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A Professor of Land Economics at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Prof Ezekiel Olukayode Idowu has called for the establishment of a National Land Commission to oversee land matters in the Country.

Prof. Idowu stated this while delivering his keynote address at the National Stakeholders dialogue on land reform in Nigeria held in Abuja.

The keynote address was titled Land reform: Creating Strategic Pathway to National Economic Development and Wealth Creation.

While calling for a comprehensive land policy and a creation of a land commission, he said “individuals, families, cooperatives should be given titles to land. Nigerians would then be able to use their ingenuity to invest, produce, eliminate poverty and create wealth for themselves and the country would develop. All the forms of insecurity would then vanish and the country will experience lasting peace.”

The Don said it is possible for Nigeria to become one of the top twenty economies in the world. He added that ” this can be achieved by proper use of our land resource. Individuals, groups and the state must use their powers in ensuring efficient utilization of the country’s land resources and thereby engender the prosperity of our dear country.

According to him “to achieve this, land relations must be transformed from their current complex and confused judicial forms(that include communal, feudal, family, freehold and other holdings) to a comprehensive land reform.”

Prof Idowu said the comprehensive land reform should be radically different from the present Land Use Act with its attendant multiplicity of interests and ambiguities. He called for individuals, families, cooperatives and corporate bodies to be given titles to land.

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He said ” given the level of our land resources estimated at appropriately 92.4 million hectares, no Nigerian should go to bed on an empty stomach and everybody should have a roof over his or her head. the reverse is however the case, poverty is everywhere, both rural and urban”

Prof. Idowu listed the potential and direct benefits of land reform in Nigeria to include promptly investment in land, development of land market operations in Nigeria, prevention and revolution of land use conflicts and the assessment and collection of land tax.

He said land reform is difficult to implement because of the underlying motivation of those initiating the reform. He added  that the true motives for reform may be different from those announced by the reformers.

The dialogue is expected to hold for four days and is organized around three subthemes: Institutionalizing systematic land titling and registration in Nigeria, Effective land administration and management in Nigeria and legal and institutional framework for land reform.

The dialogue is supported by Dangote Group, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Abuja International Housing Show, The Africa Land Advisory Group, Ford Foundation, GIS Transport Limited. The Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture.

Adeleke Samuel, Housing TV

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