Evolution of Land Legislation in Nigeria

Topics: Nigeria, Real property law, Land tenure Pages: 3 (905 words) Published: September 12, 2009

By Oluwatosin O. Obiyomi and Adeyemi S. Ifaturoti
Department of Estate Management
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Email: addyfax02@gmail.com
Mobile number: +234 706 270 9658, +234 806 420 5023
February 2009.

The territory now known as Nigeria comprises of various communities with diverse cultures and disparate customs which guide the ownership and control of land. This is commonly referred to as the customary land tenure law. Nigeria is located on the western coast of Africa, bordered by the Sahara Desert in the north, the Bight of Benin in the west, Cameroon in east and Atlantic Ocean in the south. The land mass of Nigeria is estimated to be 923,768 sq. km while population is put at about 140,000,000 as at 2007. This represents up to 20% of Africa’s population, and Nigeria is among the fastest growing of the world countries, with about 2.38% growth rate. The major tribes in Nigeria are Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo while Christianity, Islam and the indigenous African Traditional Religion are the major religions in the country.

The operating land law in Nigeria is premised on the received English Land Law which is also known as the Law of Real Property, comprising the principles of Common Law and the doctrine of Equity which were applicable as at 1st January 1900 in England by the virtue of Treaty of Cession 1861 the Queen of England became the overlord of Lagos and the then King Dosunmu became a subject of British rule. The British administration in Lagos colony used ordinances and proclamations to govern land policies in Lagos. As a result of the indirect rule system adopted by British administration, certain lands were compulsorily acquired for headquarters of British administration in Lagos colony and as a result the Public Lands Act 1876 was enacted. Territories outside Lagos were regarded as foreign territory and Foreign Jurisdictions Act 1890 was therefore promulgated. As a result of...
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