Examination Of The Effect Of Land Use Act On Land Use Pattern In Owerri Municipal

Project and Seminar Material for Estate Management

Examination Of The Effect Of Land Use Act On Land Use Pattern In Owerri Municipal


Real estate development and use of land are prompted primarily by the products and satisfaction that could be derived therefrom. It is a common knowledge that the Land Use Act has since its inception, provided answer to the socio-economic problem of making land readily available for desired objectives especially in the area of landed property development which is retarded in Owerri Municipal. This study which adopted the survey research approach, analyzed the effect of land use act on land use pattern in Owerri Municipal, Imo state as measured in terms of ease of accessibility, ease of acquisition and security of title with a view to formulating a workable proposal for an improvement on the existing land policy which will improve the rate of property development. Data were sourced through primary and secondary sources, which included questionnaires, interviews, and review of published and unpublished scholarly work. These data x-rayed the opinion of various land operators on the effects of the Land Use Act on land use pattern in Owerri Municipal. A sample size of 368 was selected from the study population of 4,650 made up of 250 staff of Redan, 400 Registered Estate Surveyors and 4,000 Landlords. Three hundred and fifty (350) or 95% of the 368 questionnaires randomly administered on the samples were retrieved. The data generated were analyzed in tables to answer the research questions formulated using frequencies and percentages. Three hypotheses which tested the three major effects of Land Use Act namely; lack of ease of accessibility to land, difficulty in land acquisition and lack of security of title to land were tested using Chi-square technique. The results of the test in which the X2 table value at 0.05∝ level of significance, 2df and 3df confirmed the reality of insecurity of title to land, inaccessibility and difficulty in land acquisition by the rejection of the Null Hypothesis. The study finally recommended that the Land Use Act be retained but with amendments of some sections, in order to accelerate the speed with which land is made available at reduced fees.


Table of Content

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Question
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisation of the Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Land Tenure System in Nigria Before the Act
  • 2.1.1 Northern States
  • 2.1.2 Western States
  • 2.1.3 Eastern States
  • 2.2 The Land Use Act of 1978
  • 2.2.1 Powers of the Governor and the Local Government Under the Act
  • 2.2.2 Rights and Privileges of a Holder
  • 2.2.3 Method of Acquiring Land Under the Decree of No. 6 1978
  • 2.2.4 Revocation of Rights Of Occupancy and Compensation
  • 2.2.5 Implementation of the Act
  • 2.2.6 Effects of the Land Use Act on Property Development

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population
  • 3.3 Sample and Sampling Technique
  • 3.4 Instrument for Data Collection
  • 3.5 Validity of the Instrument
  • 3.6 Reliability of the Instrument
  • 3.7 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.8 Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 Result
  • 4.2 Discussion

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

The land use Decree No. 6 of 1978 otherwise popularly called Land Use Act was promulgated on 29th March, 1978, the effective date of the commencement of its operation in Nigeria. It is a statutory approach or device used by the federal government to consolidate and harmonize the diverse tenures prevalent in the country before the promulgation. It aims at ensuring the protection of the rights of all Nigerians to enable them to provide for the sustenance of themselves and their families.

It abolished the age long tradition of private ownership of land in the south and introduced a uniform system of land tenure throughout the country.

Land tenure under this dispensation means that; one cannot have an interest in land beyond the terms granted to him by the statute (usually 99 years) and such interest is renewable on expiration.

The act vests all land comprised in the territory of each state (except land vested in the Federal Government for its agencies) solely in the hands of the military governors of the state who would hold such land in true for the people.
Finally, the promulgation of this Act was as a result of two main factors;

Firstly, was the diversity of customary laws on land tenure and difficulty in applying the various customs of the different peoples.

The second factor was the rampant practice in southern Nigeria with regards to fraudulent sales of land. The same land would be sold to different persons at the same time giving rise to so many litigations.

Land being the most universal, most valuable, probably the most controversial assets, the one and the only foundation of all human activities, requires a planned system of holding, control and regulations so as to avoid misuse and abuse of rights thereof.

In the words of Taslim O. Elias, (a renowned Jurist). “The indigenous system does not admit that land can ever be without an owner” indeed, if land (Real property), were to be a “res nullius” (something belonging to none), it will be valueless in the economic sense, there will be no question of compulsory acquisition, purchase, revocation and subsequent compensation. It may not be out of place to suggest that without valid control and regulation, ownership of land may depend purely on the physical strength of an individual or how violent the person can be. Such situation will definitely be anchoretic.

This work therefore unraveled the effects of Land Use Act, 1978 to prospective investors on real property (land), estate surveyors, private individuals etc, particularly in Owerri Municipal urban.

