ONE of the most controversial provisions in Nigeria’s constitution is the retention of the Land Use Act and this has continued to affect surveying practice, hence the time to remove the Act from the nation’s constitution is now.
Nigerian surveyors made this call last week in Abuja, during a brief by the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) on the annual Olumide Memorial Lecture.
They said the call could not have been made other than now that the National Assembly is preparing for the review of the 1999 Constitution.
President of the institution, Mr. Bode Adeaga, a surveyor, said that the inclusion of the Land Use Act should not be a constitutional matter but an Act of parliament to allow for easy review whenever the need arises.
Adeaga while noting that the present land tenure system in Nigeria was faulty expressed optimism that the ongoing land reform embarked upon by the federal government would be used to address some of the bottlenecks associated with land administration in the country.
He noted the body had submitted memoranda to the Senate Committee on Land, in vital areas that affect surveying, which he said should be looked into. These include the recognition of the role of surveyors in the Land Use Act, boundary demarcation and general mapping of the country.
On the effects of climate change and the attendant flooding witnessed in the country recently, Adeaga said that incidences of flooding across the country and the attendant consequences of human displacement, poses serious challenges to food production, ecology and land use.
He noted that surveyors are well positioned to assist government in managing the challenges and provide guide to actions that would help mitigate their impacts.
“ The profession produces spatial information that is relevant to all areas of planning and development in a sustainable basis, we are only advocating adequate recognition of the services and competence of professionals to assist in these areas”.
On the ongoing land reform, Adeaga stated that the development of any nation hinges on its ability to free its land resource for production and development adding that the ability of the individual landowner to access capital on the strength of his title to land determines the quantum of development achievable within a time frame.
Also speaking, the Deputy President of the institution, Bern Omo Akhigbe said that total and proper mapping of the entire country would help to address the problems of flood and insecurity facing the country.
In a related development, the President, International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) CheeHai Teo, has said that climate change, natural disasters, population growth, urbanization and the growing demands for land for agriculture are increasingly affecting rights and equitable access to land.
He stressed the need to move away from business-as usual and act to end poverty, address environmental destruction and build bridge to the future.
Teo who made the remarks at the event, noted that responsible governance of tenure of land as well as other natural resources can help reduce undernourishment, hunger poverty and help create opportunities to support social and economic development
He said : “Weak governance of tenure hinders sustainable use of environment, economic growth and can condemn people to hunger, poverty and loss of lives through violent conflicts’, urging the trend to be reversed.
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