Land reform is a deliberate change in the way in which agricultural land is held or owned, the methods of cultivation that are employed, or the relation of agriculture to the rest of the economy.
According to the World Bank, Land reform is concerned with changing the institutional structure governing man’s relationship with the land, involving intervention in the prevailing pattern of land ownership, control and usage in order to change the structure of holdings, improve land productivity and broaden the distribution of benefits.
At independence, the Nigeria nation inherited a collection colonial land tenure systems with their attendant challenges. And with the rapid economic development after independence, the need to acquire all kinds of land for industrial and agricultural development grew intense.
The Land Use Act of 1978 was meant to usher in a new land reform in Nigeria, unfortunately, there are some provisions of the Land Use Act that have had adverse consequences on the utilization of land, development of commercial agriculture, housing and the real estate markets in the country.
Characterized by lack of prerequisite maps for determining who owns what land; the non-explicit demarcation of urban and rural areas, and the assumption that the prerequisite national cadastre and geospatial data infrastructure, which are very essential for any land tenure reform.
The apparent flaws in the 1978 Land Use Act led to the agitation for its review by many stakeholders. Consequently in 2009, there was the establishment of the Presidential Committee on Land Reforms.
The contributions and achievements of this committee include collaboration and giving technical assistance to states and Local Government Areas (LGA’s).
It also include determination of individual possession rights using best practice as well as encouraging and assisting states and local governments to establish arbitration mechanism for land ownership.
Part of the recommendations was also balanced redistribution of land to all relevant sectors and businesses especially to the neglected Agriculture Business sector, and Women who have been sidelined over the years.
If the government of Nigeria should take a bold step in land reforms, by translating the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reforms to a full fledged National Land Commission
This will go a long way to reduce poverty and unemployment amongst the youths, enhancement of Agriculture borrowings and repayments, as well as promotion of food security and safety and wealth creations along the value chains.
There would be sustainable land-management practices such as conservation agriculture, intercropping and sustainable forestry which can lead to multiple benefits such as reducing erosion, building soil fertility and structure, improving water quality and buffering against drought.
This can be the only way to Economic Development and wealth creation as well as adding value to land as land will now be captured by Geo spatial and easily identified and can be used as collateral for Agriculture Business loans and for purposes of exchanges and values.