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Land Reform as a Tool for National Development: Emeka D. Eleh MSc, FNIVS, MRICS

The task of fostering national development is the fundamental responsibility of every well intentioned government all over the world.  Since independence, our various governments have made efforts in this regard adopting phased development plans with clearly stated targets.  However, it is very apparent that nearly 50 years after independence, Nigeria is far from being a developed nation.

It was therefore a welcome development when the current federal administration came to power and adopted the vision 2020 Programme, which envisions that Nigeria will join the league of developed nations by the year 2020.  To achieve this goal will require, amongst others combating the high level of poverty prevalent amongst the citizenry.  It was this developmental need that gave rise to the administration’s seven point agenda.  A key aspect of that agenda is land reform.  It is instructive that the administration obviously realized the vital role the reform of our land policy will play in the fight against poverty and the enhancement of National Development.  Why is this so?

Land is one of the most important resources available to mankind.  It is a factor of production/development, a real estate asset, capital, property and consumption good amongst others.  Nearly all human activity takes place on land.

If truly land is an asset and a good store of wealth, it means that unleashing its potential and making it convertible to capital will serve to empower the populace and also foster national development.

In order to make for easy understanding, this paper has been divided into seven parts.  The first part gives a brief overview of our present land administration system; the second part will give the need for the reform of the system, while the third part will give the goals of an ideal land policy.  The fourth part will discuss the economic need for land reform, while the fifth part will highlight the challenges or expected problems.  The sixth part will proffer suggestions on how the reform should be carried out; followed by the conclusion.


Several land tenure systems had been operated by various regions of Nigeria prior to 1978.  Two distinct tenural systems were however practiced in the northern and southern regions of the country.

While in northern Nigeria, land was vested on the Governor or the Emir to hold same in trust for the common benefit of the people in the southern region, land ownership devolved around families and clans who held freehold titles to such land.  The two principal systems certainly emanated from the culture of the people.  Of the two regions for instance, the north adopted its system from its “Maliki Custom”, which tended to recognize control of resources by a conquering army.

There were too many problems associated with these two systems.  In the south for instance, speculation in land was rampant and it was difficult for government to acquire land for public purposes.  Besides, there was insecurity of title and various arms of land owning families were engaging in all manner of fraudulent transactions in land.  It was this scenario that led to the promulgation of the Land Use Decree No. 6 of 1978.

The Land Use Decree (now Act) No. 6 of 1978 was promulgated into law on March 29, 1978.  The law was revolutionary in essence, having been meant to reassert and preserve the rights of all Nigerians to the land of Nigeria.

The preamble of the decree captures its major objective as: “Whereas it is in the public interest that the rights of all Nigerians to the land of Nigeria be asserted and preserved by law: and whereas it is also in the public interest that the right of all Nigerians to use and enjoy land in Nigeria and the natural fruits thereof in sufficient quantity to enable them to provide for the sustenance of themselves and their families should be assured, protected and preserved…”

The whole essence of the law was to make land readily available to all Nigerians.  To achieve this, Section 1 of the Decree vested all land in the territory of each state on the (military) governor of the state.

The decree created a statutory title to land known as the statutory leasehold, and customary rights of occupancy to be granted by the governor or the local government chairman respectively.  Either title is usually denoted by a Certificate of Occupancy usually given to the holder as evidence of title.

The decree has no doubt achieved a measure of security of title that the land registration law of 1924 could not achieve.  This was because it conferred the authority to grant and register title on a central authority, with a single title registration office in each state.

Thus, while the possession of a Certificate of Occupancy is not a definite guarantee of title, it can only be challenged when it is wrongly or fraudulently issued and the incidence of these is not common (except of course in the Lekki area of Lagos, where “Cloning” of Certificate of Occupancy has become rather rampant lately).

Some of the other objectives of the decree are:

  • to remove the bitter controversies that usually arise over title to land;
  • to assist the citizenry, irrespective of status, realize the ambition and aspiration of owning land within the country;
  • to assist the government in the exercise of its power of eminent domain or power to compulsorily acquire land as all land is now deemed to belong to the state; and,
  • to curtail the activities of speculators who hoard land and therefore make it very expensive and to remove the strangle hold which certain traditional authorities like Obas and Emirs have on community land.

Since its promulgation, there are certain areas of the decree which professionals in land administration have been clamouring for review

Notable among these grey areas are the provisions for consent, compensation, the abolition of freehold titles and the control of land between the states and the Federal Government:

  1. the consent provision

Section 22 of the decree states that: “It shall not be lawful for the holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the (military) governor to alienate his right of occupancy or any part thereof by assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sublease or otherwise howsoever without the consent of the (military) governor”.

