The Problems And Prospects Of Land Registration In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Urban and Regional Planning

The Problems And Prospects Of Land Registration In Nigeria


Abstract


The aim of this study was to ascertain the problem and prospect of land registration in Nigeria. The study was a cross-sectional study involving 200 staff of ministry of land and housing. The primary data contained information extracted from the questionnaires in which the respondents were required to give specific answer to a question by ticking in front of an appropriate answer and administered the same on staff of the two organizations. The questionnaires contained about 16 structured questions which were divided into sections A and B. The findings of the study were as follows: (1) there are significant challenges in the documentation process in land registration. (2) There are significant problems in the registration process of land in Nigeria; (3) there is a lack of interest in land title registration; and (4) there is an insufficient interest in customary title registration. (3) Government should stimulate land registration interest and conversion of customary titles to statutory right of occupancy at a very low rate with minimum delay. (4) Government should introduce alternative land registration policy measures in Nigeria to include; cadastral survey/mandatory land registration, simplification of the Customary Title Registration, adoption of the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) as a technique and removal of the LUA from the Constitution.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Real Estate is the expression most widely used in the USA and in the English Language generally to describe a form of ownership in land. Both words ‘real’ and ‘estate’ have their origins in English law developed in the Middle Ages. English law has no room for outright individual ownership. This was a privilege reserve to the crown (originally to William the conqueror, who acquires title to the nation in 1066 by Conquest- So often the method of acquisition in human history). The conquest was an instance for centralization, of control over lands that was by no means unique. Nor is it antiquated.

The most populous country in the world, the people’s republic of China is just one present- day example of a state in which outright ownership of urban land by individual Or corporation is not recognize. State ownership of urban land was made constitutional in 1982 as part of a process of economic reform, although private ownership had virtually ceased in 1953. Real estate is not therefore ownership, in the sense that goods and personal effects, money, shares and other things (known as personal property in English law) are owned. Land is inherently different from all other classes of property in that it is given not made, fixed, and Immovable.

On the other hand, real property is a term which distinguishes land from personal property; it is land and- all that is permanently attached to it. English law it includes trees and natural growing things attached, everything under and above it, and improvements in the forms buildings and other construction. Land -registration generally describes systems by which matters concerning ownership, possession or other rights in land can be recorded (usually with a government agency or department) to provide evidence of title, facilitate transactions and to prevent unlawful disposal. Although the Land Use Act of 1978 was meant to usher in a new land reform in Nigeria, it soon became a clog in the wheel of development over the years. This was more so because the Military Government which promulgated it also ensured it was embedded in the Constitution of the country.

Thus, any attempt to rectify its inadequacies required a constitutional amendment. There were thus many protests both to have the Act expunged from the Constitution and to amend it in very many substantial way. It took the decision of the current President of the Federation to have land reform as one of the seven point agenda of his administration. This paper is, therefore, divided into six parts. The first discusses the land tenure situation before the Land Use Act of 1978. The second reviews the Land Use Act and some of the challenges it has thrown up over the years. Land Registration Act No. 36 of 1924 is the law regulating registration of instrument in Nigeria which is enacted for the whole country adopted and re-enacted in some states under different nomenclature. The law prescribes registration of any instrument executed before or after the commencement of this law.

To facilitate registration the law establishes in every state a land registry under a land registrar charged with the responsibilities of registering instruments affecting land in the state and to keep registered books and file in relation thereto. Modern methods include computerization of the whole process in addition to the use of Geographic information system (GIS) and Land Information System (LIS). These methods have helped to enhance the process/system of registration and also gives a well-defined details, measurements and design efficiency.

Land registration Act, (1924) defined registrable instrument as a document affecting land whereby one party called the grantor confers, transfers, limits, charges or extinguishes in favor of another party called the grantee any right or title to the interest in land and includes a certificate of purchase, a power of Attorney under which any instrument may be excluded but does not include a will. Registrable instrument includes an estate contract, a deed of appointment or discharge of trustee containing expressly or impliedly a vesting declaration affecting any land.

