An Appraisal Of Alienation Of Right Of Occupancy Under The Nigerian Law: Issues And Challenges








1.1        Introduction

The results of population pressure, urbanization and socio-economic growth have great social and economic impact on land issues in Nigeria.[1] This therefore makes people to move from rural to urban areas and therefore, congested urban areas are in need for expansion but land is too scarce.2 Hence, to acquire land became even impossible because of the cost of compensation.[2] These difficulties faced by both the people and governments make it necessary for the government to do something about land distribution in Nigeria.[3] Consequently, the Rent Control Panel was appointed in 1976 and saddled with the responsibility to study the system of land distribution and speculation. They therefore recommended among other things, that the federal military government should take over all land in the country.[4]   This and many panels and committees [5] necessitated the enactment of the Land Use Act which provides the framework of national policy in Nigeria and enables the government to control the use of which the land can be put in all parts of the country.[6]

To make the above policy of nationalizing land effective, the land use Act provides for

“right of Occupancy” 8 which gives the holder a mere right of possession and not ownership.9 Hence, two types of occupancies are provided for namely: Statutory Right of Occupancy (SRO) and Customary Rights of Occupancy (CRO).[7] However, the Act stipulates that those rights granted to holders can only be alienated when governor‟s consent is first had and obtained.[8] And failure to secure that consent may render any transaction or alienation null and void.[9]

Therefore the above provisions of the land use Act [10] make land transactions very difficult, thereby making grants very complicated. These problems can among others be attributed to inadequacy of the law regulating land transaction (Land Use Act), on one hand and the conflict of interpretation of the requirement of Governor‟s consent on the other. Thus, the research aims at appraising and analyzing alienation of right of occupancy, consent requirements and the problems it created.  It also looks at the issues and challenges of the area and proffers some solutions.


1.2        Aim and Objectives of the Research

The aim of this research is to appraise alienation of the right of occupancy under the

Nigerian law. The objectives of the research are:

  1. To analyze Governor‟s consent under the Land Use Act,
  2. To examine problems and controversies created by the consent requirement as well as the hardship meted out by the interpretation of sections 21 and 22 of the Land Use Act.
  3. To also bring out some issues and challenges and finally offers some solutions to the problems associated with the area of the research.


[1] Taiwo, A. The Nigerian Land Law. Ababa Press Ltd. Ibadan (2011) 201 2 Yakubu, M. G. Notes on Land Use Act ABU Press ltd. Zaria, (1986) P. 9.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Oluyede, P. A. O., Nigerian Conveyancing Practice, Drafting and Precedents. Heinemann Educational Books Nigeria Plc, Ibadan, (1994) p. 324.

[4] Yakubu op cit. p. 10.

[5] The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) which was set up to prepare the 1979 constitution etc strongly recommended for nationalization of all underdeveloped lands in Nigeria to allow the landless land for shelter and sustenance.

[6] Omotola J. A. Essays on Land Use Act, 1978, University Press (1984), p. vi. 8 Taiwo, A. op. cit. p. 208. 9 Ibid 210 -211

[7] Ibid

[8] See generally s. 22 of the Land Use Act cap L5 LFN 2004.

[9] S. 26 ibid

[10] SS. 22 and 26 Ibid

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