The import of this clause is that the consent of the governor is required before any legal transaction in land can be deemed consummated.  This is perhaps the single greatest impediment created by the decree.

In practical terms, it is nearly impossible to comply with the provisions of this clause.  In simplistic terms, the clause requires that if A wants to sell his plot to B, A will have to first seek and obtain the consent of the governor before effecting the sale to enable the governor effect a change of title to the land in favour of B.

In reality, however, when A decides to sell his land, A may not have a ready buyer to whom the consent will be granted and will also not be certain of the exact sale price the property will fetch, as this can only be confirmed upon effective sale.  The purchase price is required here to enable the governor compute Consent Fee, Registration Fee, and Capital Gains Tax (CGT).

In effect, the clause has become impossible to be operated literally as specified.  What obtains in practice is that the vendor (seller) will sign all documents to enable the Vendee (buyer) obtain the consent of the governor at the point of sale and, therefore, transfers the cost and trouble of obtaining the required consent to the buyer.

Besides, the process of obtaining consent is cumbersome in many respects.

Firstly, it is quite expensive as state governments now exploit the process to make money for their states.  In Lagos State for instance, the direct cost of obtaining consent is a minimum of 15 per cent of the assessed value of the land.  If one juxtaposes this cost with the high cost of land itself in Lagos, it can be seen that the high cost of obtaining consent has made land even more expensive.

Secondly, it takes a long time to obtain the consent even when all conditionalities have been met.  Again, in Lagos State, for instance, despite the commendable changes they have made to the process, it still takes about three months for consent to be obtained.  The same is applicable in Abuja and indeed Federal Registries despite the commendable AGIS and FELIS Projects. The story of piles of assignments awaiting consent in many states of the federation is common knowledge.

This has made the reliance on properties as collateral for loans quite unattractive, as the process of perfecting a legal mortgage is time-consuming.  In effect, a lot of banks do not accept properties as collateral for loans.  This is counter-productive to the overall economy.  In developed economies, a property owner can easily pledge his title as security to raise money to purchase another property or to invest in another business.

This is not the case in Nigeria.  Besides, in such countries, due to the simplicity of the transfer process, a level of market fluidity has been achieved and buying and selling of properties made easier through the adoption of an efficient but simplified registration process.  For instance in Canada, the transfer cost averages 1.5% of the value of the property and takes less than a day.  In Britain, the process costs about 400 pounds and takes about six weeks.  In Ghana, it is about 2% of the assessed value and takes about 3 months.

Thirdly, the entire process of obtaining governor’s consent is very frustrating.  Indeed, the process is plagued by corruption as a series of under-the-table expenses are usually involved.  This consent provision has forced many people into not registering their land transactions thereby making the management of our real estate resources and the real estate market more difficult due to the fact that most people choose to operate in the informal market.

  1. the compensation provision

Section 28, Sub-section (1) of the decree states that “it shall be lawful for the (military) governor to revoke a right of occupancy for overriding public interest.”  Whereas the Public Lands Acquisition Act, 1917 provided that compensation for land should be on open market value basis, the decree changed that fundamentally.

For insance, Section 29, Sub-section 4)a) provides for compensation in respect of land for such revocation as follows: “The land if sold for an amount equal to the rent, if any paid by the occupier during the year in which the right of occupancy was revoked.”

The first defect of this provision was that it recognized the occupier as against the actual owner (the two may be different) in payment of compensation.

Secondly, it limits the compensation payable for land to the ground rent paid during the year of revocation as against the open market value.

This provision, apart from not conforming to the doctrine of “adequate compensation” provided for in the Nigerian Constitution, does not also recognize the interest of third parties in government allocated land.

For instance, if A was allocated a plot in Ikeja by the Lagos State government for which the annual ground rent is N15,000.  If A sells the plot to B later on for say N5 million, and the title to the land is subsequently revoked by the governor, the compensation due to B for the land will be the subsisting annual ground rent, which in this case is N15,000.  This provision does not therefore protect the interest of third parties, who could have paid the market rate for the property.

  1. abolition of freehold title to land

Before the coming of the decree, there were holders of Freehold titles to land in Nigeria.  The decree, however, limits the title that can be granted under it to leasehold interests not exceeding 99 years.  The effect is that every allottee of state land or indeed owner of a property covered by a Certificate of Occupancy is deemed a tenant of the state.

