FAO.org

Home > Gender and Land Rights Database > Country profiles > Countries List > National Legal Framework > Land Legislation
Gender and Land Rights Database

Nigeria

Land Legislation

  • Land Use Act [Decree] of 1978, Chapter 202 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria:
    - Addresses four important issues arising from the former land tenure systems in the country: the problem of lack of uniformity in the laws governing land use and ownership; the issue of uncontrolled speculation in urban land; the question of access to land rights by Nigerians on an equal legal basis; and the issue of fragmentation of rural lands arising from the application of traditional principles of inheritance and/or population growth and the consequent pressure on land.

    - It approaches these issues via three related strategies: the vesting of proprietary rights in land in the State; the granting of usufructuary rights in land to individuals; and the use of an administrative system rather than market forces in the allocation of rights inland (19).

    - Vests all land compromised in the territory of each state, except land vested in the federal government or its agencies, in the Governor of the state, who will hold such land in trust for the people and will be responsible for allocating land in all urban areas for residential, agriculture, commercial and other purposes; similar powers, with respect to non-urban areas, are conferred on local governments which may grant rights of customary occupancy for land to be used for agricultural purposes.

    - In each state, a Land Use and Allocation Committee shall be established. This committee shall be responsible for advising the Governor on land management and resettlement issues. The Governor may declare that urban areas and land controlled by the military shall be administered separately.

    - The Governor may, in respect of land, whether or not in urban areas, grant statutory rights of occupancy to any person for all purposes and grant easements appurtenant to statutory rights occupancy.

    - The Governor may waive all or any of the covenant or conditions applying to a right of occupancy.

    - The local government may grant rights of customary occupancy for land to be used for agricultural purposes.

    - The Act further defines rights and duties of occupants and regulates the determination and payment of rents, the alienation and surrender of rights of occupancy, revocation of rights of occupancy and compensation therefore and some other matters of miscellaneous character. It shall be lawful for the Governor to revoke a right of [customary] occupancy for an overriding public interest (20).
  • Land Use [Validation of Certain Laws, etc.] Act of 1979 :
    -  Regularizes the issuance of regulations by state governments pursuant to the Land Use Act.

    - All laws and subsidiary legislation made at any time between the commencement of the Land Use Act and 30 September 1979 by any public officer of a state shall be deemed to have been validly made and shall have effect as if they had been made under or pursuant to the Land Use Act and accordingly, shall hereafter continue to have effect according to their tenor and intendment as if they were regulations made under or pursuant to Section 46 of that Act. 

    - All contracts and all executive, judicial and any instrument or other evidence relating to the allocation of any land, whether or not expressed to have been made under the Land Use Act, shall be deemed to have been validly issued or given under or pursuant to that Act and shall continue to have effect (20).
  • Federal Capital Territory Act of 1976, reprinted in 1999, Chapter 128 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria:
    - Provides for the creation of the Federal Capital Territory for the country and for the Federal Capital Development Authority which shall be responsible, among other things, for preparing a master plan for the capital city and other matters regarding land use with respect to town and country planning within the rest of the Capital Territory; providing municipal services; and establishing infrastructural services in accordance with the master plan. The Authority may make development orders for land and compulsorily acquire land to achieve its purposes (20).
  • National Agricultural Land Development Authority Decree of 1992:
    - Established in the Presidency the National Agricultural Land Development Authority. The management of the Authority shall be vested in a Governing Board. The objectives of the Authority shall be to: provide strategic public support for land development; promote and support optimum utilization of the country’s rural land resources for accelerated production of food and fibre; encourage and support economic-size farm holdings and promote consolidation of scattered fragment holdings; encourage the evolution of economic-size rural settlements; provide gainful employment opportunities for rural people, raise rural incomes and improve on the general living standards in rural areas; expand productive capacity in agriculture and regain export capability in traditional and non-traditional crops. 
  • For each Local Government Area of a state and the Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, a Local Government Project Implementation Advisory Panel is established under the control of the Authority (20).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography