THE LAND USE ACT OF 1978: APPRAISAL, PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS

THE LAND USE ACT OF 1978: APPRAISAL, PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS


Abstract
From time immemorial through the period of agriculture to the period of industrial development, land has remained the most valuable property in the life of man and his development. It is a source of wealth to those who have it and the mother of all properties. In other words, virtually all the basic needs of human existence are land dependent. In view of the importance and usefulness of land to man and his development as well as the development of his society, every person generally desires to acquire and own a portion of land to achieve the various ends for which the land is meant. Therefore, to make land in Nigeria available to all and to ensure that land is acquired and put to a proper use for the needed development, governments during and after colonial period enacted laws to govern the use or administration of land in Nigeria.

Before the arrival of the colonial masters, there were customary laws which governed the administration of land in Nigeria. These customary laws varied from one locality to another because of the differences in customs of the people. This accounted for the multiplicity of land laws in Nigeria prior to the promulgation of the Land Use Act of 1978. These laws were applied in each region to regulate land in the region.

Notwithstanding the existence of laws regulating land, the problems of land tenure and land administration persisted both in the Northern and Southern Nigeria. There were new problems such as land racketeering and speculations. Exorbitant compensations were demanded by landowners whenever the government acquired land for development. Thus, acquisition of land by government or individuals was becoming almost impossible in Nigeria.

In fact, one of the major factors that was said to be a stumbling block against efficient implementation of the Second Development Plan 1975-1980, was lack of land for development project. To break this barrier and monopolies of landlords, the Federal Military Government set up some panels to consider how best to solve the problems associated with land tenure and administration in Nigeria. The report of one of these panels i.e., the Land Use Panel of 1977 eventually formed the basis of the Land Use Act No. 6 of 1978.

The purpose of this essay therefore, is to critically examine the Land Use Act of 1978 to see the extent to which it has enhanced the administration of land in Nigeria. In this connection, reforms and innovations introduced by the Act to improve the administration of land are critically examined. Bearing in mind that every being has its scar, the Act is not without shortcomings. In this regard, this study further beams its search lights in figuring out the inherent problems of the Act. Finally, this work makes recommendations on how to improve the Act in view of the recent proposal by Government to review the Act.
From time immemorial through the period of agriculture to the period of industrial development, land has remained the most valuable property in the life of man and his development. It is a source of wealth to those who have it and the mother of all properties. In other words, virtually all the basic needs of human existence are land dependent. In view of the importance and usefulness of land to man and his development as well as the development of his society, every person generally desires to acquire and own a portion of land to achieve the various ends for which the land is meant. Therefore, to make land in Nigeria available to all and to ensure that land is acquired and put to a proper use for the needed development, governments during and after colonial period enacted laws to govern the use or administration of land in Nigeria.

Before the arrival of the colonial masters, there were customary laws which governed the administration of land in Nigeria. These customary laws varied from one locality to another because of the differences in customs of the people. This accounted for the multiplicity of land laws in Nigeria prior to the promulgation of the Land Use Act of 1978. These laws were applied in each region to regulate land in the region.

Notwithstanding the existence of laws regulating land, the problems of land tenure and land administration persisted both in the Northern and Southern Nigeria. There were new problems such as land racketeering and speculations. Exorbitant compensations were demanded by landowners whenever the government acquired land for development. Thus, acquisition of land by government or individuals was becoming almost impossible in Nigeria.

In fact, one of the major factors that was said to be a stumbling block against efficient implementation of the Second Development Plan 1975-1980, was lack of land for development project. To break this barrier and monopolies of landlords, the Federal Military Government set up some panels to consider how best to solve the problems associated with land tenure and administration in Nigeria. The report of one of these panels i.e., the Land Use Panel of 1977 eventually formed the basis of the Land Use Act No. 6 of 1978.

The purpose of this essay therefore, is to critically examine the Land Use Act of 1978 to see the extent to which it has enhanced the administration of land in Nigeria. In this connection, reforms and innovations introduced by the Act to improve the administration of land are critically examined. Bearing in mind that every being has its scar, the Act is not without shortcomings. In this regard, this study further beams its search lights in figuring out the inherent problems of the Act. Finally, this work makes recommendations on how to improve the Act in view of the recent proposal by Government to review the Act.

