The Governor’s Consent can be sought and obtained only on the grounds that one has obtained the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for a property. In this article, find out the differences between the C of O and the Governor’s Consent in Lagos State of Nigeria.

What is a C of O?

The Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is one of the most popular land title documents issued in Lagos State. It is issued as per the provisions of the Land Use Act of 1978, which permitted the Governor of Lagos State (and other States in the Federation) to issue the certificate to property owners in their domains.

The C of O grants the holder a full ownership to the land or the property. Other related rights include:

  • Occupying the property
  • Erecting a structure (building) on it either for residential or commercial purposes and;
  • Transferring the ownership to someone else.

It is when the transfer process is kicked off that one needs to obtain the Governor’s Consent.

What is Governor’s Consent in Lagos State?

It is the authority conferred on the Governor of Lagos State of Nigeria to affirm or approval the transaction relating to the sales and or transfer of ownership of a land or related property, such as a house.

The Governor of the State reserves the right to approval or decline the application, depending on the applicant’s compliance with the requirements.

Why Can’t I Sell My Land without the Governor’s Knowledge?

You wouldn’t be able to sell or transfer the ownership of a land or a property to someone else in Lagos State without “informing” the Governor. It is because of these reasons:

  • If the land or property has a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), it is impossible to transfer the ownership or sell it without the new owner the full rights to ownership. Since the C of O is only issued once, you need a higher authorization, in this case, the Governor’s Consent to make such a transaction.
  • The Governor of Lagos State, besides being the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and administrator of the State’s affairs, is also the “sole custodian” of the lands within the urban areas. The provisions in Section 22 of the Land Use Act of 1978 demands that the State’s Governor should “be in the know” of a “statutory right of occupancy” holder’s intention to transfer and “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 been obtained.”

Differentiating between the C of O and the Governor’s Consent

These are some of the differences between having the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) and getting the Governor’s Consent in Lagos State.

1. Affirmation of Ownership

The Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is the primary document you need to obtain to confirm that you are the legitimate owner of a land. This is, of course, after the land has been chartered and found to be clear or free from government acquisition.

In the future, when you want to sell the land or use it for mortgage, you need to get the Governor’s Consent. The consent is sought when you want to alienate or transfer your ownership and occupancy rights to someone else.

2. The Extent of Your Rights as an Occupant

The C of O is highly “potent” in effecting the full ownership or a land or property in Lagos. However, it is only valid for a 99-year term. As all the lands in the urban areas are within the State Government’s jurisdiction, you are expected to be a “tenant” of the land for a period of 99 years, after which the ownership is reverted to the government.

Likewise, when the rights’ alienation is made, the new occupant or owner of the land will “carry-on” from the previous C of O, until the 99 years tenor have been used up.

Also Read:

The Deed of Assignment Serves as the “Intermediary Document”

The process of getting the Governor’s Consent wouldn’t be completed if the Deed of Assignment is not involved. Here’s why it is important:

a. The Deed as a Binding Agreement

The Deed of Assignment serves as the “binding agreement” between both parties – the seller (assignor) and the buyer (assignee) – showing the agreement between the two to engage in the transaction.

By this foregoing, the seller or assignor confirms the willingness to sell the land or property to the buyer or assignee. By doing so, the seller alienates the ownership of the property and the rights thereof.

b. Transfer of Unexpired Residue

The Deed of Assignment is signed by both parties on the confirmation that the land or property still has some unexpired residue (the period or tenor of 99 years). If the tenor is still effective, the assignee (buyer) will get the deed executed in his or her favor. Thus, the remaining (unexpired) years in the 99-year term will be transferred to the buyer on the perfection of the title.

c. Perfection of the Deed

The Deed of Assignment must be “perfected” before it becomes valid. The perfection process includes but is not limited to the:

  • Obtaining of the Governor’s Consent
  • Registering the conveyancing document

When the Governor signs the Deed, it is a recognition of the transaction between the seller and the buyer; the Government’s recognition of the same and the knowledge of the seller’s alienation and transfer of the lease and rights to the buyer.

Also Read:

Concluding Thoughts

For the C of O and the rights thereof to be transferred to someone else, the holder of the certificate must engage in a written contract with the buyer, as documented in the Deed of Assignment. The deed will be drafted by a legal practitioner and made out in favor of the buyer (assignee).

On completion, the deed will be recorded in the Land Registry and the rest of the perfection process completed with the State Governor’s appendage of a signature on the document. When all these have been done, you are said to have received the Governor’s Consent and approval and go-ahead to alienate your interests in the property you previously owned – and have the rights transferred to the new owner.

Would you like to buy land or house in Epe, Ajah, Lekki, Ibeju-Lekki or anywhere in Nigeria? Reach out to us on +234 806 400 3456 or send an email to We are ever ready to assist you on your property ownership journey in Nigeria.