Since its promulgation however, the land use Act has been under intense fire as virtually almost every part of it has been criticized. The Act hardly went down well with traditional Nigeria, mainly because of the factors of interest in communal land ownership comprising several dead ancestors, relatively few living members and countless unborn generations. Many of their forefathers and mothers lost their lives in the process of acquiring the lands and were buried there. Unless their bodies and bones are exhumed, it remains a taboo to leave those lands. One therefore observes the existence of several motives and circumstances attracted to land ownership. In traditional Nigeria, many of which are non – economic and therefore cannot assuaged monetarily since the owners do not sale, alienate or part with land as freely or easily as other commodities. Professionally speaking, land and its attributes, features and components embodies value in encounter.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

From the above discussions, certain questions might be identified that certainly, needs answers. They include;

  1. Is the land use decree 1978 (now Land Use Act) implemented to its fullest apart from over use of such powers by state governors?
  2. What are the problems associated with the techniques for valuing properties compulsorily acquired for compensation under the act?
  3. What is the effect of the Act on compensation?
  4. What adjustments should be done to the compensation, revocation of rights of occupancy for overriding public interests, allocation of land for Agriculture and grazing sections of this Act?
  5. What should be the appropriate technique for valuing properties compulsory acquired for compensation purposes under the Act?
  6. What should be the appropriate technique for zoning of land and building and valuing properties compulsorily acquired compensation purpose under the Act?
  7. What effect has the Act posed on the price mechanism of land and buildings?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to examine the effect of land use act on land use pattern in Owerri Municipal, Imo state.

Specifically, the objectives of the study include to;

  1. To determine the extent to which the objectives of the Land Use Act has been achieved;
  2. To identify the various socio-economic problems generated by the Land Use Act on land use pattern;
  3. To determine the effect of the Land Use Act on land accessibility, acquisition and security of title on property development;
  4. To recommend better area of study on the Act with respect to land use pattern and property development as a means of providing effective strategy for increasing property stock.

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions are formulated to guide this research:

  1. To what extent have the objectives of the Land Use Act has been achieved?
  2. What are the various socio-economic problems generated by the Land Use Act on land use pattern?
  3. What is the effect of the Land Use Act on land accessibility, acquisition and security of title on property development?
  4. What are the recommendations on the Act with respect to land use pattern and property development as a means of providing effective strategy for increasing property stock?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  1. HO1: The Land Use Act did not create any problem to the ease of accessibility to land for property development in Owerri Municipal, Imo state.
  2. HO2: The Land Use Act has not imposed any difficulty in land acquisition for property development in Owerri Municipal, Imo state.
  3. HO3: The Land Use Act has promoted security of title to land for land use pattern and development in Owerri Municipal, Imo state.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The significance of the study lies to a great extent in setting a stage for a more urgent and more comprehensive appraisal of the effect of land use act on land use pattern in Nigeria particularly in Owerri Municipal, Imo state. In addition to this the study will also go a long way in educating the government on whether to review the Land Use Act or not in order to accelerate the development of properties in the country.

This work will also be of importance to all those who may carry out further studies on Land Use Act among whom are:

  1. Research students for whom it will open an avenue for further research work.
  2. Land administrators and policy makers to whom it will give a general view of the problems and thereby pave way of reviewing the Land Use Act in order to facilitate development in the country.
  3. Property Developers, for whom it will raise great hope for better future access to land which will promote the development of more property stock.
  4. The indigenes of Owerri Municipal State who may now find it easier to participate in land matters for more effective property and overall development of the state.

1.7 Scope of Study

This research work is limited to Owerri Municipal since it will not be possible to cover all the towns in the country in a study of this nature due to time and financial constraints. In examining the effect of land use act on land use pattern in, attention was therefore focused on Owerri Municipal. This has the singular but important advantage of ensuring a more detailed investigation especially when the time limit for accomplishing the work is considered. In doing this however, recourse was had to the general problems of land use pattern, land use development, and Pre Land Use Legislation in Nigeria. This will act as a prelude to a proper understanding and appreciation of the effect of the Land Use Act on land use pattern and development in the study area.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

Data collection proved the most difficult aspect of this research work not only as a result of the uncooperative attitude of many respondents sampled but because of repeated journeys made to administer the instruments due to absence in the house of the samples when visited.

Recourse to secondary data was also affected to an extent by non-availability of appropriate study materials. The greatest problem was however posed by finance.

1.9 Definition of Terms


Effect is defined as a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause or cause (something) to happen; bring about.


Land, sometimes referred to as dry land, is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently covered by water. The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occurred in land areas that support agriculture, habitat and natural resources. Some life forms (including terrestial plants and terrestial animal have developed from predecessor species that lived in bodies of water.

Land Use Act:

An Act to Vest all Land compromised in the territory of each State (except land vested in the Federal government or its agencies) solely in the Governor of the State , who would hold such Land in trust for the people and would henceforth be responsible for allocation of land in all urban areas to individuals resident in the State and to organizations for residential, agriculture, commercial and other purposes while similar powers will with respect to non-urban areas are conferred on Local Governments.


Property is that which belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, property is one or more components (rather than attributes), whether physical or incorporeal of a person’s estate or so belonging to, as in being owned by, a person or jointly a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation or even a society.

Land Use Pattern:

Refers to the utilization of the available lands in a city as dictated by urban and regional planning and also the social, economic, political and geographical conditions in a city.

