First of all, what is a survey plan?
A Survey Plan can be described as a land instrument which shows as clearly and as accurately as possible, with as much certainty as also possible, the ascertainable area of a piece or parcel of land with its definite and precise boundaries that it describes.- Proshareng
In other words, a survey plan is a graphic representation of the land you have just purchased – on paper. Proshareng further states that a survey plan which fails to possess the attributes listed above is technically useless. You can think of it as your paper bank statement. The survey plan demonstrates on paper, the boundaries and dimensions of your land just as your monthly bank statement would demonstrate on paper precisely the size of naira and kobo your bank holds for you.
Most lawyers and property experts agree that this is one of the most important documents which should be requested for, when purchasing a piece of land. Not only does it represent the land you are interested in graphically, it also tells you whether or not your land lies within or outside the Government schemes. The Survey Plan is also a main part of the documents required by the Land Use and Allocation Committee for issuing a C of O (Certificate of Occupancy). In addition to this, the Survey Plan is also an important tool for the site inspection – which serves to confirm not just that the land is free from acquisition, but also that all the physical and geographical attributes of the property are in agreement with the plan.
Because of the high incidence of property fraud especially in Lagos, the inspection stage is one that must not be overlooked (unless of course, you are a politician and are unlikely to be rendered homeless if the 419ers lay their hands on you). To the rest of the hard-working Nigerians who work hard for their money – home or abroad, investigation is a crucial part of the property buying process. You will need a lawyer who knows his onions, and a land surveyor familiar with the area to investigate the property you’re about to purchase. “What exactly am I investigating?” you ask? I’ll tell you what : 1. You’re checking if the property is owned by someone other than the person selling it to you. 2. You’re also checking that the land you are being sold is not in the governments plans for a mainroad in 25 years time.
Good luck with your search, and don’t forget to Shine your eye!