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Title: Channels and Institutions of Informal Land Delivery in the Urbanizing Fringes of Benin City
Authors: Agheyisi, E. J.
Keywords: Land delivery
Land subdivision
Land market
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Sokoto Journal of the Social Sciences
Series/Report no.: Vol. 2: No. 1;73 – 88
Abstract: The informal channels of land delivery have dominated the land market in Benin metropolis and the actors appear to operate unfettered. Why these channels of land delivery have succeeded while state sanctioned channel seems to be failing in Benin City has not be documented and well understood. The study aims to investigate the major channels of land delivery for residential use in the Benin metropolis and to improve understanding of contemporary informal land market and the institutions that regulate it. Informal channels of land delivery operate according to a variety of social rules collectively referred to as institutions that enable land transactions to occur and regulate relations among actors in the land delivery system. To understand this fully, semi-structured questionnaire was administered to 200 randomly selected resident plot holders in four communities in Benin metropolis. The study revealed that the primary channels through which land for residential development has been made available, especially to the middle and lower income households are sales of privately - held land, informal land subdivision and sales of subdivided plots by land–buying co-operatives, informal subdivision and sales of customary land and sharing of customary land to members of the community. Access to land through these channels varies according to the social institutions that governed the land transaction. In addition to these, squatting and state sanctioned channel were found to contribute insignificant amount of land for residential development in the study area. The success of informal land delivery systems in supplying a high percentage of land for residential development can be attributed to their practical attributes and social legitimacy. Wide understanding and acceptance of the social rules and institutions that govern land transactions and relations among actors in the system serve to secure wider compliance than is common for formal land regulation. The paper concludes that state guidance and intervention in informal channels and institutions of land delivery are indispensable in order to check the inherent weaknesses in the system
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