LAND TENURE SYSTEM IN WEST AFRICA: Land tenure is defined as the system of landownership or acquisition by individual, family, community or government agency either for temporary or permanent use. It can be classified into the following groups.
i. Communal Land Tenure: The land belong to the entire community.
ii. Land Tenure by Inheritance: Land is being inherited from one’s parent or from one generation to another.
iii. Lease Hold System: This type of land tenure requires the payment of certain amount of money for the use of the land over a stated period of time. It exists between a person called leasor (owner of property) and another called the lease (borrower of property) for the lease of a piece of land for a specified period of years.
iv. Land Tenure by Rent: Farmers rent the land for use over a short period of time during which certain amount of money is paid as rent for the use of it. At the end of the period the agreement may be reviewed, if the landlord so desires.
v. Land Tenure by Purchase or Free Hold Features: A farmer buys a piece of land for agricultural purposes. He pays certain money to the landlord and the land becomes his personal property.
vi. Land Tenure by Free Gift or Pledge Features: Land is donated or given out of goodwill or free of charge in appreciation or as an incentive. The new owner does not to pay any money.
vii. Tenant sat Will of Government Features: Land is given or allocated to a farmer by the government. Such land is for a stipulated period of time.
GOVERNMENT LAWS ON LAND USE IN WEST AFRICA
i. The Land Use Act (Decree) was promulgated by the Federal Government of Nigeria on March 29, 1978
ii. It is a reform essentially aimed at encouraging proper productive and efficient use of land.
iii. The Decree stipulated that individuals can only use a piece of land for 99 years after which the land reverts to the government.
iv. It provides that farmers should not be allocated more than 500 hectares of land for crop production or 5,000 hectares for grazing.
v. All land users must acquire certificate of occupancy / land ownership once the person is above 21years.
ADVANTAGES OF LAND USE DECREE
i. It has made land acquisition relatively easier for new entrants into agriculture.
ii. It has reduced the number and frequency of court cases over land ownership.
iii. It prevents fragmentation of land since land acquired under the decree cannot be shared into bits.
iv. Reduction in boundary disputes since survey of acquired land is mandatory for occupancy right to be granted.
DISADVANTAGES OF LAND USE DECREE
i. It leads to escalation in the cost of land survey.
ii. It has impoverished communities whose main assets were their lands.
iii. It has encouraged dishonesty through illegal sale and backdating of ownership or title deeds after 1978.
iv. Land is not necessarily allocated to every potential agricultural developer.