Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: FG Allays Stakeholders' Fears Over Land Reforms

Federal Government has allayed the fears of land owners and other stakeholders over planned reform of management and administration of land in the country, noting that the reform is aimed at revoking existing land documents such as Certificate of Occupancy (C of O).

Chairman, Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform, Prof. Peter Adeniyi, said the reform is neither meant to repeal the Land Use Act nor usurp the powers of state governors and local government chairmen over land administration or deny individuals, communities or corporate bodies of the right to their lands, but to strengthen capacity for efficient administration of land.

He lamented that only 3 percent of the nation's land is currently registered. "It is important at this point to state categorically that the land reform programme of the Federal Government is not intended to abrogate the Land Use Act or usurp the powers of the state governors and local government chairmen on land administration or deny individuals or communities the right to their land.

But what we want to do is to see how it can be made workable. "As it is now, there is not much that can be achieved from it; but by the time we are through with the assignment, we would have interacted with people and communities across the country to actually know how to make our land economically viable, not only for land owners but also to government's as well," he stated.

Adeniyi said the committee was mandated to look into land matters in both rural and urban areas of the country with the objective of developing and testing a systematic approach to registration that would develop nationally acceptable procedures for land titling and registration.

He said is currently implementing a pilot scheme in Ondo and Kano states in a bid to provide systematic identification and registration of title rights. According to him, "5,000 parcels of land would be registered from two locations in each of the states.

We will take one in an urban area and the other from a rural area. We are going to adopt the systematic approach of land registration rather than the existing sporadic approach. Facts have shown that investments flow naturally and more to countries with land registration system while those without comprehensive land registration would have nothing to attract foreign investors with," he asserted.

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