A Group of Civil Rights Associations has called for the immediate repeal of the Land Use Act in the country’s constitution saying the Act was impeding the development of real property in the country. The collision of three civil society organisations (CSOs) advocated an amendment of the Nigeria Constitution to exclude the Land Use Act from the document.
After a roundtable discussion on “The Abuse of the Land Use Act and Economic Development in Subnational Governments in Nigeria,” they issued a communique in respect to resolution reached at the meeting.
Groups at the meeting included High Ground Global Leadership Advocacy Network (HGGLAN), the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC), and Speak Out Africa Initiative (SOAI).
Signing the communique, the Coordinator of HGGLAN, Dr. Sam Amadi; Convener of CDNDC, Mr. Ariyo-Dare Atoye; and President of SOAI, Mr. Kenneth Ezeh, said that the roundtable, with the theme “Governance, Land Use Act and Economic Development in Subnational Governments: A Case Study on Enugu State”, was aimed at making reviews.
According to them, the reviews were informed by the growing abuse of executive power over land resources by state governors. The Groups also acknowledged that the Land Use Act granted state governors immense power to determine who got access to land and for what purposes.
It noted that many state governors had wrongly implemented the Land Use Act to further their personal agenda and thereby underserving the strategic public interest which it was designed to serve. It also added that the roundtable considered those abuses as major constraint to economic development in the states.
“The state government in 2009 signed an agreement with Private Estate International West Africa (PEIWA) to construct Enugu Lifestyle and Golf City to help with infrastructural development in the state. That after the company borrowed and invested billions of naira on the project, the Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) was cancelled and some government officials took over parts of the land”.
The communique said that the participants resolved to focus advocacy on improving rule of law institutions in the states to facilitate economic activities that could create jobs and wealth to reduce extreme poverty in Nigeria.
“This is because unless subnational governments are run in credible and rule-based manner, they cannot attract investments that will make them economically able to perform constitutional obligations as a tier of government.