Dangiwa: 1978 Land Use Act Requires Amendments

Dangiwa: 1978 Land Use Act Requires Amendments

Bennett Oghifo

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed M. Dangiwa, yesterday, called for legislative amendments to the Land Use Act of 1978, stating that it was a fundamental impediment to effective land administration in the country.

The minister made the call at the 28th Conference of Directors of Lands in Federal and State Ministries, Departments and Agencies, which took place in Lagos, yesterday.

The theme of this year’s Conference, was ‘Improving Land-Based Revenue of the Federating Units in Nigeria through Efficient and Effective Land Administration.’

Dangiwa said, “As the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, I must say that I am honestly not happy with the current state of land administration in the country. And the reasons are obvious. The same issues that were there decades ago are still there with us today.

“This includes, inadequate land information systems, complex land tenure systems, cumbersome and time-consuming land registration processes that contribute to delays and corruption in the system; the lack of a streamlined and transparent registration process that discourages investment and hinders economic development; inadequate urban planning which lead to informal settlements; congestion, and improper land use, inadequate legal and regulatory frameworks which results in legal uncertainties, making it difficult for individuals and businesses to navigate the land administration system with confidence.

“These are all problems that we all must fix. No one will do it for us. I must acknowledge that some of these problems are beyond the capacity of the Conference and Directors to resolve. Indeed, the most fundamental ones such as the Land Use Act 1978 requires legislative amendments and national government policy interventions.

“Currently, we have a situation where the Land Use Act was enacted in 1978 but there was no complementary institution set up alongside it to provide the necessary framework, guidelines, and regulations for operationalising it.

“We are working to establish a National Land Commission that would fix this gap and chart a new way forward for effective land administration in the country.

“This will improve land titling and boost Nigeria’s ranking on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business where we currently rank 186th out of 190 countries on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index in terms of ease of registering properties.

“However, there is a lot of room for innovation to circumvent the limitations posed by some of these barriers. We have seen in states such as Kaduna, Kano, where innovative leaders have found ways to implement reforms that have helped them ease land administration by introducing efficiencies in land titling and property registration despite the limitations of the Land Use Act. These states deserve our commendation.”

Land, he added, “is an economic resource that holds immense potential for revenue generation and sustainable development. However, to harness this potential, we must address the challenges within our land administration systems and strive for efficiency and effectiveness.”

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