Section 34(2) states interalia: “Where the land is developed, the land shall continue to be held by the person in whom it was vested immediately before the commencement of this decree as if the holder of the land was the holder of a statutory right of occupancy issued by the (military) governor under this decree.”

Also, Section 34(5a) states that “where on commencement of this decree the land is undeveloped then one plot or portion of land not exceeding half an hectare in area shall subject to Subsection (6) below, continue to be held by the person in whom the land was so vested as if the holder of the land was the holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the military governor in respect of the plot or portion as aforesaid.”

The import of these provisions was to confer something akin to a freehold title under the English land law to the beneficiaries.  This was however not achieved because:

The only current evidence of title a holder could have is that upon application, the government will grant him a statutory right of occupancy, which of course amounts to a conversion of his freehold title into a leasehold title provided for by the Decree/Act.

If the title holder desires to do any transaction on the land, he will be required to obtain the consent of the governor for the transaction to be legally binding, which in effect nullifies the presumption of freehold title.

  1. federal and state control

Section 1 of the decree vests all land within the territory of each state on the state governor; this means that if the Federal Government requires land for development purposes within a state, it must ask the state for such land.  This provision was grossly abused during the second republic when some state governments refused to release land for federal housing projects for political reasons.  Even though the Federal Government does own land and grants Federal Certificates of Occupancy to its allottees in the states, this is now being challenged effectively in Lagos State.

Indeed in Lagos State at present, every allottee of “Federal Land” who holds a Federal Government of Nigeria Certificate of Occupancy must surrender such title in exchange for a Lagos State Certificate of Occupancy at huge expense before such a person can obtain planning approval.  In effect Lagos State has stopped recognizing Federal ownership of land.

In general terms, the decree has not succeeded in making land readily available to all Nigerians.  Rather, it has become one of the greatest impediments to home ownership in the country for reasons earlier mentioned.

Of particular mention here is the process for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy, which is the evidence of title created by the decree.

The process as at today remains tedious, lengthy and unnecessarily expensive.  Thus, the bulk of the land in the country (97% using available data) is still not covered by such registrable title.  The result is that such property owners cannot use their properties as collateral for loans to fund their businesses.

The effect, therefore, is that whilst land in developed countries constitutes an asset that is, individually delineated, registered and evidenced by a title deed that can be used to raise capital for the owners, same is not the case here and this constitutes a big impediment to wealth creation.

Even with its cosmopolitan nature compared to other states, it is doubtful if 10 per cent of the land in Lagos State is covered by registrable title.  Unfortunately, this vast expanse of land belongs to families who remain poor because they can do very little with their land in terms of wealth creation.

This scenario runs against the trend in other free market economies, which we claim to be following and provides reasons, at least partly, as to why we are where we are in terms of development.


Arising from the preamble, it is surmised that the goals of an ideal land policy will include (but not limited to) the following:

  1. To confer secure title on land owners and thereby indirectly empower them economically by unleashing the potentials of land through a conversion process that will change it to capital; enhance wealth creation and poverty alleviation.
  1. To create a secure land registry system
  1. To establish a land transfer system that is seamless, efficient and fast
  1. To create a land administration system that will foster market fluidity
  1. To create a land administration system that will encompass the entire land of the nation. Effectively, the policy should entail survey and delineation of the entire land mass of the country.  This will not only bring to an end the endless squabbles and communal clashes arising from border disputes between communities but will also make land holdings registrable and thus easily tradeable.  As real estate professionals, we are aware that it is the title to land that is usually traded.  Where such title is not registered in an appropriate registry, one will be left with the cumbersome and unreliable process of confirming the ownership most times through several family members.  It is only by giving land owners title that such owners can be empowered economically through using their properties as collaterals for loans for their business.
  1. Another goal is to create a vital database of addresses that will be used in levying of utility bills, tenement rates, crime control, etc. The hap hazard nature of developments in our cities makes locating properties difficult.
  1. Another goal is that it will lead to the development of land information systems for the country. This is a vital physical planning tool which can only be obtained after a digital mapping exercise of an area.
  1. Ultimately a major goal of land reform is to ensure equitable distribution of land resources to the populace.
  1. The economic need for land reforms

