Nigeria

Surveyor-General: Nigeria’s land tenure system impeding progress

Surveyor-General of the Federation, Mr. Taiwo Adeniran, has stated that the current land tenure system practiced in the country is incapable of unleashing private sector-led entrepreneurship and critical development needed in Nigeria.

Surveyor-General of the Federation, Mr. Taiwo Adeniran, has stated that the current land tenure system practiced in the country is incapable of unleashing private sector-led entrepreneurship and critical development needed in Nigeria.

Adeniran stated this while delivering a paper titled: ‘Surveying Practice in Federal Capital Territory: The Burden of Land Tenure System and Lack of Adaptability to Change’, at a seminar organised by the Association of Private Practicing Surveyors of Nigeria (APPSN).

The surveyor-general complained that the Land Proclamation Ordinance enacted by Lord Lugard in 1900 disregarded the principle of native law and customs, and provided that title to land can only be acquired through the high commissioner.

He posited that the ordinance was enacted to kill the institution of family and communal land ownership by facilitating the acquisition of title to land through the high commissioner. While also criticising the Land and Native Rights Act of 1916, Adeniran said the present land ownership system in Nigeria as enshrined in the Land Use Act of 1978 had its origin in the 1916 document enacted in the North by the colonial masters.

According to him, “This shows the colonial socialist inclinations with excessive state control of land ownership, use and development. The system cannot effectively support private sector-driven enterprises and development initiatives as it creates too much bureaucracy in the documentation of land transactions, land registration, and land titling.

“Therefore, there is lockup capital in the land system, as it were, which does not support people empowerment. This is the major burden on the practice of surveying in the FCT as government is the major user of the practicing surveyors’ services.

“This is one of the reasons that necessitate the call for the repealing of the Land Use Act of 1978 and the introduction of Land Reform in 2007.”

He argued that without surveying and geospatial inputs, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations will not be achieved by 2030.

He, therefore, advised surveying professionals to come up with geospatial solutions that would facilitate the realisation of the goals and analyse the environment to prepare a proposal for government institutions that may want to deploy the innovations.

“Surveyors and geometricians must start thinking about solutions because surveying and geomatics are about solutions. Our major problem is that we wait for people to create jobs for us, whereas we have to create it and provide solutions for it,” he said.

Also, Chief Consultant, Arinmap Consultants, Layi Arinola, in his keynote address, pointed out the lack of understanding of the issues by the political leadership, and called on stakeholders to come together to save the surveying profession in Nigeria, which, according to him, is heading towards total collapse.

On his own, the FCT Chairman of APPSN, Solomon Olukotun, in his welcome address, disclosed that surveying practice in the FCT does not lack the requisite efforts from major stakeholders, but inadequate funding from the authorities.

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