A deed of assignment is an agreement where an assignor assigns his or her ownership in land or property to an assignee. The deed of assignment in Nigeria contains very pertinent information for a real estate transaction. The deed of conveyance in Nigeria also comprises the same information as a deed of assignment; there is no significant difference between the two. The state within Nigeria where the property is being transacted usually determines whether the deed of the assignment will be the appropriate property transfer agreement to be drafted or deed of conveyance. The deed gives a specific description of the property that is included in the transfer of ownership, consideration and other covenants between parties.

In most situations, when the deed of assignment has been exchanged between both parties, it has to be recorded in the land registry to show legal proof that the land has exchanged hands and the public should be aware of the transaction. Such recorded deed of assignment comes in the form of either a Governor’s consent and registration. The Deed of Assignment spells out the key issues in the transaction between the seller and the buyer so that there will not be any confusion or assumption after the property has been transferred to the new owner.

Features of Deed of Assignment

Every deed of assignment must contain certain information, which includes the followings:

  1. The names of the parties to the agreement
  2. The address of both parties.
  3. The history of the land in question. Such history may include how it was first obtained down to the moment it’s about to be sold.
  4. The agreed cost of the land and the willingness of the seller to finally accept that price paid for the land
  5. The description and size of the land to be transferred
  6. The covenants or promises both parties choose to undertake to perfect the transfer of the document
  7. The signature of the parties to the assignment and witnesses to the transaction
  8. Finally, the section for the Governor’s Consent that must be signed by the Governor or any government official designated by Governor for such purpose in the course of registration of the deed.

The steps for registration are as follows;

Upon the execution of the Deed of Assignment, it must be duly registered and be consented to by the Governor in accordance with the provisions of the Land Use Act, LFN 2004.

The consent of the Governor is important before the actual alienation or the sale of any interest in land in Nigeria. The Land Use Act makes it mandatory for the consent of the Governor to be obtained. Section 22 of the Act provides that it shall not be lawful for the holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the Governor to 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 and obtained. Section 22(2) of the Land Use Act further provides that “ the Governor when giving his consent to an assignment mortgage or sub-lease may require the holder of a statutory right of occupancy to submit an instrument executed in evidence of assignment, mortgage or sub-lease and the holder shall when so required to deliver the said instrument to the Governor in order that the consent given by the Governor under subsection(1) may be signified by endorsement thereon.” The power to grant consent can be delegated and this is provided for in section 45 of the Land Use Act.

By and large, upon the execution of a deed of assignment by parties to a property transaction, the procedure and steps for the registration of the executed deed of assignment in Lagos State or any other jurisdiction in Nigeria involves 3 major steps namely; Obtainment of Governor’s Consent; Stamping of Deed; and Registration

  1. Obtainment Governor’s Consent

To obtain the Governor’s consent in Lagos state, the application should be made with the land form 1c obtainable at the lands registry, and the form should be signed by the purchaser and the vendor, where the purchased land is already registered in vendor’s name at the registry.

The application form shall be submitted with the followings:

  • A covering letter addressed to the Director of the Department of Lands and Housing, Lagos State
  • The payment of consent fee after the property has been inspected and valued.
  • Current tax clearance certificate of the two parties. In the case of a mortgage, only that of the mortgagor is required.
  • Where one of the parties is a corporate body, the corporate body must supply the revenue certificate papers for its staff remitted to government and the current tax clearance certificates for the directors.
  • In the case of a developed property, there shall be a requirement for the building plan.
  • Six (6) copies of the Deed of Assignment for which consent is sought.
  • Evidence of up to date payment of ground rent and legal charges.
  • Evidence of payment of development levy.
  • Receipt of payment of charting fees and endorsement fees
  • A Certified True Copy (CTC) of the assignor’s land document obtainable from the lands registry.
  1. Stamping of the Deed:

After the Governor grants consent, the solicitor must ensure that the stamp duty charged on the transaction is paid. It is advised that consent be obtained before payment of stamp duties since if the Governor refuses the consent, the duties paid cannot be recovered. Stamp duties are taxes imposed on certain transactions, one of which is the alienation of an interest in a property. The effect of failure to pay stamp duties are;

  • The instrument will not be accepted for registration
  • The instrument will be inadmissible in evidence in court as stipulated under section 22 of the Stamp Duties Act
  • It will attract a penalty in cases of late registration
  1. Registration:

The importance of registering the deed of assignment or conveyance, which alienates interest in land is that it is a document affecting land in which one party confers, transfers, limits, charges or extinguishes in favour of another party a right or title to or interest in land. Although, section 25 of the Land Instrument Registration Law of Lagos State provides that registration does not cure defects in title, however, a deed of assignment is a registrable instrument and must be registered within 60 days of execution. Registration has lots of advantages; which includes

  • It is an indication that the title is not encumbered
  • Where an instrument is not registered, it cannot be pleaded because it is inadmissible in evidence
  • It gives priority, that is, first in time will prevail where there are rival instruments are registered.


The Deed of Assignment, otherwise known as Deed of Conveyancing in other states in Nigeria is the document transferring the sale of land or property from one buyer to another. The names of the parties to a Deed of Assignment are Assignor (the Seller) and Assignee (the purchaser).

When a deed of assignment has been duly executed among parties to a land transaction, it must be duly registered with the state government where the land is located. The registration of land’s title shall commence with the obtainment of Governor’s Consent with the provisions of the Land Use Act.


By Real Estate Law Team at Resolution Law Firm