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Title: Land Law and Customary Land Holding: Whither the Land Use Act?
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Lesotho Law Journal
Series/Report no.: Number 2);341-354
Abstract: It has been slightly over 26 years now since the Land Use Act came into effect. For that entire period, the Act has been the subject of several academic discourses at different academic fora all with a view to exposing the contradictions and the obvious deficiencies in the piece of legislation. This paper is another of such discourse aimed at exposing some of the practical problems of implementation inherent in the landmark legislation. The focus of this current effort is to contend, ex hypothesi, that in spite of the incursion of the Act in the land tenure system of Nigeria, customary law still dominates and indeed forms the bedrock of the application of the statute law as it pertains to land tenure system. The paper further contends that though the intention of the legislature, in enacting the Act, may be for the Act to override other forms of land tenure system, that overall goal has substantially failed to the extent that judicial dicta continue to recognise and give effect to the existence of customary land tenure system. The paper advances the argument that the only significant beneficiary of the Act is the government insofar as it has made it less problematic for it to acquire land for development. The paper further argues that the advent of the Act has inadvertently increased the cost of doing business in Nigeria due to the fact that investors are subjected to multiple expenses in their efforts to access land for business as a result of the confusion created by the Act.
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