YES, an alien or a foreigner can own a property in Nigeria, but this is subject to certain restrictions identified under the ALAL. The chief restriction under ALAL is the requirement for State Governor’s_ written approval before instrument of transfer could be lawfully executed. Failing which subsequent transfer instrument may be regarded as void abinitio.
ALAL_ provides that-
“No foreigner shall acquire any interest or right in or over land from a native of Nigeria unless the transaction under which the interest or right is acquired has been previously approved in writing by the Governor”.
ALAL_ further provides that –
“Any agreement and any instrument_ in writing or under seal by or under which an alien purports to acquire any interest or right in or over any land 0r property (other than an interest or right acquired pursuant to the provisions of this Law and regulations or orders made there under) and which forms part of or gives effect to a transaction that has not been duly approved in accordance with the provisions of this Law shall be void and of no effect“
Putting it simply, a foreigner can acquire interest or rights in Land from a Native of Nigeria, provided the written approval of the Governor is first sought and had_before the relevant instruments are executed between the alien and the native of Nigeria.
IMPORTANT FEATURES OF THE GOVERNOR’S WRITTEN APPROVAL
Application for the Governor’s written approval shall be made in the prescribed form set out in first schedule of the Acquisition of Lands by Alien Regulations and it is submitted to the State’s Land Commissioner for approval. The application shall be accompanied by a Treasury Receipt evidencing payment of the statutory fee_.
The granting of Governor’s written approval shall be at the discretion of the Governor._
Governor’s written approval is not required with respect to alien’s acquisition of interest or right in Land where such interest or right in the land is less than 3 years_ or where it concerns an interest or right in land subject to the State land Laws_
Upon the procurement of the Governor’s written approval, parties may go on to evidence the transaction by executing a registrable instrument.
The interest or right to be acquired shall not be greater than a term of (25) twenty-five years, including any option to renew.
The Governor has the discretion to waive or modify the conditions stated above, include the condition concerning term of years to be granted._
The Governor’s written approval shall be conveyed to the applicant in the form set out in the ALAL Regulation_
There is no gain-saying the fact that a foreingner can acquire interest or right in land or property but the complementary restrictions attached to acquisition of land by alien make it so uninteresting and daunting for most aliens/foreigners. The fact that Aliens need Governor’s written approval and cannot even acquire a term in excess of 25 years speak volume of the need to inform the public on some of these concerns.
Our expertise in assisting aliens/foreigners in setting up land acquisition transactions in a zero-restriction manner are some of the services on offer; and whatever your decisions are, we are ready to work hand in glove with you through the entire process.
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