SALE OF PROPERTY WITHOUT AUTHORITY
Purported sale of land by persons not having legal title to it is by far one of the commonest and most dreaded evils associated with land acquisition. This is because a lot of people conjure different types of ‘title’ to the land that it takes due diligence and lots of prayers on the part of the purchaser not to fall into the wrong hands. It was always common for purported family agents to unlawfully sell family property without the consent of the head of the family, and some even issue counterfeited receipts. However, by virtue of this new law, anyone who offers for sale any property knowing that he has no lawful title to the property or authority of the owner to offer for sale commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of five hundred thousand naira only or six months imprisonment or both. Where he actually sells a property to which he has no lawful title which has been previously sold by him or his privies or without lawful authority of the owner, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 100% of the value of the property or to imprisonment for five (5) years or both, and the property shall revert to the lawful owner.
Also, anybody who sells or cause to be sold family land, property or any part of it without the consent or authority of the family head and other accredited members of the family or government land, property or any part of it without the consent or authority of the state or sells or offer for sale any land that has been previously sold without a court judgment repudiating the earlier sale commits an offence and is liable on conviction to twenty-one years imprisonment.
It is a known fact that some professionals such as the estate agents and lawyers participate actively in the real estate business. The Law, therefore, prohibits a professional from facilitating a contractual agreement between a land owning family and any other person knowing that such contractual agreement will contravene the provisions of this Law or any other Law otherwise such professional commits the offence of aiding and abetting the commission of such offence. Similarly, the law provides that any professional who executes a judgment of court without following due process as provided for in the Sheriff and Civil Process Act or any other Law commits an offence and any such professional found guilty under the provisions of the Law shall be reported to the relevant professional body for misconduct and necessary actions.