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A contract of sale of land is the first stage in a conveyancing
transaction by which the purchase acquires equitable interest on the
property and legal interest in acquired later at the completion stage.
Unfortunately, this important stage in conveyancing is usually ignored
The parties must have capacity; there must be an offer, an
acceptance, a consideration an intention to enter into a legally binding
relationship, in addition to the above, the special nature of the
commodity on sale makes the sale of land to be regulated very closely
by common law, the general principles of equity. Customary law, and
statutes. Conveyancing is a generic property or interest in real property
from one party to another.
Sale or contract for sale of land is a major part of property law
practice in Nigeria. In the process, interest in land is transferred from a
party to another, it is not just a mere agreement to purchase such land
or the payment of price, but a complete procedure which has to be
followed such as, the agreement to transfer interest in land, agreement
and the payment of agreed price.
The Collens Gem English Dictionary defines contract as “The
entering into agreement formal document recording agreement or
agreement enforceable by law1”.
In Nigeria there are two clear and distinct ways in which land is
sold and title validly transferred following a sale.
(a)Through customary law or,
(b)Through received English law.
The two ways are distinct and mutually exclusive and it is important for
a party claiming title to kind to show clearly, carefully, and fully the
nature of the sale transaction in order to establish the applicable law to
the transaction2 While a valid sale of land under customary law does not require a conveyance as
obtained under English law,3 a valid transfer or sale under English law requires payment of the money or
consideration, acknowledgement of the money or consideration, acknowledgement of receipt of purchase
money and execution of deed of conveyance in favour of the purchaser 4
1 Black, H.C., Black’s Law Dictionary (6th Ed.) St. Paulminn: Wesr Publishing Co., 1990 2 Onafowokan v. Shopitan (2009) All FWLR pt 450 p. 685 p.703
3 See Elema v. Akenzua (2000) 6 SCNJ 226 at p. 237 4 Onafowokan v. Shopitan supra
The principal statute on the formation of contract of sale of land is
You either get what you want or your money back. T&C Apply
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