Earlier in this paper, attempt has been made to draw a correlation between widespread poverty and a good land policy.  This view arose from the fact that even the poorest people in the country own land in one form or the other but still cannot raise money for their business or sustenance as the case may be owing to the fact that they do not have title to the land.  In the United States, it is known that a mortgage on one’s property is the easiest source of credit to an individual.  This is not the case here.  Rather, without title, no bank will lend against such property and the sale value will be a lot less while the sale process is lengthy, tedious and uncertain.  For instance, take a plot of land in Lekki Phase I in Lagos and another plot of similar size in Igbo Efon Village not far from Lekki Phase I:

  • the owner of the Lekki plot can pledge his title for a loan, while the owner of the Igbo-Efon land cannot;
  • At sale, the Lekki plot can fetch say N100m, while the second plot can fetch just about N Even after adjustments for infrastructural costs, the difference in the price of the two plots, which are in the same locality, is enormous mainly because of the factor of title.
  • While the sale process for the Lekki plot can be consummated in a day or two as it requires only a search at the Land Registry that of the second land will require the lengthy task of obtaining the history of the property from a chain of family members or family heads with no certainty. Stories of a family member showing up to contest a sale long after it is consummated is very rampant.


To my mind, the foregoing view is aptly captured by Hernando De Soto in his epochal work succinctly titled “The Mystery of Capital – why capitalization succeeds in the west and fails elsewhere” wherein he concluded that lack of title to property is the major cause of the widespread poverty in developing countries.  In the said book, he remarked and I quote (Hernando De Soto 2000; 6-7) “In the West,… every parcel of land, every building, every piece of equipment or store of inventories is represented in a property document that is the visible sign of a vast hidden process that connects all these assets to the rest of the economy.

“Thanks to this representational process, assets can lead an invisible, parallel life alongside their material existence.  They can be used as collateral for credit.  The single most important source of funds in the United States is a mortgage on the entrepreneur’s house.  By this process the West injects life into assets and makes them generate capital.

“Third World and former communist nations do not have this representational process.  As a result, most of them are undercapitalized, in the same way that a firm is undercapitalized when it issues fewer securities than its income and assets would justify.  The enterprises of the poor are very much like corporations that cannot issue shares or bonds to obtain new investment and finance.  Without representations, their assets are dead capital.”

“The poor inhabitants of these nations – the overwhelming majority – do have things, but they lack the process to represent their property and create capital.  They have houses but not titles; crops but not deeds; businesses but not statutes of incorporation.  It is the unavailability of these essential representations that explains why people who have adapted every other Western invention, from the paper clip to the nuclear reactor, have not been able to produce sufficient capital to make their domestic capitalism work.  This is the mystery of capital.  Solving it requires an understanding of why Westerners, by representing assets (notably land) with titles, are able to see and draw out capital from them.”

Obviously, therefore, the lack of registrable titles coupled with other issues associated with the implementation of the Land Use Decree has effectively contributed to the level of poverty in the country both at the individual and state levels.

At individual levels, people are unable to create wealth from their land assets, while at state levels, revenue that should accrue from ground rent receipts is lost due to the fact that the bulk of the land is not covered by registered title and is therefore “unknown” to the state.

The corollary to this is that though the Decree vests all land in a state on the Governor of such state, it is doubtful if any state knows for certain the exact extent and ownership structure of its landmass.  It is only with such knowledge that an effective land management principle, which is very paramount for our economic development can be put in place.

At present, only 3% of the land in Nigeria is registered with appropriate records of the use and the users.  It means that 97% of the land constitutes “dead capital” as the owners cannot easily convert such properties to capital.

This low level of land rights infrastructure is a major contributor to the high level of poverty due to the unharnessed potentials in land.  As it stands, we have only been trying to develop a capitalist state but without capital which can be created through the establishment of a formal property system.

In order to appreciate this section, the benefits of land reform will be looked at from three different view points viz the government, the people and national development.

  1. the government

Every government charges one form of tax or the other on land.  In Nigeria the two most popular ones are ground rent and tenement rate.

Evidently, ground rent can only be charged on land duly registered with the government.  It does mean that based on the present statistics only 3% of the lands in say Anambra State attracts ground rent to the government.  With land reform and the establishment of an efficient land administration system, ground rent can be collected from the remaining 97% of the land holding.  By so doing, more funds will be available to the government for development and because the entire land is being levied, the charge per square meter of land will be lower.  The same scenario applies to tenement rate, which is a vital source of local government revenue.  It is certain that even in Lagos, which is the most urbanized part of Nigeria, only the properties in the main urban areas pay tenement rates.

