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1.1      Background of the study

Real Estate is the expression most widely used in the USA and in the English Language generally to describe a form of ownership in land. Both words ‘real’ and 'estate' have their origins in English law developed in the Middle Ages. English law has no room for outright individual ownership. This was a privilege reserve to the crown (originally to William the conqueror, who acquires title to the nation in 1066 by Conquest- So often the method of acquisition in human history). The conquest was an instance for centralization, of control over lands that was by no means unique. Nor is it antiquated. The most populous country in the world, the people’s republic of China is just one present- day example of a state in which outright ownership of urban land by individual Or corporation is not recognize. State ownership of urban land was made constitutional in 1982 as part of a process of economic reform, although private ownership had virtually ceased in 1953. Real estate is not therefore ownership, in the sense that goods and personal effects, money, shares and other things (known as personal property in English law) are owned. Land is inherently different from all other classes of property in that it is given not made, fixed, and Immovable. On the other hand, real property is a term which distinguishes land from personal property; it is land and- all that is permanently attached to it. English law it includes trees and natural growing things attached, everything under and above it, and improvements in the forms buildings and other construction. Land -registration generally describes systems by which matters concerning ownership, possession or other rights in land can be recorded (usually with a government agency or department) to provide evidence of title, facilitate transactions and to prevent unlawful disposal. Although the Land Use Act of 1978 was meant to usher in a new land reform in Nigeria, it soon became a clog in the wheel of development over the years.   This was more so because the Military Government which promulgated it also ensured it was embedded in the Constitution of the country.    Thus, any attempt to rectify its inadequacies required a constitutional amendment.    There were thus many protests both to have the Act expunged from the Constitution and to amend it in very many substantial way.  It took the decision of the current President of the Federation to have land reform as one of the seven point agenda of his administration.   This paper is, therefore, divided into six parts.   The first discusses the land tenure situation before the Land Use Act of 1978.  The second reviews the Land Use Act and some of the challenges it has thrown up over the years. Land Registration Act No. 36 of 1924 is the law regulating registration of instrument in Nigeria which is enacted for the whole country adopted and re-enacted in some states under different nomenclature. The law prescribes registration of any instrument executed before or after the commencement of this law. To facilitate registration the law establishes in every state a land registry under a land registrar charged with the responsibilities of registering instruments affecting land in the state and to keep registered books and file in relation thereto. Modern methods include computerization of the whole process in addition to the use of Geographic information system (GIS) and Land Information System (LIS). These methods have helped to enhance the process/system of registration and also gives a well-defined details, measurements and design efficiency.Land registration Act, (1924) defined registrable instrument as a document affecting land whereby one party called the grantor confers, transfers, limits, charges or extinguishes in favor of another party called the grantee any right or title to the interest in land and includes a certificate of purchase, a power of Attorney under which any instrument may be excluded but does not include a will. Registrable instrument includes an estate contract, a deed of appointment or discharge of trustee containing expressly or impliedly a vesting declaration affecting any land. Therefore, it is generally agreed that a registrable instrument is a document, which transfers or creates a right, title or interest in land to or in favor of the grantee. But a will is expressly excluded from the ambit of registrable instruments. Consequently, a sales receipt, purchase receipt is not a registrable instrument if it is a mere acknowledgment of sales or payment and does not confer or transfer interest in land. A document which split portion of land, which transfer separate interest to the different individuals, is a registrable instrument. But where it does not transfer or extinguish any right in law, it is not registrable. A contract made by a person with an interest in land is registrable.


Land registration systems, involve deeds recording, and title registration. A Deed recording is a system of giving publicity to land transactions and helping to prevent concealed dealings. The act of recording a deed gives notice to the public of a claimed interest in land and establishes priority against other possible claimants to the same interest although there is usually no statutory compulsion for parties to a transaction to record their documents although it is prudent for them to do so while it is risky if they do not. It is in-view of this that the researcher intends to investigate the problem and prospect of land registration in Nigeria.


The main objective of the study is to ascertain the problem of land registration in Nigeria. But for the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following sub-objective;

i)             To ascertain the challenges of documentation process in land registration

ii)           To evaluate the relevance of land registration in town planning

iii)          To address the problem of land registration in Nigeria.

iv)         To evaluate the prospect of land registration on infrastructural development


To aid the successful completion of the study, the researcher formulated the following research hypotheses.

H0:there are no significant challenges in the documentation process of land registration in Nigeria.

H1:there are significant challenges in the documentation process of land registration in Nigeria.

H02:land registration does not have any relevance in the town planning process

H2:land registration does have relevance in the town planning process.


It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the ministry of land and town planning, as the study seek to emphasis on the benefit of land registration in the town planning process, the study also seek to enumerate on the benefit of land registration as it reduce or eliminate the risk of denial of transaction between the party (s) involved.

The study will also be of benefit to researcher who intend to embark on study in similar topic, finally the study will be of great importance to teacher, lecturers, student and the general public as the study will add to the pool of literature already available.


The scope of the study covers the problem and prospect of land registration in Nigeria. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors which militated against the scope of the study;

FINANCIAL CONSTRAINT: Finance is the key to the success of every research work and the said finance was readily unavailable on my part as at the time I was carrying out this research.

TIME CONSTRAINT:  The time stipulated for the submission of this work was obviously too short and as such was unable to visit and carried out my findings as planned for all state government in Nigeria.

AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study



Land, sometimes referred to as dry land, is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently covered by water.[1] The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occurred in land areas that support agriculturehabitat, and various natural resources. Some life forms (including terrestrial plants and terrestrial animals) have developed from predecessor species that lived in bodies of water.Areas where land meets large bodies of water are called coastal zones. The division between land and water is a fundamental concept to humans. The demarcation between land and water can vary by local jurisdiction and other factors. A maritime boundary is one example of a political demarcation. A variety of natural boundaries exist to help clearly define where water meets land. Solid rock landforms are easier to demarcate than marshy or swampy boundaries, where there is no clear point at which the land ends and a body of water has begun. Demarcation can further vary due to tides and weather

Land registration

Land registration generally describes systems by which matters concerning ownershippossession or other rights in land can be recorded (usually with a government agency or department) to provide evidence of title, facilitate transactions and to prevent unlawful disposal. The information recorded and the protection provided will vary by jurisdiction.


Prospecta probability or chance for future success, esp as based on present work or aptitude: a good job with prospects.


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

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