Effect of Land Use Act in Property Development

The land use Decree No. 6 of 1978 otherwise popularly called Land Use Act was promulgated on 29th March, 1978, the effective date of the commencement of its operation in Nigeria. It is a statutory approach or device used by the federal government to consolidate and harmonize the diverse tenures prevalent in the country before the promulgation. It aims at ensuring the protection of the rights of all Nigerians to enable them to provide for the sustenance of themselves and their families. It abolished the age long tradition of private ownership of land in the south and introduced a uniform system of land tenure through out the country.

Land tenure under this dispensation means that; one can not have an interest in land beyond the terms granted to him by the statute (usually 99 years) and such interest is renewable on expiration. The act vests all land comprised in the territory of each state (except land vested in the Federal Government for its agencies) solely in the hands of the military governors of the state who would hold such land in true for the people. Finally, the promulgation of this Act was as a result of two main factors; Firstly, was the diversity of customary laws on land tenure and difficulty in applying the various customs of the different peoples.

The second factor was the rampant practice in southern Nigeria with regards to fraudulent sales of land. The same land would be sold to different persons at the same time giving rise to so many litigations.

1.1BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Land being the most universal, most valuable, probably the most controversial assets, the one and the only foundation of all human activities, requires a planned system of holding, control and regulations so as to avoid misuse and abuse of rights thereof.

In the words of Taslim O. Elias, (a renowned Jurist). “The indigenous system does not admit that land can ever be without an owner” indeed, if land (Real property), were to be a “res nullius” (something belonging to none), it will be valueless in the economic sense, there will be no question of compulsory acquisition, purchase, revocation and subsequent compensation. It way not be out of place to suggest that without valid control and regulation, ownership of land may depend purely on the physical strength of an individual or how violent the person can be. Such situation will definitely be anchoretic.

This work therefore unraveled the effects of Land Use Act, 1978 to prospective investors on real property (land), estate surveyors, private individuals etc, particularly in Enugu urban. Since its promulgation however, the land use Act has been under intense fire as virtually almost every part of it has been criticized. The Act hardly went down well with traditional Nigeria, mainly because of the factors of interest in communal land ownership comprising several dead ancestors, relatively few living members and countless unborn generations.

Many of their forefathers and mothers lost their lives in the process of acquiring the lands and were buried there. Unless their bodies and bones are exhumed, it remains a taboo to leave those lands. One therefore observes the existence of several motives and circumstances attracted to land ownership. In traditional Nigeria, many of which are non – economic and therefore cannot assuaged monetarily since the owners do not sale, alienate or part with land as freely or easily as other commodities. Professionally speaking, land and its attributes, features and components embodies value – in – encounter.

1.2STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM From the above discussions, certain questions might be identified that certainly, needs answers. They include; 1.Is the land use decree 1978 (now Land Use Act) implemented to its fullest apart from over use of such powers by state governors? 2. What are the problems associated with the techniques for valuing properties compulsorily acquired for compensation under the act? 3.What is the effect of the Act on compensation?

4.What adjustments should be done to the compensation, revocation of rights of occupancy for overriding public interests, allocation of land for Agriculture and grazing sections of this Act? 5.What should be the appropriate technique for valuing properties compulsory acquired for compensation purposes under the Act? 6.What should be the appropriate technique for zoning of land and building and valuing properties compulsorily acquired compensation purpose under the Act? 7.What effect has the Act posed on the price mechanism of land and buildings?

1.3AIMS AND OBJECTIVES The objectives of this research would be as follows: a)To ascertain whether the powers exercised by the state governors under Land Use Act and the general over – view of this Act pose a threat to effective land use. b)To identify the possible problems associated with property development as a result of the Act. c)Suggesting the necessary adjustments that need to be made to the revocation, compensation of rights of occupancy in sections of this Act, in order to promote property development. d)Suggesting an appropriate technique for valuing properties compulsorily acquired under the Act.

e)To suggest the right professional capable in assisting the government on land transactions and other improvements on land. f)Suggesting towards ensuring adequate compensation for a revoked right of occupancy. g)Finally, proffering ways of reflecting the realities of social, traditional and economic norms posed by the Land Use Act to the modern society.

1.4SCOPE OF THE STUDY This work unraveled the roles of Land Use Act in property development in Lagos State. Major areas on the island were being used due the large land mass and the fact that these were the areas where property developments are more pronounced. Although lands within Enugu Urban are revoked by the public bodies for overriding public interest without putting it for what it was revoked for. The scope of the study therefore uses the four zones to represent other areas in Enugu urban where property developments take place. Such rights of communal land owner and property owners were usurped by the government thereby reducing their rights of occupancy to 99 years lease instead of allodia or absolute ownership.

1.5LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY This research work was highly tideous, though extremely educative. The researcher therefore, encountered constraints during the course of this project especially finance, which made him redistrict the study to certain areas. Again time factor limited this study as I shared time among the project and other academic work. More so, the commitments of the researcher to the welfare of Estate Management Association (EMA) IMT as the president slightly delayed this work.

The provisions of the Land Use Act are too extensive to be compressed into few pages. For the purpose of this study, only the arrangements of sections and the provisions pertaining to valuation and its effects are covered. Although the scope of this work was limited by time and finance, the researcher was able to carryout the work to completion.

1.6SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY The study of the Land Use Act No. 6, 1978 with eight (8) parts and fifty one (51) sections is the most significant land policy currently in force in Nigeria. The study will be of benefit to the government o its planning control and property acquisition procedures. Most intending property development are scared by the compensation tedinque if a property is revoked by the governor for overriding public interest, hence, this study will assist the developers for prudent appraisals.

State surveyors and values coded apply the result of this research. Work in their future valuation for compulsory acquisition and in their advisory role to the public. Students and lecturers in Estate management Professional will not find this work insignificant as it explained areas of controversy in this act. With this input in Estate Management Professional, property developers will increase geometrically as recommendations preferred in this work will improve the compensation receivable by them in the event of revocation of their property rights by public bodies.

1.7BASIS OF THE RESEARCH STUDY The basis of this research is solely on land use. The speculators, private investors, the estate surveyors and valuers, farmers etc. who normally perform daily activities on land to earn their livings. With these cadres of works of life, one can easily detect the negative and positive impacts of the Land Use Act to the entire society.

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