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How to verify, acquire property in FCT

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Abuja is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and one of the major investments people are looking at is in landed properties due to the high return on investment.

However, due to the rising cases of land racketeering and scams in the FCT, anyone intending to purchase land must be circumspect in order not to fall into the hands of scammers.

Conventionally, all the landed properties in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), including Abuja, belong to the Federal Government of Nigeria. However, authority over the land in Abuja is given to the FCT minister, who acts on behalf of the president of Nigeria.

The FCT minister, in the person of Nyesom Wike, heads two important agencies that directly oversee land management in Abuja, namely the Federal Capital Development Agency (FCDA) and Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS).

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The FCDA is in charge of the overall development of Abuja. The FCDA manages things like designing, planning and construction as the city continues to expand. AGIS directly manages land administration in Abuja and offers services like issuance of Certificates of Occupancy, issuance of Rights of Occupancy, Naming streets and numbering houses across Abuja, Property search and land verification among others.

Land acquisition process in Abuja

To buy land directly from the government, an intending buyer must make an application through AGIS. The steps to be taken are as follows:

  1. Download a fresh land application form from the AGIS website. Alternatively, you may visit the AGIS office to obtain a new application form.
  2. Complete the application form. The form contains basic personal detail fields such as your name, age, address and contact details. The form also has space for specifying the general use (residential, commercial, mixed use etc.) and the specific purpose of the land sought e.g. hotel, private housing estate, school, church, mosque etc. The location preferred and the size of the plot sought can also be stated on the form.
  3. Make an application payment of N100,000 to AGIS through one of the following banks: Zenith Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, Eco Bank, Heritage Bank or SunTrust Savings & Loans Ltd.
  4. Obtain a receipt from the AGIS Finance Department by presenting evidence of making the appropriate application payment.
  5. Formally make an application at AGIS accompanied with the following documents: completed application form, Tax Clearance Certificate, two passport-sized photographs, photocopy of payment receipt, and appropriate means of identification (driver’s license, national ID card or international passport).
  6. Collect an acknowledgement slip in order to claim any land that may eventually be allocated to you.

A successful application results in you being granted a statutory Right of Occupancy.

However, Right of Occupancy is in essence an offer in respect to the land allocated and can further be perfected to a Certificate of Occupancy which gives the buyer full ownership and rights to the land.

Process involved in land verification

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In verifying genuine land, especially if it is being purchased from property developers, individuals are always advised to exercise caution and undergo preliminary checks and also verify from the Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS). The following processes are involved.

Preliminary checks

Before going ahead to officially verify documents by a property developer, experts advise that prospective buyer should go out and physically inspect the land and do some preliminary checks. Things to look out for include location, neighbourhood, environment, infrastructure, security, among others.

Also, if one has resources at his/her disposal, it is recommended that one employs the services of a surveyor to carry out those checks. Surveyors can deploy survey plan which indicates the actual size, position, access, and demarcation of land

Legal search

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After sourcing for an appropriate plot of land, the next step is to verify the legality of the documents presented. A legal search can be conducted at AGIS. This is crucial so as to make sure that the plot you are buying is genuine and is registered in the AGIS database. A legal search will also confirm things like the land use purpose e.g. commercial, residential, mixed use and also if there are any outstanding bills to be paid e.g. ground rent (a potential additional cost of purchase).

It is recommended that an intending buyer gets a property lawyer at this stage to help conduct the search at AGIS and verify other documents like the Deed of Assignment

Deeds of Assignment/Conveyance

A very critical document to verify is the Deeds of Assignment/Conveyance. This is simply an agreement that shows evidence that a seller has transferred (conveyed) all his rights, his title, his interest and ownership of land to a buyer. In essence, a seller has given ownership to a buyer.

Purchase the land

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After certifying all legal checks and verification, a buyer can go ahead and pay the purchase price. Before purchasing any land, it is advisable to consult with a real estate professional who can conduct a valuation for you.

Perfection of title to land

As soon as ownership has been transferred to you in the form of a Deed of Assignment, you must perfect your title on the land with the government. Perfection indicates that the land is officially owned by you and any subsequent purchaser would be notified of such when investigating/conducting a legal search.





Source link: Daily Trust/

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