The issues of litigation surrounding land acquisition in the country seem to be on the rise as our courts are being filled every minute with these cases.
The situation is worse in the cities creating fear among potential land owners.
Aside from the legal battles, it gets murky to the point that parties involved in land disputes are either attacked physically or have their property destroyed by land guards.
In view of that Joy FM’s Super Morning Show sought to enlighten its discerning listeners about measures to consider when scouting for and purchasing land.
Legal practitioners Kwame Gyan and Martin Kpebu were in the studio to interact with the hosts.
Here are what you might have missed.
- Stool lands are not for chiefs
Private legal practitioner, Kwame Gyan in his explanation said stool lands are not for traditional leaders but the community.
According to him, the chief is only a custodian representing the community.
“Stool lands are not owned by the chief otherwise they would have been called Chief lands. The stool lands are owned by the community and the community is personified by the Chief who sits on the stool which is a symbol of the office of the Chief.
“But Article 1 Clause 6 says the chief is holding the land in trust for the subjects of the stool in accordance with customary law and usage.”
- Look for a professional before buying a land
Highlighting the types of land in the country. Mr Gyan said there are clan, family and communal lands. As such it is prudent for prospective property owners to seek the advice of land professionals.
He argued that it will prevent clients from getting swindled or future litigations.
“You don’t go and try to buy the land. You must look for a professional. The professionals who are vested in land matters will know who owns the area. So whether it is a stool, a clan or a family and who specifically they must consult in such dealings.
- “Let the buyer beware”
Noting that land acquisition is a serious business, the lawyer advised that a comprehensive investigation must be carried out before payment is made.
“When you are trying to get land, you have to get your own surveyor to verify the plan that they have given you. Don’t just rely on the plan the vendor has given you. The principle is always “Let the buyer beware.” So it is you that has to beware not the seller.
“Yes, there are legal consequences for concealment of encumbrance under the land act, but it is you that have to beware. You are the one making the investment in the land so you have to be proactive and prudent,” he cautioned.
- You could lose your land next year, watch out
Speaking on land leasing, Mr Gyan said no one owns the land for perpetuity. Thus, people who inherit properties only continue the lease the buyer paid for.
“When you go and meet someone eating fufu and it is left with half and you are to continue, you won’t get a new bowl of fufu but a will only continue with the half,” he cited.
– The practicality
Taking his turn, Martin Kpebu cited the litigation case involving Empire Estate, Nugua stool and Top Kings.
Speaking extensively about the case which has now been addressed, the lawyer said most disputes of lands are best settled by the judiciary.
• Public contribution
When phone lines were opened, some listeners called in to share their experience with land acquisition.
A caller who identified himself as Benjamin said, he failed to register his vast land and some encroachers took portions of it and registered it.
Pained by this, the caller advised landowners to register their lands even before they undertake any project on them.
Others also bemoaned the exorbitant prices of lands currently.
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