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WHEN IS THERE A VALID SALE OF LAND

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In law therefore, a valid sale of land is constituted where there is payment of money as consideration, acknowledgment of receipt of the purchase money and execution of deed of conveyance in favour of the purchaser by the Vendor. See Erinosho v. Owokoniran (1965) NMLR 479. See also Ogunbanbi v Abowab (1951) 13 WACA 222; Onafowokan V Oshopitan (2009) 1 WRN 142 @p. 166

— B.A. Georgewill, JCA. Anyi & Ors. v. Akande & Ors. (2017) – CA/L/334/2014

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STATE LANDS ARE FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES – SUCH LANDS ARE HELD IN TRUST

Their powers under the law are limited to leasing them to diverse persons, and accepting forfeitures and surrenders of leases. There appears to be substance in this contention. State lands in Nigeria invariably originate from compulsory acquisitions of such lands from individuals or communities for public purposes. Such lands are held in trust by the acquiring government for use for the public purpose for which the land was acquired and in accordance with the public policy of the state as enshrined in the laws of the state.

– Nnaemeka-agu, JSC. Ude v. Nwara (1993)

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WHEN IDENTITY OF LAND BECOMES AN ISSUE IN LAND MATTERS

It is also now settled law that requires no citation of any authority, that the identity of land in a land dispute will only be in issue if and only if the defendant in his statement of defence makes it one. If he disputes specifically either the area or the location or the features shown in the plaintiff’s plan, then the identity of the land becomes an issue to be tried. In my view both the trial court and the Court of Appeal were right in their decision that the identity of the land in dispute was not an issue joined in the pleadings to be tried.

– Musdapher JSC. Gbadamosi v. Dairo (2007)

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POOR DRAFTING OF THE LAND USE ACT

This case has once more highlighted the unnecessary difficulties created by lack of precision and inelegant drafting of statutes. The Land Use Act as a major legislation affecting the fortunes of every Nigerian leaves a lot to be desired in its drafting. The Land Use Act is an existing law and, as I declared in another forum earlier on last year, has come to stay with us. Laudable as the intention of the Act declared in the provisions of section 1 is, it is my opinion that it cannot be realised as long as the administrative provisions which deprive all Nigerians of the use and benefit of the land vested in the Military Governor remains. It is for Nigerians through their representatives (elected and non elected) to give detailed examinations to these provisions and make the necessary amendments to enable the Act achieve its laudable purpose.

– Obaseki, JSC. Savannah v. Ajilo (1989)

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PROOF NOT NECESSARY WHERE IDENTITY OF LAND NOT IN DISPUTE

It is the general principle of law that a plaintiff who claims title to land must prove the identity of the land in dispute. This is to enable the court know the exact area or acreage of the land in dispute to give him judgment if he is able to prove title. However, where the identity of the land is not in dispute or where there is enough evidence for the court to infer the identity of the land, proof is not necessary. In such a situation, the plaintiff has no burden to prove the identity of the land. Of the two ways, the easier one is when the parties agree as to the identity of the land or they do not put the identity of the land in issue.

– Niki Tobi JSC. Gbadamosi v. Dairo (2007)

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INTERPRETATION OF S.22 LAND USE ACT

Firstly, the position of section 22 of the Act, is undoubtedly, that a holder of a right of occupancy, may enter into an agreement or contract, with a view to alienating his said right of occupancy. In entering into such an agreement or contract, he does not need the consent of the Governor. He merely operates within the first leg/stage of a “transfer on sale of an estate in land” which leg/stage ends with the formation of a binding contract for a sale constituting an estate contract at best. However, when he comes to embark on the next leg/stage of alienating or transferring his right of occupancy which is done or effected, by a conveyance or deed, which culminates in the vesting of the said right in the particular “purchaser”, he must obtain the consent of the Governor in order to make the transaction valid. If he fails to do so, then the transaction, is null and void under Section 22 of the Act.

– Ogbuagu, JSC. Brossette v. Ilemobola (2007)

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ACCEPTED METHODS OF PROVING CUSTOMARY OWNERSHIP

The accepted methods of proving customary ownership of land are- (1) Traditional History of ownership; (2) Where the evidence in (1) above is found to be inconclusive, then proof of acts of occupation and use of the land over a considerable long period without challenge or disturbance from any other claimant and (3) Where (2) above fails, proof of exclusive possession without permission. See – Ekpo v. Ita 11 N.L.R. 68; F.M. Alade v. Lawrence Awo (1975) 4 S.C.215.

— Wali JSC. Onwuka & Ors. V. Ediala & Anor. (SC.18/1987, 20 January 1989)

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