By Ajayi Taiwo
The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa has pledged to work with stakeholders and the National Assembly to ensure that the country’s Land Use Act is comprehensively reviewed and amended.
“I have already issued a directive to the Directors of the Department of Land and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning to develop a robust framework for engaging the National Assembly and stakeholders in reviewing the Land Use Act,” said Dangiwa.
He observed that key provisions of the Act, including those related to compensation, are obsolete and lack relevance in guiding land-related matters in today’s Nigeria.
“I believe there are opportunities to revise the Act to make it more relevant today,” said Dangiwa.
The Minister also emphasized the importance of instituting a sustainable framework that generates credible, reliable, and scientific data to guide policy formulation.
“I have already moved beyond simply discussing the problem to taking action by engaging the National Population Commission to leverage the forthcoming population census to obtain baseline scientific data about the state of housing conditions in Nigeria,” he said.
The Minister’s commitment to reviewing the Land Use Act was welcomed by the World Bank team, which is currently working with the ministry on land acquisition, resettlement, and compensation.
“Land remains a significant issue in the sector,” said Michael Ilesanmi, the leader of the World Bank team. “The Land Use Act faces various challenges, and while realities have changed since its enactment in 1978, not much has changed with the Act.”
The World Bank team also expressed concern about the inadequate processes and standards used in determining replacement costs and compensation rates.
“You can obtain the legal license, but without the social license, you cannot operate effectively,” said Ilesanmi.
The Minister assured the World Bank team that his leadership is determined to address all the challenges confronting the sector. He also noted that the ministry will collaborate with relevant agencies in the area of policy development to ensure urban planning receives adequate attention.
“The retreat for state officials of urban planning scheduled to take place in October 2023 will be one way to discuss strategies to tackle the challenge of unplanned cities,” said Dangiwa.