Land Acquisition in Nigeria

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Introduction and Major hindrances of 1978 Land use Act:

In the Niger Delta region, the traditional land holding system have been thwarted by the land use act as the interest of a majority of the people have been hijacked by a few powerful individual who now control land and land resources in collaboration with multinational companies. In most part of southern Nigeria, particularly the Niger Delta region, the administration of Landwas carried out under the customary tenure.

At this point of time Nigeria was under military dictatorship.Following are a couple of the drawbacks of the Act:

1)Power of Governor to revoke rights of occupancy.

The main fault of the Land Use Act of 1978 was that it transferred title and ownership of land from individuals and communities to the governors who hold the land in trust but many of whom have been known to have abused the power and privileges conferred on them by the Act. It also made acquisition of land by individuals and corporate bodies for commercial and economic development purposes extremely difficult. Despite all the cries and agitations for review of the Act, the federal government obstinately refused to embark upon such review exercise. To further worsen the situation, the federal government placed the Act under the 1999 Constitution thus making it extra difficult to review and amend it because any such review and amendment will have to go through the same process as stipulated for the review and amendment of the Constitution itself. 2)Power of Governor to grant rights of occupancy free of rent or at reduced rent.

This greatly increased the chances of lobbying with the government and obtaining land for free.The corporates couls lease land at cheap rate and give them away for rent or build huge plants and profit billions a share of which would not be obtained by the society.

Land Tenure System In Nigeria
The different land Tenure systems practiced in Nigeria have some basic common features which include dependence on the following:

Ethnic geographic location

The Niger Delta region of Nigeria is situated within the Gulf of Guinea and covers an area of approximately 80, 000 square kilometres representing about 8% of Nigeria’s land mass.


Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups with a population of 149,229,090. Employment opportunities in the industry for local communities is limited. The very high capital– labour ratio in the oil industry meant that growth in the oil operation is generally reflected not inrelative expansion of employment but in capital

Cultural hierarchy

Land ownership was defined by clans, villages, families etc.Application for a landed property required prior approval by his Royal Majesty. People are predominantly farmers and fishermen.

Economic conditions

Nigerian economy depends mainly on oil and gas and the country’s crude oil production within the Niger Delta region averages over 2,118million barrels per day. On the average 90 -95% of Nigeria’s export revenue is derived from oil and gas

Economic reforms

Prior to December 2006, of the 89 banks in Nigeria, the Big 4 banks control 55% of industry deposit. Top 20 banks control 90% of assets, while others are small players. After the capitalization of Banks to N25bn, about 11 of 25 Nigerian Banks are now within the top 18 in Africa and among the top 1000 in the world.

Major Reforms in the Public Sector:

• Due Process on the execution of government projects and procedures. • Indigenization and local content for Oil and Gas which created unprecedented opportunities • Due to Oil exploration and exploitation activities, construction of export pipelines, Tank farms and other onshore oil facilities, a lot of farm land is lost or forfeited. In addition, as a result of waste generated from oil and gas related activities, water is polluted, biotic and aquatic environment are degraded. It is sad to...
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