As part of measures to increase access to land and addressing the rising cases of illegal land grabbing, the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reforms has said that it has commenced titling of lands across the country.
The representative of the Chairman of the Presidential Technical Committee on land Reform, Mrs Gloria Agu-Nwafor, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday at the opening of a three-day workshop on the United Nations Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forest.
At the meeting organised by the Global Convergence on Land, Water and Seed West Africa; the Centre for Environmental Education and Development and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), she said they had commenced titling of land in Kano and Akure, Ondo State.
According to her, the importance of land titling in Nigeria is very important as it would ease transfer of land ownership to next of kin in case of death, facilitate land leasing for agricultural purpose and also help in the payment of compensation, in case of government or investors taking over the land.
“The committee has been using Systematic land Titling and Registration through which they have been able to rake in several land for Certificate of Ownership. The committee has been pushing the establishment of National Land Commission and the commission who will help in the monitoring of land titles in the country,” Agu-Nwafor said.
The Focal Person for the Convergence on Land, Water and Seed Struggle for West Africa and Nigeria, Mr Raymond Enoch, said that the use of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible governance on Land (VGGT) for Fisheries and Forestry would enhance agricultural production, food security and responsible use of land for fisheries and forest resources.
He said that the UN Voluntary Guidelines is an advocacy tool that could be utilized by CSOs to enable government treat land responsibly and reduce land grab.
Enoch who disclosed that there are about 79 land deals going on in Nigeria, lamented that the actual owners of the land are being short-changed under the promises that the land was being used for investment.
The Representative of the FAO-Global, Mr Calzabini Eldorado, said that CSOs need to increase dialogue on governance of tenure to improve access to land for the local community
Also, the Food and Agricultural Coordinator at Action Aid Nigeria, Azubike Nwokoye, lamented that the government that should be the protectors are the facilitators of land grab and also violating the UN voluntary guidelines on protecting the right of land owners.