By putting land administration under their care, Nigerian governors put themselves in a position to allocate lands to themselves and their cronies, Tajudeen Aluko, a Professor of Estate Management, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has said.
Mr Aluko spoke Wednesday during the 2021 Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Seminar (MCPD) of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The event was themed ‘Effective Land Administration System Toward Elegant Formal Land Market In Nigeria.’
Mr Aluko wondered how a governor would have enough time to administer lands when he should be busy with other developmental projects.
He said the governors were in the habit of enriching themselves and their political associates through acquiring other people’s land and allocating the same to those in their good books.
“The original landowners are the owners of their lands,” he said.
“Hiding under that cover, that is why you see governors enriching their friends, as a form of political patronage. If you don’t belong to their parties, you can’t get an allocation. It is land grabbing. Call it any other name, it is land grabbing.
“Most states will acquire land, they said it is public land. Before you know it, they will divide those lands among themselves. If you look at all the governors in this country, they put the land under their ministry. If a governor is serious, and he is truly interested in the development of their state, will he have time for administering land? He would have left the professionals to do it themselves.
“They all put the land under their ministry. So where there is a new site, they will first of all look at the site, grab some good choicy plots for his would-be political friends and ask the land allocators to allocate the rest. So, the land grabbers are the governors themselves.”
Mr Aluko said there is a need to amend the Land Use Act and give lands back to their real owners to “end the crisis of land-grabbing.”
“If there is true privatisation, must government regulate land? It is contradictory. The Land Use Act is not serving any useful purpose.”
“Section one of the Land Use Act did not remove the personal landowners as owners of their lands. But the land grabbers are hiding under that cover: because the state is not the owner.”
Also speaking at the event, Stephen Jagun, a surveyor, called on the Federal Government to review the Land Use Act to address the issue of land-grabbing in the country.
Mr Jagun said the act of land-grabbing in the country is becoming alarming, adding that the trend calls for immediate intervention before it gets out of control.
“In Ogun, we are very close to Lagos State. We are the next investment destination. All things are happening on land, all of them must be involved in how lands are being used or managed. The government itself makes money from land.”