Therefore, it is generally agreed that a registrable instrument is a document, which transfers or creates a right, title or interest in land to or in favor of the grantee. But a will is expressly excluded from the ambit of registrable instruments. Consequently, a sales receipt, purchase receipt is not a registrable instrument if it is a mere acknowledgment of sales or payment and does not confer or transfer interest in land. A document which split portion of land, which transfer separate interest to the different individuals, is a registrable instrument. But where it does not transfer or extinguish any right in law, it is not registrable. A contract made by a person with an interest in land is registrable.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Land registration systems, involve deeds recording, and title registration. A Deed recording is a system of giving publicity to land transactions and helping to prevent concealed dealings. The act of recording a deed gives notice to the public of a claimed interest in land and establishes priority against other possible claimants to the same interest although there is usually no statutory compulsion for parties to a transaction to record their documents although it is prudent for them to do so while it is risky if they do not. It is in-view of this that the researcher intends to investigate the problem and prospect of land registration in Nigeria.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to ascertain the problem of land registration in Nigeria. But for the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following sub-objective;

  1. To ascertain the challenges of documentation process in land registration
  2. To evaluate the relevance of land registration in town planning
  3. To address the problem of land registration in Nigeria.
  4. To evaluate the prospect of land registration on infrastructural development

1.4 Research Hypotheses

To aid the successful completion of the study, the researcher formulated the following research hypotheses.

  1. H0: there are no significant challenges in the documentation process of land registration in Nigeria.
    H1: there are significant challenges in the documentation process of land registration in Nigeria.
  2. H02: land registration does not have any relevance in the town planning process
    H2: land registration does have relevance in the town planning process.

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the ministry of land and town planning, as the study seek to emphasis on the benefit of land registration in the town planning process, the study also seek to enumerate on the benefit of land registration as it reduce or eliminate the risk of denial of transaction between the party (s) involved.

The study will also be of benefit to researcher who intend to embark on study in similar topic, finally the study will be of great importance to teacher, lecturers, student and the general public as the study will add to the pool of literature already available.


1.5 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers the problem and prospect of land registration in Nigeria. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors which militated against the scope of the study;

Financial Constraint:

Finance is the key to the success of every research work and the said finance was readily unavailable on my part as at the time I was carrying out this research.

Time Constraint:

The time stipulated for the submission of this work was obviously too short and as such was unable to visit and carried out my findings as planned for all state government in Nigeria.

Availability Of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study


1.6 Definition of Terms

Land

Land, sometimes referred to as dry land, is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently covered by water.[1] The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occurred in land areas that support agriculture, habitat, and various natural resources. Some life forms (including terrestrial plants and terrestrial animals) have developed from predecessor species that lived in bodies of water.Areas where land meets large bodies of water are called coastal zones. The division between land and water is a fundamental concept to humans.

The demarcation between land and water can vary by local jurisdiction and other factors. A maritime boundary is one example of a political demarcation. A variety of natural boundaries exist to help clearly define where water meets land. Solid rock landforms are easier to demarcate than marshy or swampy boundaries, where there is no clear point at which the land ends and a body of water has begun. Demarcation can further vary due to tides and weather

Land Registration

Land registration generally describes systems by which matters concerning ownership, possession or other rights in land can be recorded (usually with a government agency or department) to provide evidence of title, facilitate transactions and to prevent unlawful disposal. The information recorded and the protection provided will vary by jurisdiction.

Prospect

Prospecta probability or chance for future success, esp as based on present work or aptitude: a good job with prospects.


1.7 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study wasto ascertain the problem and prospect of land registration in Nigeria.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of land registration in Nigeria.


5.2 Summary

It should be noted that, registrable instrument that is not registered is inadmissible in evidence as proof of a transfer of an interest though it may be admitted as acknowledgement of payment. Where there is more than one instrument executed by the same grantor relating to the same land priority is determined by the date of registration where there are rival claimants. In all cases where registration of an instruments it required by status, the fact of such registration does not cure a defect in the title of the grantee. Thus, where such grantee had no valid title in law before registration of his title, it cannot be validated by registration. Enhanced land registration system will improve the socio-economic condition of the inhabitants since the system will incorporate the norms of best practices aimed at improving Nigerian land titling and registration. This will create land markets and enhances accessibility to credit facilities and hence eradicate poverty.


5.3 Conclusion

In order to ensure the sustainability of the effective and efficient land title registration that the ministry of land Registry seems to have achieved in Nigeria, especially with the introduction of Electronic Data Management System (EDMS}. The state government needs to improve on this level and as the trailblazer in this industry in Nigeria should create impact on other states land registry, so that the country could as well capture all its land parcels. To achieve this goals the federal government initiative in federal land information system (FELIS) and Abuja geographic information system (AGIS).


5.4 Recommendation

It is recommended that; Provision of new infrastructure; this will greatly create awareness for the people that government to really showing some interest in the development of the area. Government should try and educate the people in the area to create a clear understanding of Land policy. In particular, there individual responsibility, there right of ownership, how to register therein little and the benefit of Land title registration. Government should stimulate land title registration interest and conversion of customary titles to statutory right of occupancy at a very low rate with minimum delay. Introduction of alternative land registration policy measures in Nigeria to include; cadastral survey/mandatory land registration, simplification of customary title registration, adoption of the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) as a technique and removal of the LUA from the Constitution.


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