DEED OF ASSIGNMENT AS A MEANS OF TRANSFER OF REAL PROPERTY IN NIGERIA, ISSUES, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS

DEED OF ASSIGNMENT AS A MEANS OF TRANSFER OF REAL PROPERTY IN NIGERIA, ISSUES, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS

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ABSTRACT

Acquisition of real property in Nigeria is a right enshrined under the constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). Transaction in land formed part of the economic sector of the country. Transfer of interest in land or acquisition of real property can be through state grant, gift, purchase (conveyance), inheritance (probate) and allotment of family land. Of all these means of acquisition real property in Nigeria only purchase and gift are demanded to be by deed. This factor gravel affects the titles acquired by customary grant, probate, state grant and allotment of family land. As a legal requirement transfer of interest in land must with up with the requirement of governor‟s consent o the state were the land is situated or the local government authority within jurisdiction. The law also requires payment of stamp duties and the registration of the instrument (deed of assignment). Deed of assignment is the instrument that transfers interest in land from one party of another. The instrument contains the date, parties and terms of sale. It must be executed by the two parties and attested by witnesses. The law specifically requires that a deed must be signed, sealed and delivered for it to be valid. Transfer of interest in land is governed by many laws which differ from state to state of the federation. There are also various steps to be taken in the registration of title deed. This renders the transaction difficult and cumbersome. This research examined the means of acquiring real property in Nigeria, deed of assignment in particular and the challenges pose by the bureaucracy in the registration of title deed. The way forward has been proffered such as harmonization of conveyancing laws in Nigeria, review of the Land Use Act to make the requirement of governor‟s consent unnecessary, reducing the time frame within which to register title deeds, reduction of fees payable for the registration of title deed and the such other similar problems.

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1       Introduction

There can be no society without law (ubi societa ibi jus):- there are rules that are designed

to guide behaviour and decisions of individuals either oral (tradition) or written such as

constitution, parliamentary bills, legislative orders, executive ( executive ) orders court decisions

etc, are intended to regulate and control human activities and or transactions.

Some contracts, covenants, agreements, appointments, conveyances are required in law to

be by deeds (written form and formally).1

A deed of assignment can be said to be a document or agreement in which an assignor

(the transferor) promises to, from the date of assignment or any date provided in the document

assign his ownership in that property to the assignee ( transferee). The deed of assignment

stipulates the type of right that has been assigned and usually, in the case of the sale and

purchase of immovable property, full rights are assigned. It also documents the flow of

ownership from the owner to the buyer and subsequent purchasers, where applicable. So, if a

property has changed hands, the deed of assignment in the hand of the last owner would have a

recital, usually on the last page which takes about history of the property changing hands from

„A‟ to „B‟ up to the current owner2.

1 www.jsor.org/pass.accessed on 10th February 2014; Section( 77) of Property Conveyancing law cap. 100 Laws of Western Region of Nigeria 1959.

2 www.Wisequeek.com/what is title deed. htm accessed on 10th February, 2014; see also Dadem Y.Y., Property Law Practice in Nigeria; University of Jos Press Limited,(2012) 2nd ed., page 78

1


It therefore goes without saying that deed of assignment is a very important document

which should be kept in a very safe and secure place because they are legal document and getting

new copies, if they are lost or stolen can be painful and hard. Many people made many copies of

title deeds in case of lost, damage or destruction so that they have temporary measure on ground.

Because title deeds can be used to initiate the transfer of ownership, it is good to keep such deeds

in safe places and location so that they cannot be stolen3.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Over the years, there have been much reliance on customary land law regime, judicial

precedents and legal instruments in making decisions on real property related issues without

taking cognizance of the legal drafting and conveyancing techniques most needed in the design

and construction of document involved (deeds of assignment) and other challenges created by

statutes, particularly with the promulgation of the Land Use Act in 1978,4 and other related

statutes with respect to real property transaction in Nigeria .


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