Know the effects of Governor's consent in land transactions.


2/20/20226 min read


The first person on a Virgin Land that has neither been occupied neither by another person nor under acquisition by the Government is entitled to get a Certificate of Occupancy on that land.

If that person with the C of O decides to sell his land to another person after so many years, that person must now obtain the Consent of the Governor before that transaction can be deemed legal in the eyes of the Government. If the new buyer now decides to sell the land again to a third owner in future, that Third owner must also obtain a new Consent of the Governor before that transaction can be deemed legal in the eyes of the Government and the process continues every time the property changes hands to a new buyer.

In other words, the first person on a land is the only person or group of persons entitled to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy. Every subsequent buyer of that land must get a Governor’s consent. There can only be one (1) Owner of the Certificate of Occupancy on that Land and it will not be replicated for another person once the land has been sold or transferred to another person.

The powers of the Governor to Consent to such transactions can be found in Section 22. Of the LAND USE ACT 1978 as amended which states thus:

“It shall not be lawful for the holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the Governor to alienate his right of occupancy or any part thereof by assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sublease or otherwise howsoever without the consent of the Governor first had and obtained”

The concept of Governor’s consent is an integral part of land transactions. It is one of the steps required to perfect title on land in Nigeria. The other steps are stamping and registration. This concept can be found in the Land Use Act 1978 which is one of the current major laws governing land transactions in Nigeria.


Governor’s consent simply refers to the approval of the Governor of every State of Nigeria of any transaction relating to land. Consent is often required for the perfection of any land transaction. This is because by section 1 of the Land Use Act, the Governor of each state is in control of all the land in the state, hence for any transaction, such as sale of land, mortgage or pledge over a land to be valid, the Governor must give consent.


Note that the Land Use Act specifically exempts land previously vested in the Federal Government from the control and management of the Governor (Section 49(1) of the Land Use Act). Also, by virtue of Section 50(2), the powers of the Governor shall be exercisable by the President or Head of State in respect of land comprised in the Federal Capital Territory vested in the Federal Government in any State.

It is pertinent to note that by the provisions of the Land Use Act, a non-Nigerian cannot apply for the right of occupancy as the Governor of each State holds land for the use and benefits of Nigerians only.

With this power, the Governor has the right to grant consent to any transaction which it thinks has not contravened any law of the land and if the consent has been obtained fraudulently, the Governor is entitled to revoke such consent immediately. Also, where the Governor is of the view that the Holder of the Right of Occupancy had failed to abide by the terms of the Certificate of Occupancy, the Governor can revoke same.

In mortgage transactions, it is the duty of any person seeking to use his or her land as collateral, whether under customary right or statutory right, to seek the appropriate consent. That is to say that the mortgagor is vested with the responsibility of obtaining Governor’s consent. See Section 21 (a) and (b) of the Land Use Act.


Furthermore, Section 26 of the Land Use Act is of the effect that where the requisite consent is not obtained in a mortgage transaction, the transaction is null and void and has no legal backing. To this end, the requirement of Governor’s consent is critical and of great importance to mortgage transactionsFurthermore, it is important to reiterate the importance of Governor’s consent in any transaction relating to sale of land. This is because a lot of people do not know the legal status of any sale that does not have Governor’s consent. It is a notorious fact that the Certificate of Occupancy in respect of a land is only granted to one person. This means that once the owner of a certificate of occupancy in respect of the said land is desirous of alienating(selling) his interest, the assignor(seller) is obligated to obtain the consent of the Governor to make the sale complete but this is not the case in practice.


In Practice, it is always the assignee (the buyer) that applies for the Governor’s consent in other to perfect his title in respect of such land. Where he is in possession of the Certificate of Occupancy and a Deed of Assignment was executed in his favor, if the land is resold to another person by the same assignor and that other person goes further ahead and obtains the necessary consent, he/she (the secondbuyer) shall be deemed to be the “owner” of the said land because in the eyes of the law, he has a complete transaction which is a perfect title.



1. Completed Form 1C: This must be signed by the purchaser and vendor that has a Gazette or Global C of O or a private C of O granted by the Governor.

2. A covering application letter by the Attorney of the applicant for Governor’s consent. This letter must encompass the necessary details of the Attorney.

3. A certified original copy of the Title document of the property.

4. Four copies of a Deed of Assignment, Deed of Sub-lease, Mortgage or Power of Attorney prepared by the applicant’s solicitor.

5. Chartable survey plan

6. Passport of the Assignee ( when it is for individual but when it is by a company ,the form C07 where you have the names and addresses of the directors )

7. Current tax clearance certificate of the parties involved in the transaction.

8. Evidence of payment of tenement rate or statement in lieu of this where property is underdeveloped.

9. The consent form will be stamped from the beginning to the end and upon completion of payment of the required fees, the Governor or his representatives such as the Commissioners will sign and date the consent form and stamp it with the official Seal.

10. The Land Bureau will assign a consent number to the document for reference purpose for life and it is with this consent number that the documents will be registered and recorded in their archive for future purposes.


All these documents are forwarded to the office of the Surveyor-General for charting. If there are no defects in the survey plan, a clean report is sent to the Land Bureau and a demand notice is issued to the applicant for the following fees which are percentages of the assessed value of the property. These fees are paid via bank draft in the name of Lagos State Government and receipts are issued.


*Consent Fees-8%

*Capital Gains tax-2%

*Stamp duty fee-2%

*Registration fee -3% 10



1. Evidence of ownership

2. Higher property value

3. Security of title

4. Ease of transaction.

5. Rest of mind.



1. Delay in land acquisition: it is pertinent to state that on the government website, it is stated that Governor’s consent can be obtained in 30 days but that has proven to be very untrue as it takes much longer in reality. To this end, where there is no time frame as to when the consent would be obtained and the land is needed urgently, the purpose of entering into the transaction would be defeated.


2. Unnecessary withholding of consent: Since it is at the discretion of the Governor to grant consent, he may decide to withhold consent and this would disrupt the transaction.


3. Frustration of the process by some of the Governor’s staff: Some of the staff of the Government are fond of requesting for gratification before they carry out their duties. A Governor’s consent that should cost N200, 000 naturally could end up costing N600, 000 due to kickbacks such as bribe. Furthermore, these officials are not meticulous in carrying out their duties as there are often cases of misplaced documents or a mix up in the documents of applicants.


4. Loss of interest in perfecting title: Due to the stress associated with obtaining Governor’s consent, so many people would prefer to just be in possession of their title as obtained from the original allotee.


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