1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Federal Republic of Nigeria comprises of thirty-six states with diverse people, culture, customary land tenure, and a total landmass of about 923,768 sq km.1 In spite of this abundant land mass and resources, land rights are becoming increasingly contentious right from the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates by lord Luggard in 1914. Nigerian people increasingly compete for access to arable land and pasture, and land right disputes are on the increase across the country. Property market development and population growth are important reasons, as are competing land uses, population mobility, and conflicts. In Nigeria, customary systems of land regulation are being weakened and abolished, and more formal regulative mechanisms being developed in other to address these constant land right issues. Land rights for many rural and urban dwellers are becoming insecure and unclear, and it is generally recognized that vulnerable groups like the poor, women, youth and indigenous peoples are particularly adversely affected. Land rights are increasingly contentious in Nigeria for two major reasons. First, land is an indispensable natural resource God endows on man. To an average Nigerian, land is the essence of human self-definition as the ability to own, control and use land is not only an important expression of both private and proprietary right but also a measure of economic wealth and power. Also, there are strong tensions between constitutional rights to property, customary and statutory land law and ownership arising from the enactment of the Land Use Act of 1978 (‘the Act’). Governments at different levels seek to control land resources, since the discharge of government responsibility necessarily and implicitly involves the manipulation and use of land.
Land Reform generally involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. It may consist of government initiated or government backed approach to property redistribution of land as in the case of Nigeria, an outright transfer of ownership of land from the citizens to the state. The common characteristic of land reforms is usually the modification or the replacement of existing institutional arrangements governing possession, use and title. Thus, while land reform may be radical in nature such as large scale confiscation and transfers of land from one group to another or from one group to the state, it can also be less drastic and conciliatory in nature such as less painful transfers of land to the state and regulatory reforms aimed at improving land administration (Dale, 2007).
Land is perhaps the single most important natural resource in the sense that it affects every aspect of a people’s live; their food, clothing, and shelter. It is the base for producing raw material for the manufacturing industry. It is an important resource. No nation-city or rural area can survive as an entity without it. Thus, every person in a nation – the banker, the industrialist, the labourer, the educator, the student, the planner, the farmer- has a vital stake in 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 effective managers of land. It is aimed to provide a systematic cadastral survey of land in the entire federation (a political entity called Nigeria). The Term of Reference makes it an essential body to assist both states and local government to carry out the cadastre survey and codify the 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 government in undertaking cadastral survey and to ensure the demarcation of land boundaries and title holdings are demarcated in such a way that communities, hamlets, villages, towns etc are recognized. It was also saddled with the responsibility of encouraging and assisting states and local government to establish adjudication mechanism for land ownership 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 economic development. For many of these, land titles are the main sources of collateralization for obtaining credit from informal and established financial institutions. Consequently, securing land rights and land titles is particularly relevant for all socio‐economic classes in the nation’s economy but especially to the farmers whose pervasive poverty to date derives from not having definitive property rights appropriate to a market economy. Furthermore, fees and taxes on such landed properties are very important sources of revenue for governments particularly at the State and Local Government levels. A national programme that thus sets out to enhance and secure the property 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 three tiers 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 be desired. The World Band publication on “Doing Business in Nigeria 2010” rated Nigeria 178th out 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 is not formally registered [whilst] informal titles cannot be used as security in obtaining loans which limits financing opportunities for businesses” especially small and medium‐size enterprises. If Nigeria is to meet the challenges of competing effectively in an increasingly globalizing world, it is thus imperative that it gives very urgent and sustained attention to promoting 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 Nigerian nation had had a multiplicity of land tenure system until the 1978 Land Use Act which harmonized 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 Federal Government 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 major aim of the study is to examine the impact of land reform on land right in Nigeria; other specific objectives of the study are
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho: There is a significant impact of land reform on land rights in calabar.
Hi: There is no significant impact of land reform on land rights in calabar.
1.7. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1.8 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the impact of land reforms on land rights in Calabar will cover all the issues and problems of land reform in Calabar. 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.
1.9 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.
OTHER SIMILAR LAW PROJECTS AND MATERIALS