Since 1978, the major legislation regulating land acquisition within the country has been the Land Use Act of 1978 which states that all land in a state is to be held in trust by the state Governor for the benefit of all Nigerians. By law, foreigners may also acquired land wherever it is located in the country from either the state governments or from other holders.
Since the Land Use Act confers all land to the respective states government, a prospective buyer can apply to the Governor of the state for a certificate of occupancy which is for a period of 99 years. However, the federal government of Nigeria also has power to grant certificate of occupancy in respect of lands comprised in the federal capital territory (i.e., Abuja and its designated environs), or vested in the federal government but located in states’ territories.
Local Government may also grant ‘customary certificate of occupancy’ where the land in question is not in an urban area. All you have to do is apply formally to the particular Government, or any appropriate agency, for the issuance of a right of occupancy which is called the certificate of occupancy