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How do I verify the authenticity of land documents in Nigeria to avoid fraudulent transactions?

When buying land in Nigeria, it’s crucial to verify the authenticity of land documents to avoid fraudulent transactions. Land fraud is a prevalent issue in Nigeria, and it can result in the loss of significant financial investments. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can verify the authenticity of land documents in Nigeria to protect yourself from fraud.

 

Why Verify Land Documents?

Land documents are legal instruments that serve as proof of ownership or possession of a piece of land. They are critical in the process of buying, selling, or leasing land. Verifying the authenticity of land documents is essential to ensure that the seller has the legal right to sell the land and that the documents are not counterfeit.

 

How to Verify Land Documents

  1. Conduct a Title Search: A title search involves conducting an investigation of the land documents at the Land Registry to confirm their authenticity. A title search reveals the legal owner of the land, the status of the land, and any encumbrances on the land. A title search can be conducted by a lawyer, surveyor, or a property consultant.
  2. Visit the Land: Visiting the land is essential to verify that the land exists and that it matches the description on the documents. This can help you avoid situations where the land has been sold to multiple buyers, or the seller is not the rightful owner of the land.
  3. Verify the Survey Plan: A survey plan is a document that shows the physical boundaries of the land, the size of the land, and its location. The survey plan must be verified by a licensed surveyor to ensure that it’s authentic and accurate.
  4. Verify the Deed of Assignment: The deed of assignment is a legal document that transfers ownership of the land from the seller to the buyer. It must be signed by both parties and witnessed by a notary public. Verify that the deed of assignment is authentic and that it has been properly executed.
  5. Confirm Payment of Applicable Fees and Taxes: Ensure that all fees and taxes related to the land transaction have been paid. This includes the payment of the land use charge, capital gains tax, and stamp duty. Failure to pay these fees and taxes can result in the transaction being declared invalid.

 

Conclusion

Verifying the authenticity of land documents in Nigeria is essential to avoid fraudulent transactions. Conducting a title search, visiting the land, verifying the survey plan, confirming the deed of assignment, and confirming the payment of applicable fees and taxes are essential steps to take when buying land in Nigeria. By taking these steps, you can protect yourself from land fraud and ensure that you’re making a sound investment.

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