If a property owner (mistakenly or fraudulently) sells the same property to two (or more) different people at different times, the first person to register his title is the one the court will hold as the new property owner, and not the first person to buy the property.

This was what recently happened in UZOMAR v. OKEKE (2023) LPELR-60326(CA) where the Court of Appeal relied on the Supreme Court decision in NAPOLEON S. ORIANZI VS. THE ATTORNEY – GENERAL, RIVERS STATE & ORS (2017) LPELR – 41737 (SC) and said:

“It has long been settled that priority of registered instruments is determined not by the date the instrument is made, but by the date of registration. Where there are two competing land instruments which have been registered, each takes effect as against the other from the date of registration. The one executed earlier loses its priority if it was registered later.”

The Court stated, that the rationale for this position is that “The priority of interests under the Land Instrument Registration Statutes is based on the times the relevant Deeds were registered, therefore, where the equities are equal, the first in time prevails.”

Therefore, after purchasing a property, do not just keep your duly signed Deed of Assignment. Register it as soon as possible.

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For more information, please contact:
Ayobayo Babade Esq, ACIArb(UK), FIMC,
Tope Babade & Co (Real Estate Consultants),
Magodo Phase 2, Lagos, Nigeria.
Tel/WhatsApp: +234 813 834 4488
E- Property Catalogue: https://wa.me/c/2348138344488
Website: https://topebabadeandco.com/

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