Sale transactions involve payment of one form of tax or the other.  Invariably such taxes are only payable for registered titles.  For rural land, it is only when fresh application for title papers are filed that such payments are made.  However, we are aware that sale transactions take place every day on such rural property and invariably no form of tax or payment is made to the government.  I am certain that most of us have bought land in our villages for which no payment was made to the government.  It is an established fact that tax payers hold governments more accountable and therefore bring a measure of transparency and stability to the polity.  This advantage is obviously lost in our environment to a large extent.

Effectively what the lack of title has done is that the bulk of land transactions exist in what we may call the informal market, outside government control.  Incidentally, this is the trend in all developing countries and affects not just land but also all manner of small businesses.  This explains why the informal sector in developing countries is so large, whilst remaining largely outside government control and without financial benefits to the government.

  1. the people

The ultimate aim of any land reform process is to empower the people through making their landed properties more secure, more identifiable and eventually more valuable and easily convertible.  The vast majorities of our people do have vast land holdings but still remain in the poverty bracket due to the constraints highlighted above.  When the land is not registrable, it attracts low sale value; it is prone to all manner of ownership dispute and is not easily convertible.  Besides, it is believed that the burden of ground rent and similar land charges will be lesser if it is paid by all land owners and not just the 3% with registered title.

  1. national development

Widespread poverty does not make for national development.  A situation where the bulk of government revenue derivable from land assets is not realized does not ensure availability of adequate funding for government projects.  As pointed out by Prof Akin Mabogunje in his work Real Estate and National Development (2005:16), reforming our land policy which is a major challenge of our profession “is vital to enhancing access to capital for our small and medium scale industries.  It is essential for the growth and development of free market economy in the country.  More importantly, it is critical for promoting democratic, transparent and accountable local (state) governments through facilitating their access to a robust revenue base provided largely by the property tax of their citizens”.  It is now established that an effective land policy enhances the stability of governments.  Indeed article 75 of the UN Habitat agenda states that poverty is directly related to access to land.  Besides, a land reform programme will generate useful land information systems that will be used for physical planning.

As at today, the sectoral contribution of agriculture to our GDP stands at 35%, while that of the informal sector stands at 17%.  These two sectors still operate at basic levels without the appropriate technology.  A huge potential, therefore, exists in the two sectors.  The import is that if the two sectors are actually well funded, they would certainly contribute a lot more to our GDP and national development.  Over the years the government has tried a couple of measures aimed at improving access to credit for the sectors.  Such measures include the establishment of NERFUND, NACB and NAPEP as well as the setting up of community Banks and the present micro finance banks.

Unfortunately, to benefit from any of these schemes, one form of collateral or the other is usually required.  If our real estate holdings are appropriately titled, they will provide the necessary collateral that will enable the greater percentage of the population gain access to credit.

Reliance on real estate will be most useful here as every family owns land in one form or the other.  Ultimately, easier access to credit will improve the productive capacity of the two sectors and enhance their contribution to our GDP.



Like every fundamental policy change, there is no doubt that various challenges will stand in the way of effective land reform programme in Nigeria.  Whilst some of the challenges have to do with man’s usual resistance to change, others have to do with the legal, material and technical requirements for the reform.  Some of those likely challenges are:

  1. will power on the part of the government

The subject of land is a very sensitive one all over the world.  Its possession and ownership remains a major source of all manner of conflicts at local, national and international levels.  It will therefore take lot of will power for the government to get involved in this area more so considering the cultural attitude of Nigerians towards land.

  1. continuity in government

The process of land reform is a programme that will take years to implement.  It is unlikely that it can be completed under one administration.  Going by our antecedents where every new government tends to abandon projects started by its predecessor, this will certainly pose a major problem, as there will be need for a sustained commitment to the programme across tenures for it to succeed.

  1. ascertaining title/ownership

A major assignment of this policy will be to investigate and ascertain the genuine beneficial ownership of the entire land area in Nigeria measuring approximately 924,768 square kilometers.  There is no doubt that this will be a tedious task.  It is only with that process that genuine titles can eventually be granted to genuine owners.  This is crucial because a major goal of land reform is to ensure that every parcel of land is identifiable with regards to its ownership, location and characteristics and appropriately covered in both the digital map and the land information systems of the country.

  1. funding

The exercise will require a huge layout of funding to cover the various processes to conclusion.  With the global economic recession and the fall in the price of crude oil, there is no doubt that funding will be a major issue.  However, one is aware that in view of the global concern about the inherent dangers in the spread of poverty and the known fact that lack of land reform is its major contributor, there are now many governmental and multi-lateral agencies like the British Department for International Development, which provide aid in terms of direct funding and capacity building for programmes like this.  This area should therefore be explored.

