A good legal restriction on sale of land in Nigeria is the Land Use Act of 1978. It has the following restrictions –
1.     Before a party can sale land to another which is subject to statutory right of occupancy, the consent of the Governor of such State is required – sections 22 and 26 of the Land Use Act.
2.     A person under the age of 21 (twenty-one) cannot be granted a statutory right of occupancy or subletting of a statutory right of occupancy by the Governor of a State – section 7 of the Land Use Act.
3.     Without the approval of the National Council of States, a non-Nigerian cannot be granted a statutory or customary right of occupancy – section 46(1) of the Land Use Act.
4.     Where it is a land belonging to a community (communal land) or family land, the consent of the principal members and heads of the communal land or family must be obtained before there can be a valid sale – Adeleke v. Iyanda (2001) 6 SCNJ 101; Odekilekun v. Hassan (1997) 12 SCNJ 114.
5.     Covenant in a lease may also restrict the sale and transfer of land.
6.     The Nigerian Coal Authority Act, Cap. 95, LFN 2004, also provides that the corporation shall not alienate... or charge any land vested in the land ... without the prior approval of the Minister – section 12(4) of the Act. In Rockonoh Property Co. Ltd. V. NITEL Plc (2001) FWLR (Pt. 67) 885 at 910, the court observed that “it must be accepted that the absence of the necessary ministerial approval or consent is a serious defect which affects the title sought to be conferred by the relevant instrument”.
7.     Town planning laws and regulations may also restrict the alienation of certain lands where the purposes for which they are intended to be used are contrary to the purposes of town and planning laws. For example, an industrial place designated for such purpose should strictly be abided to rather than using it for something else.
8.     The Land Development (Provision for Roads) Law, Cap. L57, Laws of Lagos State, 2003 states that the sale of any land which is the prescribed authority has directed to be reserved for roads development, shall be null and void.
9.     Doctrine of ‘Lis Pendis’ meaning ‘pending law suit’ which is to signify the power and control of a court of law while legal proceeding is pending; the effect of which is to restrict the sale of any interest in land – Ezomo v. N. N. B. Plc. (2007) All FWLR (Pt. 368) 1032.
This doctrine would apply in cases where it can be shown by a party that at the time of such sale or purchase of the property, there is a –
i.               Pending suit in respect of the property;
ii.              The action or the lis was in respect of real property;
iii.            The object of the action was to recover or assert title to a specific real property; and
iv.            The party concerned was aware or ought to be aware of the pending suit – Bua v. Dauda (2003) FWLR (Pt. 172) 1892.

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