Importance of Land Excision Gazettes for Property Transaction in Lagos
A gazette is an official record or bulletin that is periodically published by the government. In many places, government gazettes are used to publish public or legal notices. Gazettes are used capture government budgets, government employee appointments or promotions, government land acquisition and excisions, and all forms of government notices.
In simple term, a land excision gazette is a notice of release of a parcel of land to an individual, an entity or a community, by the government.
Like other types of gazettes, land gazette in Nigeria dates back to the colonial days. However, it became more popular after enactment of the Land Use Act of 1978, which made it compulsory for government to release notices of land acquisition or excision to the public. In addition, a court may direct the government to give up its right to a land, and as such, the government is compelled to release a gazette to satisfy the court ruling. A very good example of the latter was a court case (Suit No. ID/338M/01) won by one Alhaja Safuratu Abdukareem against the Lagos State Government in respect of a 29.99 and 166.321 hectare parcels of land that are located in Ayobo, Ipaja, Lagos. The Lagos State Government published a gazette to satisfy the court ruling. However, it is more common for land gazettes to be published when government willingly release parcels of land to individuals or entities.
How to Identify a Land Excision Gazette?
It’s common in some states in Nigeria for a notice of land excision to be published in a gazette with other types of government notices. But typically in certain states, a land excision gazette focus solely on release of land by the government and it contain the following format and types of information:
- A first page with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) to the top-right of the page, name of publishing entity, a publication number and volume number, the date and location of publication and a list of content stating the type of notice (i.e. Notice of Excision) and the corresponding pages the notices can be found.
- The next page will show the publication number and volume number to the top right-side of the page, and the name of the publishing entity is also placed at the top of the page. This is followed by a title that show the source of government authority for the excision (e.g. Land Use Act). Below this come a longer title that states the location and size of the land, and other relevant information.
- What come next is a schedule that provides a very brief description of the area where the excised land is located, with the name of the village or community where the land is located stated clearly. The schedule also states the size of the land and the ID number of the concrete pillar where measurements of the survey plan is initiated, including specific coordinates of the pillar. Then, this is followed by a table that lists all the beacons numbers, the bearings of the beacons and respective distance of one beacon to the next.
- Below the schedule and table noted above comes the date the gazette is authorised by the representative head of the issuing authority, as well as the name and position of individual that authorized the gazette. Typically, gazettes are authorised by state governors, state commissioners for land or town planning, state commissioners for justice, or occasionally by head of local land agencies.
A land excision gazette has become very important when buying land in Lagos. Land buyers are therefore advised to ensure that they confirm that the building or piece of land they want to purchase fall within a parcel of land that is free from government acquisition. It is very common for government to demolish buildings and properties on lands that legally belong to the government. First step is to use all the information that is available to confirm that the land or building you want to buy fall within a parcel of land that has been released by the government. You can start by using the resources on this website, and do follow-up investigation at the local land bureau. You may also hire a real estate lawyer to do these on your behalf.