8 September 2017

Nigeria: Environmental Rights Activists Canvass Amendment of Land Use Act

Abuja — The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) yesterday sought the amendment of the Land Use Act.

Its Executive Director, Dr Godwin Uyi Ojo, at a stakeholders' meeting on securing communal tenure rights to land in Abuja, maintained that the inconsistencies inherent in the law were being manipulated by the elite to the detriment of the common citizens.

He argued that the lacunae had created a thriving environment for land-grabbing, the root cause of food shortages in the country.

Ojo said: "The land use Act is begging for amendment because it has so much inconsistencies. It is subject to abuse and it is being manipulated.

"Although it is an issue that is in the concurrent list subject to constitutional means for its amendment.

"But the issue of overriding powers from the governors and the politicians to take the land for the overarching interest of the state has been manipulated severally and this is how large-scale land acquisition and grabbing are being perpetrated in Nigeria."

He went on: "The result is severe. It is leading to scarcity of land for farmland. It will surprise you to know that farmers are hiring lands to farm. So, that distorts the level of production and the amount of food produced in the country."

Expressing worry over the spate of land-grabbing in the country, Ojo made reference to the 30,000 hectares of land acquired by PZ Wilmar in Cross River state, in addition to the request for additional 50,000 hectares and another 30, 750 hectares secured by Okomu Oil in alleged breach of Environmental

Impact Assessment (EIA) as instances of lost assets meant for cultivation of arable crops to feed the populace as well as generate income for local farmers.

The activist advocated for a community-based forest management system to right the prevailing lapses.


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