Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged stakeholders to identify and address all problems militating against land administration and management in Nigeria.
Osinbajo spoke on Monday at the opening of a four-day National Stakeholders Dialogue on Land Reform in Nigeria holding in Abuja.
The Vice President said there was “much more to do if we are to fully unlock the immense potential of land in Nigeria,” calling on stakeholders “to work towards using land reform as a tool for the creation of a better and more prosperous future for Nigeria.”
The dialogue, organised by the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform, will among other things, discuss the legal and institutional framework for land reform in Nigeria, effective land administration and management in Nigeria and institutionalising systematic land titling and registration in Nigeria.
Professor Osinbajo said that government was working towards land reform policy to empower the rural poor by making it a medium of exchange.
“To create wealth land must be fungible, like money it must be a medium of exchange especially in its role as collateral. This is the only sure pathway to sustainable economic empowerment for all especially the rural poor. Our economic policy as a government is strongly influenced by the notion that given the size of the bottom of the pyramid in our country we must focus policy especially credit and land ownership on that segment of the populace. This is the path of economic and ultimately social reformation of our country.”
Osinbajo said that there was need for the state to take the lead in initiating and overseeing some form of improvement of the system “even if that reform is one that will ultimately end in less State control.”
He said National Economic Council, NEC, has endorsed the recommendations of its sub-committee on land reforms, which included the Systematic Land Titling and Registration (SLTR) Regulations; Regulations on Registries; Regulations on Mortgages; and Regulations on Sectional Titles.
“I understand that the Committee has since refined these regulations further, in line with NEC directives, and have now submitted them to the Cabinet Secretariat for the consideration and approval of the National Council of State,” he said.
The Chairman of the event and former Chairman of the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform, Professor Akin Mabogunje, said land reform was central to economic development, pointing out that land reforms is “the greatest hurdle standing in the way of rapid economic development of many African countries today.”
Also speaking, the Keynote Speaker, Professor Kayode Idowu of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, South West Nigeria, called for the setting up of National Land Reform Commission in the three tiers of government in Nigeria.
He said the commission would “guarantee the land reform process a firm, legal and sustainable institutional framework.”
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Chairman of the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform, Professor Peter Adeniyi, said land reform was critical in tenure and ownership.
He said Nigeria would be transformed if land is reformed.
Participants at the dialogue came from different parts of Nigeria and some countries in Africa.