Table of Content
COVER PAGE
CERTIFICATION PAGE
ABSTRACT
iii TABLE OF CONTENTS
DEDICATION
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
TABLE OF CASES
TABLE OF STATUTES
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

CHAPTER 1
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.0.0. INTRODUCTION
1.1.0. BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.2.0. OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
1.3.0. FOCUS OF THE STUDY
1.4.0. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
1.5.0. METHODOLOGY
1.6.0. LITERATURE REVIEW
1.7.0. DEFINITION OF TERMS
1.8.0. CONCLUSION.

CHAPTER 2
THE NECESSITY OF THE LAND USE ACT OF 1978
2.0.0INTRODUCTION
2.1.0NATURE OF LAND HOLDING PRIOR TO THE PROMULGATION OF THE ACT
2.1.1CUSTOMARY SYSTEM OF LAND TENURE
2.1.2NON CUSTOMARY SYSTEM OF LAND TENURE
2.1.3THE SPECIAL LAND TENURE SYSTEM IN THE FORMER NORTHERN NIGERIA
2.2.0HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE LAND USE ACT
2.3.0IDEOLOGICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL BASIS FOR THE PROMULGATION OF THE LAND USE ACT
2.4.0EFFECT OF THE LAND USE ACT ON THE PRE-EXISTING LAND LAWS IN NIGERIA
2.4.1THE LAND USE ACT AND CUSTOMARY LAND LAW AND TENURE
2.4.2THE LAND USE ACT AND THE RECEIVED ENGLISH LAND LAW AND TENURE.
2.4.3THE LAND USE ACT AND THE LAND TENURE LAW, 1962
2.5.0CONCLUSION.

CHAPTER 3
THE LAND USE ACT: REFORMS & INNOVATIONS
3.0.0. INTRODUCTION
3.1.0. POLICIES INTENDED BY THE ACT
3.1.1UNIFORM LAND POLICY
3.1.2STATE OWNERSHIP, CONTROL AND TRUSTEESHIP POLICY
3.1.3PLANNED DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION POLICY.
3.1.4LAND USE POLICY
3.1.5RIGHT OF OCCUPANCY OR LEASEHOLD POLICY
3.1.6CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY
3.1.7REDISTRIBUTION AND EQUITABLE POLICY
3.1.8ALIENABILITY OF A RIGHT OF OCCUPANCY
3.1.9PROSCRIPTION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FELLOW NIGERIANS
3.1.10REVOCATION OF A RIGHT OF OCCUPANCY UNDER THE ACT
3.1.11THE ACT, A SOURCE OF GOVERNMENT REVENUE
3.2.0CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 4
THE LAND USE ACT, PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS
4.0.0INTRODUCTION
4.1.0PROBLEMS OF THE ACT
4.1.1PROBLEMS IN RESPECT OF TRUST CONCEPT INTRODUCED BY THE ACT
4.1.2PROBLEM IN RESPECT OF POWER CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT BY THE STATE
4.1.3THE ATTITUDE OF FORMER LAND OWNERS TO THE ACT
4.1.4CONSENT REQUIREMENT AND ITS ATTENDANT PROBLEMS
4.1.5THE GOVERNORS UNFETTERED POWER TO DESIGNATE CERTAIN AREAS AS URBAN LAND.
4.1.6THE HALF HECTARE RULE BY THE ACT IS CONFISCATORY
4.1.7FINALITY OF DECISION OF THE LAND USE AND ALLOCATION COMMITTEE.
4.1.8THE GOVERNOR CONCURRENT POSSESSION WITH THE OCCUPIERS RIGHT, A BAR TO ACTIONABLE TRESPASS
4.1.9THE GOVERNOR EXCLUSIVE POWER OF REVOCATION UNDER THE ACT
4.1.10THE DISCRIMINATORY AND RESTRICTIVE NATURE OF THE ACT
4.1.11THE ACT AND THE CONSTITUTION
4.2.0CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
5.0.0. CONCLUSION
5.1.0.RECOMMENDATION
BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Land Use Act Of 1978. Appraisal, Problems And Prospects