The Broad Powers of State Governors under the Land Use Act, 1978 and Land Governance in Nigeria.

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The Broad Powers of State Governors under the Land Use Act, 1978 and Land Governance in Nigeria.



Background to study

Land administration systems entail the management of land as a natural resource to ensure its sustainable use and development. In other words, they are concerned with the social, legal, cultural, economic and technical framework within which land managers and administrators must operate.1 Good practice in land administration benefits not only the present generation, but also posterity. It operates as the instrument to ensure equitable access to land by stakeholders within the policy[1]framework of a country.[2] Furthermore, it determines how the system can offer security of tenure and how government can regulate land markets, implement land reform, protect the environment and levy land taxes to enhance the utility and value of land. A good land administration system will not only guarantee ownership and security of tenure, support land and property taxation, provide security for credit, develop and monitor land markets, and reduce land disputes, but it will also facilitate land reform, improve urban planning and infrastructure development, and support environmental management.[3]These positive indices of good land administration need to be seen in Nigeria given the need to diversify the country’s oil-dependent economy and encourage more private investments, particularly in agriculture and infrastructure development. Thus, a pristine examination of the law on land administration in Nigeria under the Land Use Act[4] is imperative at this inauspicious period of national life.

The Land Use Act, promulgated in 1978, was motivated by the need to make land accessible to all Nigerians; prevent speculative purchases of communal land; streamline and simplify the management and ownership of land; make land available to governments at all levels for development; and provide a system of government administration of rights that would improve tenure security.5


[1] Daniel Steudler, Abbas Rajabifard, and Ian P Williamson, “Evaluation of Land Administration Systems” (2004) 21 Land Use Policy 371.

[2] AN Ukaejiofo, “Perspectives in Land Administration Reforms in Nigeria” (2008) 2 Journal of the Environment 43.

[3] See generally, Gershon Feder and David Feeny, “Land Tenure and Property Rights: Theory and Implications for Development Policy” (1991) 5 The World Bank Economic Review 135; Ian Williamson and others, Land Administration for Sustainable Development (1st edn, ESRI Press 2010).

[4] Land Use Act 1978, The Complete 2004 Laws of Nigeria <http://> accessed 19 June 2018. (Land Use Act 1978). 5 ibid preamble.


The Broad Powers of State Governors under the Land Use Act, 1978 and Land Governance in Nigeria.

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