HOW TO CONDUCT A SERACH AT THE LAGOS LAND REGISTRY

Sometime in 2010, a certain Kehinde Philips who had been a professional surety, rendering bail services to criminals and fraudsters was arrested by the police.  Philips the leader of a syndicate of professional sureties operating in Lagos had presented himself as Onifade A. Ajanaku, a landed property owner in Lagos with a C of O to the Registrar of a Magistrate Court in Lagos, as a surety for one Mrs. Omolanle O. Balogun, who was arraigned on a multiple count charge of obtaining property under false pretence and stealing. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the all the documents bearing No 2. Ineberi Street Lagos Island presented to the Court by the 65year old kehinde was cloned.

The case of Kehinde Philips is one out of the so many reported cases of the rising use of cloned C of Os to stand as surety for people seeking bail from courts, obtaining loans from bank and to selling other people's properties without the original documents and the more reason why it is necessary to conduct what is known as Search before consummating a landed property transaction in Lagos.

A search in Lagos State which could be electronic (imputing the number on the title into the Registry’s computer) or manual (looking through manually archived copies assisted by an official of the Registry) is done at the Lagos State Lands Registry located within the Lagos Lands Bureau, Block 13/ 14 Alausa Secretariat Ikeja. The Registry is the custodian of all registered land instruments in Lagos (apart from Federal Land) which include Deeds of Assignments, Leases, Subleases, Mortgages, Releases and Assents, Orders of Court/Judgments, Purchase Receipts and Certificates of Occupancy amongst others.

While the presentation of a copy of the title or number by which it has been registered with is sufficient to detect imperfections on the title like whether there is a mortgage on it, litigation or has been sold to someone else during a search, an original copy of the title will have to be used for a search to detect whether it has been cloned or not.  A search simply help to cross check for errors in signature, passport photographs, registered numbers and several other printed errors on the title.

Conducting a search at the Lands Registry includes the following procedures:

·         Writing an application letter to the Registrar of Titles. This application will contain the particulars of the property like the name of title owner, registration particulars, address of property and survey plan of the property.

·         The application will be accompanied by a letter of authority by the said owner of the title authorising the applicant to conduct the search.

·         The application will also be supported by a sworn affidavit declaring the status of the applicant (for instance, as the purchaser’s solicitor) and the purpose of the search.

·         The application, affidavit and letter should be submitted to the Registrar of Titles at the Lands Registry, Alausa.

·         The applicant then proceeds to the search room where a bill is issued.

·         The application will be assessed and the applicant will be required to pay the search fees of N3, 750 (it could be more in some cases depending on where the property is located) at one of the designated banks (Access Bank or Zenith Bank).

·          The search can then be done after payment. Although the search can be done personally by the applicant, in most cases, Lawyers are engaged to conduct the search for speedy and accurate results.  

The Registrar of Titles Lagos Lands Registry, Mrs. A. Akintoye and the Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Lands Bureau Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola  



KEY OFFICIALS AT THE LAGOS LANDS REGISTRY

S/N

NAMES

POSITION HELD

PHONE NOS.

1

MRS. A. A. AKINTOYE

REGISTRAR OF TITLES

08034350887

2

MRS. ADE ADEYEMO

DEPUTY REGISTRAR OF TITLES

08028595585

3

MRS. A. M. AMODU

ASST. DIRECTOR ADMIN.

08033373769

4

MR. T. A. THANNI

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

08023032096

5

MR. R. A. ANIFOWOSHE

ASST. CHIEF ADMIN. OFFICER

08024614363