Property Development:

Property development includes a range of activities from the purchase of land, development of facilities and buildings to meet customers’ requirements. It also includes either the sale or lease of the land of properties on completion. Developers generally coordinate the activities converting plans, needs and ideas into property.

1.10 Organisation of the Study

This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one included the background of the study, research problem, research objectives and questions as well as limitation of the study. Chapter two contains the literature review. Chapter three includes the methodology and study area. Chapter Four contains the results and discussion of key findings of the study. Chapter Five finally looks at the summary, conclusions, and recommendations based on the findings.

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This study primarily focused on the effect of land use act on land use pattern in Owerri Municipal, Imo state. It investigated the effects whether positive or negative which the Land Use Act has on property development. Based on the analysis of the data collected; the following findings have emerged from the work;

  1. The Land Use Act of 1978 has not enhanced land acquisition for property development. It has rather impeded growth of real property development by imposing difficulty on the process of acquiring land by an ordinary citizen.
  2. The process of accessing land is characterized by procedural delays and red tapism. The process of obtaining access to land beginning from the identification of acceptable site through obtaining Governor’s consent down to the issuance and collection of certificate of occupancy is cumbersome and therefore very expensive. Some times it may take up to two years to achieve; leading to the abandonment of the effort midway.
  3. Based on the cumbersome process of land acquisition, people tend to resort to informal land market which doesn’t guarantee security of title to land and which also encourages fraudulent dealings on land.
  4. Landowners no longer enjoy security of ownership of land in the sense that some mischievous state governors may under section 28 of the Act revoke the right of occupancy of any person under the guise of “public purpose”.
  5. There is inequitable allocation of the available developable land in favour of the well-to-do or the well connected in the society at the expense of the poor who are actually in need of the plots to carry out one or the other types of development.
  6. The vesting of sole power to the governor to hold in trust for the citizen limited the ease to which a common Nigeria can access to land for property development.
  7. That there is inefficient implementation of the Act based on the lack of skilled manpower with required integrity to serve in the land use and allocation committee.
  8. The delay in issuing of certificates of occupancy to applicants makes it impossible for developers to obtain loan from financial institutions which invariably causes delay to the development.
  9. The limitation imposed on the number of hectares granted to individual makes it impossible for large estate developers to operate effectively.
  10. The nature and manner of political system has frustrated the efficient implementation of the Act.

Despite antecedent problems created by the Land Use Act of 1978, it was also clearly observed that the Land Use Act has created land consciousness on Nigerians. It grants them a sense of belonging as far as Nigerian Land is concerned. It is also seem that the Act has curbed the activities of the Landed gentries who speculates on land

5.2 Conclusion

The study has carried out investigation collected and analysed the data leading to the decision that the Land Use Act of 1978 has retarded the rate of land use pattern and development in Nigeria. In spite of the sentimentally packed concept in the preamble to the Act to the effect that it is in the public interest the rights of all Nigerians to use and enjoy land in sufficient quantity to enable them to provide for their families was dashed to the ground. The Nigerian citizens still find it as difficult as before to access to land on which they can erect their shelter. The vesting of land to the hands of the governor has also created insecurity for title to land which also limit the level of land acquisition for a common citizen. It is conclusive to say that the attainment of the co-operate goals of the Act through property provision may never be possible if the operations of the Land Use Act are not committed to proving well planned procedure for their ministry of Lands. There is undue delay in obtaining consent before ones interest in land can be alienated. These shortcomings and many others incorporated in the Act do not augur well, especially for private property developers. Therefore the operators of the Act should sincerely ensure that the right of every Nigerian to shelter is assured, protected and preserved.

5.3 Recommendation

Based on the findings of this study, the following are recommended;

  1. There is need for statutory reshaping of the Act to promote people’s access to Land Rights, so as to improve access to land and guarantee effective property development.
  2. Some stipulations of the Land Use Act need to be re-visited for a review so as to eliminate ambiguity of expression, resentment as well as rivalry and conflict of authority which causes serious obstruction to the implementation of the Act. iii. The Act should expressly provide for all the requirements – ownership, control, management, nature of use, and manner of distribution of land among the citizens. iv. Direct State allocation is recommended such that the Act should guarantee access to developable land for those citizens deprived of theirs through the process of revocation of land for public purposes.
  3. The management should deploy experienced and well-motivated staff which will provide a conducive environment for identification of weakness in the system of control. Such arrangement could also assist in reducing the incidence of frauds which is very prevalent in the ministry these days. vi. A holder of a certificate of occupancy should have exclusive possession against all persons including the governor and his delegates.
  4. The procedure for land acquisition should be made less cumbersome, since this poses great problems to those who seek land for development purposes.
  5. Appropriate definite time frame should be fixed as the maximum for the processing, issuance and collection of certificate of occupancy.
  6. There is need to maintain a stable government in order to enforce a well managed National Development Plan.
  7. It should be made mandatory that such state government should provide annually specified number of serviced plots to be distributed equitably among the cross section of the citizens.
  8. Finally, the government should aim at providing adequate planning authority, monitoring and evaluation committee who will serve as a watchdog to the activities of the land operators.

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