Is Your Land Legal Though?

A live band is playing in the background tonight at Metroville. Everybody around is swaying their body to the rhythm of the elite highlife sounds of the performers. Even Mallam Hassan is casually nodding his head while taking occasional big man puffs out of his cigar.

Eddie, being the Lagos boy that he is, has found himself his element tonight, rocking Tokunbo’s behind gently at the side of the table. Tokunbo says the 30-day countdown to her birthday has started tonight, and so she’s indulging herself in all the debauchery the night has to offer.

Mr. Cele meanwhile, is restless. He lets his drink sweat out its coolness and doesn’t seem to want to be part of this fun tonight, even though the type of music playing tonight is what he typically enjoys the most.

Mr. Cele’s phone rings but he casually swipes to end the call, even though it’s his wife calling. You may not understand the temerity of this act but that’s because you don’t know the reverence Mr. Cele has for his wife. One evening, he was about to cheat on his alcohol abstinence by having a beer when his wife called him. After the call, he promptly lost appetite for the beer and settled for a can of Malt.

I ask Mr. Cele if everything is alright. He says he’s good. But after a while, he leans over to me and asks me if I know anything about Areal Council plots. I tell him that theoretically, I do. But only Mallam Hassan has the requisite expertise in that field, given his experience in Abuja properties. Mr. Cele sighs.

The band switches their tempo and the music gets more intense. Eddie promptly gets possessed by the fervor, and in one moment he looks like he’s just about to take off his shirt when Tokunbo reminds him that he’s no longer in Lagos, and if he tries that agbero behavior in an Abuja bar, he’ll sleep in a psychiatric ward tonight.

Mr. Cele tells me that his immediate younger brother is in some land dispute trouble. I tell him to hold it. I ask for permission to rope Mallam Hassan into the conversation. Mr. Cele agrees. I call Mallam Hassan’s attention to our conversation. Then Mr. Cele proceeds with the narration.

His immediate younger brother had bought a plot of land in a developing part of the city from a company. The land had no sufficient root of title, and it just turned out that it was a public plot belonging to the FCDA, which the company had no rights to sell to anyone. Now the area council has moved to reclaim the land, and are in the process of instituting an action against the buyer.

Common, but grievous mistakes land buyers make when purchasing property in Abuja.

At this point, the band had done their bit. Tokunbo has skittled back to her seat, and Eddie is now hunching sweatily over his. We beg him not to sit down until he’s done perspiring.

Because Mallam Hassan has more practical experience than I do about land purchase, he carefully explains to us how companies without proper titles swindle people of money by allocating to their clients land they don’t have the authority to.

He explains that any public land has to be bought by an application through AGIP. He details the processes of buying public lands from the area councils, and explains the importance of following through on the processes. He explains that if one went through the right agent company, one would obtain a statutory right of occupancy that would later be perfected into a Certificate of Occupancy.

Eddie remarks that he doesn’t trust the way Tokunbo is listening with rapt attention, and asks her if she has found a sugar daddy that wants to buy land for her. Tokunbo says she doesn’t blame him, as she’s sure that he’ll never be able to buy any land considering how much money he splashes on Abuja women.

Mr. Cele thanks Mallam Hassan for his explanations and informs us he’ll advise his brother to take the most available legal step to make his agent-company pay in compensation.

The band resumes playing and before anyone notices, Eddie has dashed back to the dance floor because a proper Lagos boy never misses the opportunity to groove.

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