The recent decision of the Supreme Court in Yakubu v. Simon Obaje has raised serious legal questions. The Supreme Court held in this case that “the provision for Governor’s consent for the alienation of interest in land under the Land Use Act does not apply to land not covered by a statutory right of occupancy, where the alienation is between private individuals and there is no overriding public interest or conflict between the parties.”
Prior to this decision, superior Courts had held in various cases starting with the Supreme Court’s decision in Savannah Bank v. Ajilo that “under the relevant sections of the Land Use Act 1978, the Governor’s consent is a mandatory requirement for any transfer or alienation of land within a state, and failure to do so renders the transfer or alienation null and void.”
The decision of the Supreme Court in Yakubu v. Simon Obaje case represents a paradigm shift from the rule as we know it which has led to confusion and uncertainty for landowners, businesses and real estate practitioners who are unclear on the correct legal position.
This article aims to provide clarity on the position of the law and the impact of the new decision of the Supreme Court on real estate transactions.