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Husband and Wife cannot Buy and Own Property in Family Name

Husband and Wife cannot Buy and Own Property in Family Name

Husband and Wife Cannot Buy and Own Property in Family Name, like “Mr. & Mrs. Ahmed Okoro”.

By Onyekachi Umah, Esq (Tip 96)

In a Nigeria and across Africa where most women are trained (brainwashed or even forced) not to own property (especially landed property), it is common to find most land documents in the names of sons, boys, men, husbands, sugar-daddies and fathers. Even husbands and sugar-daddies gift land and houses in their names to their wives and mistresses without expecting a change of ownership, for obvious reasons.

In an attempt to change this narrative and support Women Economic Empowerment (WEE), some couples purchase land in their family names, like “Mr. & Mrs. Ahmed Okoro”, “Dr. & Mrs. Obinna Adeniran”, “Prophet & Evang. Oladeji Abubakar”. Unfortunately, such family names are mere social expressions and unknown to property law and cannot legally purchase and own land and landed property in Nigeria. This work reveals the correct and appropriate way to refer to and address a couple that jointly purchase and own a land or landed property in Nigeria.

“Mr. & Mrs. Xyz” or “Mr. & Mrs. Ahmed Okoro” cannot legally buy and own land or Landed Property in Nigeria. Really, in the eyes of property law, there cannot be any person or persons known by the above names. There are no means of identification that can substantiate such names not even a marriage certificate.

Only human beings of 21 years and above as well as corporate beings can buy, own, sell and transact on lands in Nigerian. Hence, “Mr. & Mrs. Ahmed Okoro” are not legally recognised human beings that can own land and transact on them, sue or be sued.

To avoid illegality, it is better done in full names of the husband or wife or both as separate beings. So, “Mr. Ahmed Okoro” or “Mrs. Shola Okoro” are human beings that can own land and landed property. If for any reasons, whether love or business, the above 2 persons want to jointly purchase and own a property, they can do so by referring to themselves as “Mr. Ahmed Okoro and Mrs. Shola Okoro” as the Purchaser or Seller. This also applies to tenancy relationships.


1. The Married Women Property Act 1882,

2. The Married Women Property Law 1959,

3. Section 7 of Land Use Act

4. Lion of Africa Insurance Co. Ltd V. Mr. and Mrs. Esan (1999) 8 NWLR (Pt. 614) 197.



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