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Foreign homeownership rules

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Foreigners can obtain leases from the State for a maximum of 99 years for the use of land.

A peculiarity about purchase of property in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos, is the Consent Fee. The Land Use Act of 1978 converted all land to State Land. Therefore, land cannot be owned privately. Formally, the state government is the owner of land and therefore any change in ownership or assignment, in case of a lease, should have the consent of the Governor. The consent of the Governor of the State is needed for the assignment of title to use, occupy, and improve property with a statutory certificate. This certificate does not include rights to sell, give, or sub-let, which requires further consent from the State Governor.

Sale of real estate does not involve actual selling and purchasing. There is only the transfer of rights from one person to another. This transaction is usually called an ‘assignment’. The seller assigns the rights to use and occupy the land to the buyer. After the transaction, the buyer applies for a new (statutory) certificate under his name. In this case, the seller acts as the assigner, and the buyer is the assignee.

In sum, before purchasing, it is important to make sure that consent from the Governor is obtained for the sale. No land can be “sold” without this consent. Source: Global Property Guide

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