In times before 1861 in Nigeria, Land ownership was purely based on customary rights (in Southern Nigeria) or right of occupancy (in Northern Nigeria).
The individual or community owned exclusive rights to property, In other words, the land was vested in them.
This posed a challenge however to the British Colonial Regime, who needed properties for developmental, Agricultural and Industrial purposes,
Hence land had to be compulsorily acquired from the communities and families.
By 1861 the Treaty of Cession embodied this concept and up till 1963 all lands was vested in “The Queen”.
And in 1963 when Nigeria became a republic, all lands were vested in the Federal Government.
This became a forerunner to the “Land Use Act of 1978”.
The intent of the act is to ensure land is available for state-driven developmental purposes effectively abolishing all forms of freehold
some experts, however, hold that this act should be reviewed or abolished entirely.
The Bureaucracy, cost and subsequent heavy levies that come with regularization coupled with the incessant government policies,
has resulted in investors shying away from taking on bold projects that will solve ever-rising housing deficit challenge in Nigeria.
Take Rwanda for instance, In 2016 the country topped the United Nations Human Development Index.
Now we all know that the factors considered for this go beyond money to include the welfare of its people in terms of Housing, Healthcare etc.
This growth can easily be linked to the country’s implementation of Land Reform and National land policy of 2004.
This made it easy for returning refugees and those that survived the genocide in the country in the early ’90s to access titles.
In view of this fact and the prevailing situation in Nigeria,
can it be said that the Land Use Act has done more harm than good?
What’s your take on this, kindly leave your comment below.