1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
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,
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
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
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 following are the objectives of this study:
- 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.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the issues of land reforms in Nigeria?
- What are the problems of land reforms in Nigeria?
- What are the solutions to the problems of land reform in Nigeria?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- Outcome of this study will educate the general public and
students on the issues, problems and solutions of land reforms in
Nigeria with a view of identifying the inadequacies.
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other
scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in
this field subsequently, if applied, it will go to an extent to
provide new explanation to the topic.
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
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 Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, On June 1991.
Osei-Bonsu. S.N. (1983): Alternative Approaches and strategies to Rural Development Studies Vol. 3 Nos. 1 page 31-32.