This study is on land reforms in Nigeria, issues, challenges and solutions. This study was guided by the following objectives; To provide an overview on the issues of land reforms in Nigeria.To examine the problems of land reforms in Nigeria. To analyze the solution to the problems of land reform in Nigeria. The study employed the descriptive and explanatory design; questionnaires in addition to library research were applied in order to collect data. Primary data sources were used and data was analyzed using the chi-square statistical tool at 5% level of significance which was presented in frequency tables and percentage. The respondents under the study were 68staff of Akwaibom state ministry of works and housing.The study findings revealed that there are problems or challenges of effecting implementation of land reforms in Nigeria; based on the findings from the study, efforts should be made by the Nigerian government and stakeholders in ensuring effecting land reforms in Nigeria.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Land Reform generally involves the changing of laws,regulations or customs regarding land ownership. It may consistof government initiated or government backed approach toproperty redistribution of land as in the case ofNigeria, an outright transfer of ownership of land from thecitizens to the state. The common characteristic of land reformsis usually the modification or the replacement of existinginstitutional arrangements governing possession, use and title.Thus, while land reform may be radical in nature such as largescale confiscation and transfers of land from one group toanother or from one group to the state, it can also be lessdrastic and conciliatory in nature such as less painful transfersof land to the state and regulatory reforms aimed at improvingland administration (Dale, 2007).
Land is perhaps the single most important natural resource in the sense that it affects everyaspect of a people’s live; their food, clothing, and shelter. It is the base for producing rawmaterial for the manufacturing industry. It is an important resource. No nation-city or ruralarea can survive as an entity without it. Thus, every person in a nation – the banker, theindustrialist, the labourer, the educator, the student, the planner, the farmer- has a vital stakein the country’s land problems and its proper utilization (Acquaye, 1976).
The Land Reform committee in Nigeria is aimed towards enabling the states to be effectivemanagers of land. It is aimed to provide a systematic cadastral survey of land in the entirefederation (a political entity called Nigeria). The Term of Reference makes it an essentialbody to assist both states and local government to carry out the cadastre survey and codifythe possessory rights of vast majority of the people access to land and landowners. The Term of Reference necessitate the body to collaborate and provide technical assistance to state and local governmentin undertaking cadastralsurvey and to ensure the demarcation of land boundaries and title holdings are demarcated in such away that communities, hamlets, villages, towns etc are recognized. It was also saddled with the responsibility of encouraging and assisting states and local governmentto establish adjudication mechanism for landownership conflict resolution and to make recommendation for mechanism for valuation in both rural and urban areas.
Security of tenure and land rights of citizens is an important foundation for economicdevelopment. For many of these, land titles are the main sources of collateralization for obtainingcredit from informal and established financial institutions. Consequently, securing land rightsand land titles is particularly relevant for all socio‐economic classes in the nation’s economy butespecially to the farmers whose pervasive poverty to date derives from not having definitiveproperty rights appropriate to a market economy. Furthermore, fees and taxes on such landedproperties are very important sources of revenue for governments particularly at the State andLocal Government levels. A national programme that thus sets out to enhance and secure theproperty rights of all groups in the society can only end up creating a economic empowerment.
Funding Land Reform programme should therefore be a national effort to be borne by all threetiers of government in proportion to their capabilities (Mabogunje, 2007).
For a country striving to be one of the twenty largest economies in the world by the year 2020,the situation with respect to land rights and transactions in land still leaves very much to bedesired. The World Band publication on “Doing Business in Nigeria 2010” rated Nigeria 178thout of 183 economies in respect of difficulties of registering properties in the country.
Mabogunje (2007) attributed this to the following reason “a large share of land in the country isnot formally registered [whilst] informal titles cannot be used as security in obtaining loanswhich limits financing opportunities for businesses” especially small and medium‐sizeenterprises. If Nigeria is to meet the challenges of competing effectively in an increasinglyglobalizing world, it is thus imperative that it gives very urgent and sustained attention topromoting its land reform program in all of its ramifications to facilitate property development.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Land Titling and Registration is essential for economic development of a Nation. The Nigeriannation had had a multiplicity of land tenure system until the 1978 Land Use Act whichharmonized all the systems.
The land use pattern in Nigeria estimated arable land to be about 33% of the total land area, permanent pastures cover 44%, permanent crops cover 3%, forest and woodlands 12%, and others 8%. Thus land is still the main asset of the rural Nigerians where over 80% are peasant farmers; however this asset has not been fully utilized for economic empowerment because they do not have proper records and titles that can be used as collateral to raise capital.It is in an attempt to economically empower the vast majority of Nigerians, who are rural dwellers, by turning their land holdings to economic capital, that the current FederalGovernment of Nigeria initiated the Land Reform Agenda. However, the researcher is providing an overview of land reforms in Nigeria considering the issues and prospects.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on land reforms in Nigeria will cover all the issues and problems of land reform in Nigeria. It will cover the activities of the regulatory framework and the accessibility of land to Nigerians for use.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Reforms: make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it.
Land: the part of the earth's surface that is not covered by water.
Mabogunje, A.L. (2007). Development as Societal Transformation and Empowerment.Lecture Delivered at the Retreat of the People’s Democratic Party, Abuja, January 8.
Dale, Peter. 2007. “Good Land Administration – It’s Role in the Economic Development”Keynote Speech on Land Administration in Transition International Workshop,Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. June 27 -29.
Solomon, A.O. (1991): Title to land in Nigeria; An inaugural Lecture delivered at ObafemiAwolowo University, Ile-Ife, On June 1991.
Osei-Bonsu. S.N. (1983): Alternative Approaches and strategies to Rural DevelopmentStudies Vol. 3 Nos. 1 page 31-32.
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