Access to land refers to the means and ways by which individuals or groups obtain rights to use, control, and transfer land (property). Access to land for the rural poor is often based largely on custom.
The Nigerian land use decree of 1978 stipulates that all land belongs to the government holding the same in trust for the public. One of the objectives of the Land Use Act is to assist the citizenry, to realize his ambition and aspiration of owning a place where he and his family will live a secured and peaceful life.
In the case of Ibrahim v. Mohammed, the SC stated that the land use act was promulgated as a whole with the view of making land available to all Nigerians irrespective of where they live but the reverse is the case as there is a lack of access to land in Nigeria. it is important to note that the act was enacted to address some of the problems in Nigeria but access to land alone cannot solve poverty. land, being a scarce and a unique resource, its careful management is essential to economic development and should be taken seriously. It has been said that the utility to which a country puts its land makes it be classified as developed or not and in the case of Nigeria, it is classified as a third-world country. Every investment in Nigeria is dependent upon the availability of land.
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There are different strategies by which people gain access to land, thus:
- Adverse possession or prescription (by acqui- Purchase (in this case, there is the transfer of title)
- Lease (rents are paid to the owner)
- Sharecropping (the user cultivates the land but the produce is shared between the user and owner of land in an agreed proportion).
- Inheritance by heirs of the owner.
- Squatting illegally on land.
- Systematically through land reform policies.
- Position of rights through possession for a prescribed period of time).
- Compulsory acquisition (by the government)
- Traditional means.
Individuals, corporate organizations, and even government gain access to land in Nigeria through all the above-mentioned strategies.
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