  1. technology and manpower for the digital mapping and production of the land information systems

The appropriate technology for this exercise will need to be sourced from outside the country.  Despite the establishment of Geographic Information Systems courses in some of our tertiary institutions, there is no doubt that we do not have sufficient manpower for the scale of job envisaged.  The challenge will, therefore, be in assembling the right technology and manpower for the assignment.  Whilst it must be conceded that the land reform processes of the United States and most of Europe, which took place in the 18th century relied only on basic land surveying methods, relying on the more advanced methods which now exist will make the exercise faster and more accurate.


Having reviewed the expected challenges and problems, it is recommended that a National Land Commission should be established to coordinate the reform process and also manage the post reform land administration policy.

In the course of this paper, it has been proven that land is one of the most important resources of any nation.  Virtually all human activity takes place on land and both the citizens and the government attach immense importance to it.  Whilst the citizens make a living on land in various forms, the government generates huge income from various types of land taxation amongst others.  It has also been earlier stated that the level of poverty in any country is directly related to the nature and adequacy of the country’s land policy.

It is therefore of utmost importance that adequate attention is paid to the administration of our land resources.  As at today, this is not the case.  Our land policy and administration at the federal level is presently supervised by the Lands Department of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.  The said Department is headed by only a Director who reports to the Supervising Minister through the Permanent Secretary.  It is submitted that this is not good enough.  Same scenario applies in most of the states.  It is recommended that a National Land Commission be established and charged with the responsibility of coordinating and implementing the land reform agenda and eventually managing our land policy.  The Commission should be headed by a person of cabinet rank reporting directly to the President with equivalent structure in the states.

The Commission will then coordinate the tedious task of identifying ownership lots, ascertaining and granting titles, the digital mapping/production of a detailed cadastral map as well as the production of a detailed land information system for the country.

It will also be the work of the Commission to champion and ensure the formulation of a new land policy for the country that will ensure security of title, streamline the transfer and title registration process to make it efficient and speedy.  No doubt the formulation of a new land policy will entail a thorough review of the Land Use Act in order to do away with its obnoxious provisions.  It is instructive that the Federal Government earlier this year commenced the process for the review of certain sections of the Land Use Act.  A bill in this respect has been sent to the National Assembly by the President.  It is however submitted that a mere review of the Act will not be enough.  A holistic programme of land reform as earlier detailed should be implemented.


Considering the immense importance of land to the development of the country, greater emphasis must be paid to its administration.  Our existing land policy anchored on the Land Use Act has proven fundamentally inadequate, which is why various stakeholders have been clamouring for its review since its promulgation.

As Estate Surveyors and Valuers, we must live up to the challenge of leading the national advocacy for land reform.  The profession must be prepared to play a pivotal role in the planned review of the existing land policy and the implementation of a people-oriented land reform agenda that will accelerate our national development.  As Prof. Akin Mabogunje pointed out in his paper, Real Estate and National Development (2005:7) “converting land resources of a country to real estate (capital) can thus be seen as a critical strategic move in the process of national development.  No profession has the most to gain from this development and therefore, has the greatest responsibility to work towards this outcome than the profession of Estate Surveying and valuation.  Consequently, the present situation in the country constitutes a very challenging mission for the profession if it is to have its true impact on national development.”

It is commendable that land reform is part of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s 7 point agenda and it is recommended that a National Land Commission be established to superintend the process.

Thank you.


  1. De Soto, Hernando, (2000) – The Mystery of Capital: Why capitalism triumphs in the west and fails everywhere else, (London: Black Swan books)
  1. Polanyi, K (1957) – The Great Transformation, the political and economic origins of our times (Boston, Beacon Press).
  1. Mabogunje Akin L (2005) – Real Estate and National Development; Challenges for the profession of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Paper presented at the launching of the NIESV Research Foundation (Abuja, Nigeria).
  1. The Land Use Decree No. 6 of 1978.
  1. Alao, Halima Tayo, Hon Minister of Environment Housing and Urban Development (2007); Keynote address at the NIESV Stakeholders forum on Land Reform (Abuja, Nigeria).
  1. Bethell Tom (1998); The Noblest Triumph, St. Martins Press (New York).
  1. Smith Adam (1977); The Wealth of Nations (London; Everymans’ Library).


(Being the Text of the Lead paper present at the 39th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors & Valuers; Awka, Anambra State.  Wednesday, 22nd April 2009)


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