace a Certificate of Occupancy to grant title to the villagers without expiration.