Without Reforms, Land Assets Are Dead Capital – Mabogunje

Former Chairman, Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform, Prof Akin Mabogunje has revealed that without land reforms, land assets are dead capital adding that the survey process could be accelerated with sophisticated technology.

He stated this in Abuja during a four-day national stakeholders dialogue on land reform in Nigeria, organised by the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform (PTCLR), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) with the theme, “Land Reform: Creating Strategic Pathway to National Economic Development and Wealth Creation”.

The housing expert maintained that though it took United States 35 years to complete their land reform that with the advent of technology, that Nigeria’s land reform could be achieved easily. He pointed out that the land use act of 1978 empowered governors as custodians of lands in their states which increased rural land manipulation.

Mabogunje who was also the former board chairman of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) disclosed that the bonanza from oil may not be sustainable even in the medium term as some states are already feeling the impact of sharp drop in the price of oil.

He regretted that land reform is the greatest problem standing in the way of rapid economic development in Africa saying that many African countries are optimistic that land rationalisation would promote rapid economic development.

In his address, the Professor of Land Economics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof Ezekiel Olukayode Idowu noted that its possible for Nigeria to become one of the top twenty economies in the world through proper use of land resources.

He tasked individual’s, groups and states on the need to use their powers in ensuring efficient utilisation of the country’s land resources, thereby engendering the prosperity of Nigeria.

On his part, the chairman, presidential technical committee on land reform, Prof. Peter Adeniyi pointed out that based on the committee’s findings that not more than 3 percent of the nation’s land has been properly surveyed and registered adding that land administration is largely opaque and centralised.

He stated that programmes on critical issues of governance such as agriculture, housing, infrastructure development, urban and rural planning, poverty reduction, internal security and among others cannot be achieved at local, state and federal government levels without fundamental overhaul of land governance system in the country.

CHIKA OKEKE

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