REALWorld Law

Sale and purchase

Forms of real estate ownership

What are the categories of property right that can be acquired? Are there any interests in real estate other than exclusive ownership?



Prior to the enactment of the Land Use Act, 1978 (“the Act”), land could be held under freehold ownership in Nigeria. However, the Act now vests control and administration of all land within the territory of a State in the Governor of the State. By this, freehold ownership has been abolished and converted to leasehold ownership. The Act also empowers the Governor of a State to grant rights of occupancy over lands within the State for a maximum term of 99 years. By Section 49 of the  Act, title to land can be held by the Federal Government or any of its agencies.

Private ownership of land is recognized but it is subject to the rights of the State Government or Federal Government to the reversion of the interests after the expiration of the term granted to the owner, such terms of years on expiry are renewable continuously subject to compliance with the conditions of grant and renewal imposed by the State.

Also, private ownership of land can before expiry of the term be terminated by revocation for breach of the terms of the grant or provisions of State regulations or by State acquisition where the property or land is required for public use or purposes.