Basically, a conveyance is an instrument or document for the creation, transfer, variation or extinction of interest in land. For a concise definition, see S. 2(v) Conveyancing Act 1881 and S. 2(1) PCL 1959.
1. The 1999 Constitution (as amended): S. 44 is relevant in this regard
2. Local Legislation: a. The Land Use Act 1979 b. PCL 1959 c. Land Instrument Registration Law d. The Mortgage and Property Law 2010
3. Received English Law: This includes the rules of common law, Equity and Statutes of General Application (SOGA). The Statute of fraud 1677 and the conveyancing Act 1881 are relevant in this regard.
4. Case Law.
Acquisition of Land in Nigeria
1. Traditional Evidence
4. Deed of Gift
5. Inheritance through family
Stages of Conveyancing
1. The Contract Stage
2. The Completion Stage
The main distinction between the two above was stated by the Supreme Court in the case of International Textile Industry v Aderemi noted that once there is a binding contract between the vendor and the buyer in the sense that consideration has been advanced, the effect is that a trust is created. The buyer has an equitable interest in the land and the vendor is expected to hold the land in trust for the purchaser. The seller can’t transfer the property to a third party otherwise the purchaser would be entitled to sue for specific performance of the contract except where the third party is a bonafide purchaser for value. Please note that at the contract stage, the legal interest is still vested in the vendor. Also note that preliminary investigations are carried out at this stage. On the other hand, at the completion stage, the agreement is finally completed and the legal interest in the land is transferred to the purchaser.
In practice, most conveyancers are not interested in the contract stage and this usually results in problems for some.
By virtue of S. 4 Statute of Frauds, no action shall be brought upon any contract of sale or other disposition of land or any interest in land unless the agreement upon which such action is brought or some memorandum or note thereof is in writing, signed by the party to be charged or by some other person lawfully authorised. In Alake v Awawu, the court was called to consider whether for a sale of land under native law to be valid, the provision need be complied with. The court stated three elements for the validity of a sale of land under native law: a. payment of purchase price b. the purchaser is put in possession c. the transaction is in the presence of two or more witnesses. Once these three conditions can be proven, the court will validate the sale notwithstanding the fact that the provision of S. 4, Statute of Frauds wasn’t complied with.
We now move to consider the content of the memorandum of sale of land. It is important to state that this isn’t stated in the statute but inferred from judicial decisions. The following items must be included in the memorandum with sufficient certainty namely: a. the name of the parties b. the description of the property c. the price d. signature of the party to be charged. The party to be charged is the person who has an obligation to transfer interest on the property. See the case of Gege v Lande.