Examining the Land Use Act of 1978 and Its Effects on Tenure Security in Nigeria: A Case Study of Ekiti State, Nigeria





Land administration, Land Use Act, Nigeria, tenure security, customary tenure system, customary law, customary ownership, pro-poor policy


The Land Use Act of 1978 (LUA) has failed to achieve some of its objectives. The rural poor and the vulnerable are those most affected. The failure is ascribed to problems inherent in the Act and poor implementation. This paper discusses the effect of the LUA on the customary ownership of land and its effect on the tenure security of the rural poor. Using a conceptual framework for guiding cadastral systems development, the critical areas of the LUA as pertains to tenure security are analysed for the degree of their success, sustainability, and significance. The framework looks at the underlying theory, the drivers of change, the change process, and the land administration system. A mixed methodology approach was adopted for the study, using a single case study. Three groups of respondents contributed to the study: land professionals, civil servants and students. The study found that securing title to land is difficult, compensation provisions need to be reviewed, formal land registration is not in the interest of the poor, land is not available at an affordable rate, land speculators are still active in Nigerian land markets, the composition of the two committees is inadequate, and the refusal to grant certificates to people below the age of 21 is age biased. It further revealed that the power granted to the governor is enormous and unnecessary. The findings showed that the LUA is both effective in some areas and dysfunctional in others. This is because of the age of the Act and the lack of a pro-poor policy focus. Based on these findings recommendations were made, including that a new policy be enacted that includes pro-poor policies and customary laws. The LUA is found to be useful in urban areas, but not in solving land-related problems in rural areas. This study provides an understanding of the legal holding of land in Nigeria.




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Author Biographies

Kehinde Hassan Babalola, University of Cape Town

Department of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics

Simon Antony Hull, University of Cape Town

Department of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics


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How to Cite

Babalola, K. H., & Hull, S. A. (2019). Examining the Land Use Act of 1978 and Its Effects on Tenure Security in Nigeria: A Case Study of Ekiti State, Nigeria. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 22, 1–34. https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2019/v22i0a5803




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