Land will always remain the most valuable aspects of human life. It is a source of wealth. To make the land in Nigeria accessible to all people, dozens of years ago, governments passed several acts. They regulate land management in Nigeria. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of the land use decree in Nigeria!
Land reform in Nigeria
Before the adoption of the Nigeria land use act, there were three central sources of land law. The first one was Customary Law. It changed according to tradition. The second one was English received law. This act included the common law and doctrine of equity. It also comprised of the status of a General application.
The third land law was local legislation. There was also the duplicity of Land Use System in Nigeria.
The parliament of Northern Nigeria passed the Land Tenure Act in 1962. This law managed all interests that affected land ownership.
This Nigerian Land Use Act entrusted everything to the governor. He had to keep the land in trust for the people.
Other people could be presented only with the right of residence.
In the Southern Nigeria at that time, the habitual tenure system regulated land interest. The land was owned by different fraternities and families. People could acquire land only by inheritance or first settlement. It was possible with transportation, gift or purchase.
There were royal lands which were acquired by the British Crown through a concord or agreement. Such coronary land became a responsibility of the state after the Federal Nigerian Republic became independent.
Disadvantages of land use decree
Despite the laws that governed the land, area management issues remained throughout Nigeria. There were also new problems. For example, speculation. The landowners demanded compensations each time when the government acquired an area for improvement. It followed that the acquisition of the land by the authority became practically impossible.
One of the main aspects of the implementation of the second improvement plan for the period from 1975 to 1980 was the absence of land for development work.
The Federal Military Government created a number of groups to solve this problem. They knew about the importance of land use planning. This is a general word used in the field of urban planning. The authorities adopt land use preparation to regulate the improvement of land inside their jurisdictions.
As a result, the Land Use Panel of 1977 became the basis of the 1978 Nigeria Land Use Act.
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Land Use Decree 1978
The Land Use Decree was declared on 29th March 1978. This act was adopted in accordance with the recommendations of a minority report. It entrusted all the land in every state of the Federation to the administrator of that state.
The act applies to all lands that are in the territory of each state in the hands of military administrators. They will own the land in a trustful relationship with the people.
The announcement of this act was due to two major factors:
1. First of all, the diversification of customary acts on land tenure. There were complications in applying the different traditions of the citizens.
2. The second determinant was unrestrained practice in southern Nigeria in regards to dishonest sales of an area. One land could be sold to different people. Such situations generated many lawsuits.
Local authorities could grant ordinary residence rights to any person for different purposes. It was possible on the condition that grants for land for agricultural purposes would not exceed 500 or 5000 hectares. The law also authorized the local government to use any land for public purposes. It could cancel the customary right for living on such land. And only with the approval of local government can the owner according to customary right claim anything.
The critical analysis of The Land Use Act of 1978 helped to clarify to what extent it improved the land administration in Nigeria. As we have already found out, there are advantages and disadvantages to the land use decree in the country. The law is not without its shortcomings, just like every person. Perhaps soon there will be some ways to improve this act.