Land ratification in Nigeria

Land Ratification in Nigeria

In this post, you will learn about land ratification in Nigeria, differences between a free and committed land, how to know whether a particular land is free or not, differences between global or general acquisition and committed acquisition. You will also learn how to carry out land ratification, conditions for processing land ratification in Nigeria and how you can ensure that you do not fall into the hand of real estate scammers


All thanks to the Land Use Act of 1978 which vests all the power of land ownership in a state on the Governor of the state, land can either be free or acquired. Before the Land Use Act of 1978, landed properties were owned by communal authorities such as the Obas and Baales. They had the power to assign or rent it out to whoever they deemed fit. However, after the Land Use Act, the power was transferred to the Governor of the state. 

What the change means is that even if a king or baale decides to sell a landed property to you, that does not guarantee that the property is safe for you to buy. This is the reason you should make a thorough research about the state of the property you intend to buy so that you do not fall for the sweet tongue of dubious real estate agents and omo oniles (land grabbers).

What is a Free Land?

A land is said to be free if the government does not indicate any interest to make use of it. This means that it is easy for whoever buys the land to go ahead to perfect the land title and documents such as C of O, approved building plan and other important documents.

How to Know Whether a Land is Free or Not

To know whether a land is free or not, you need to make inquiries at the appropriate quarters. If you don’t know how to go about that, you can engage an honest surveyor. This is very important because there are lots of dubious surveyors. Make sure that you engage the ones you trust. The Surveyor will visit the site to confirm if the details on the available documents correspond with the exact plot of land. Land scammers and some dubious agents are fond of presenting documents belonging to other areas that are free and modify them for the property you intend to buy.

This is the reason you need a surveyor whose integrity is not shaky. When the surveyor confirms that the coordinates of the land corresponds with the information on the documents, he or she will then proceed to chart the land to confirm if the area is government-acquired or not.

What is an Acquired Land?

A land is said to be acquired if the government has indicated interest in it to be used for facilities such as:

  • Parks
  • Pipelines
  • High tension power lines
  • Schools such as public primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
  • Government offices such as land bureau, ministry of education, etc
  • Public cemetery
  • Offices for government-owned companies such as Nigerian National Corporation Commission (NNPC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), etc.

Imagine a situation whereby 1000 people decide to buy land in a location meant for those facilities, would the government be able to provide those amenities and govern the nation?

Types of Land Acquisition

Now that you understand what it means for a land to be acquired, you need to take note that there are two types of land acquisition. These are:

  • Global Acquisition
  • Committed Acquisition

A land is said to fall under committed acquisition if the government has shown interest in the location and will not release it for any use. Whoever buys such land should be ready to lose it even if it takes 50 years.

When a land falls under global/general acquisition, it means that although the government has shown interest in it, the land can still be released by the government and then considered to be free. The process of making a piece or an expanse of land that falls under global/general acquisition to eventually become free is known as land ratification or land regularisation.

Meaning of Land Ratification in Nigeria

Land ratification, also known as land regularisation is a process by which a land that falls under global or general acquisition is eventually approved by the government to be exempted.

How to Carry out Land Ratification in Nigeria

To carry out land ratification in Nigeria, your land must meet the following conditions:

  • The Land to be ratified must have fallen within the general/global acquisition.
  • The land must not fall within committed acquisition.
  • The land to be ratified must not fall within an area marked for road.
  • The land must be located in an area that obeys urban and regional planning regulations.
  • The land must keep enough distance from drainages, Canals, pipelines and other restrictions laid down by the town planning regulatory bodies.
  • You must give enough setbacks.

If your property meets all the conditions stated above, you can go ahead to carry out the ratification at the Directorate of Land Regularisation (DLR). Below are some of the fees you will be required to pay:

  • Form fee
  • Administrative charge
  • Preparation fee
  • Ground rent
  • Execution fee
  • Charting fee
  • Inspection fee
  • Admin Charge

When the ratification exercise is completed and successful, you can go ahead to perfect the title of the land by obtaining the Certificate of Occupancy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Land Ratification?

Is Land Ratification the Same as Excision?

Land ratification and excision are not the same. In the case of excision, the state government, after legal processes, decides to release the land to the community, village or town. Ratification, on the other hand, is done when an individual or corporate entity has already bought a landed property that falls within global or general acquisition.

What is the difference between land ratification and land regularization?

There is no difference. Both are the same.

Who do I contact if I need to carry out a land ratification exercise?

Get a trusted, licenced, experienced and reliable surveyor to help you.


You have learnt about land ratification in Nigeria, differences between a free and committed land, how to know whether a particular land is free or not, differences between acquired and committed acquisition, conditions for processing land ratification in Nigeria and how you can ensure that you do not fall into the hand of real estate scammers.

We advise that, as much as you can, you should stay away from landed properties that fall within government acquisition, even if it is global or general acquisition, unless you need the land in that particular location for a business venture and you do not mind the cost and process of carrying out the ratification process.

There is no going back on the part of the government if you buy a land that falls within committed acquisition. It is just a matter of time before your house is eventually pulled down. The government does not forget.