The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Architect Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, has pledged his commitment to working with stakeholders and the National Assembly to ensure that the country’s Land Use Act is comprehensively reviewed and amended.
This initiative aims to update the laws guiding housing, access to land, compensation, resettlement, and other land-related matters in line with current realities.
A statement issued on Wednesday by the Special Adviser on Media to the minister, Mark Chieshe, said Dangiwa gave the assurance during a meeting with a World Bank delegation at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
Dangiwa 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 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,” he said.
While addressing the issue of the housing deficit, the minister emphasized the importance of instituting a sustainable framework that generates credible, reliable, and scientific data to guide policy formulation.
He stated that he has 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.
The minister further assured the team that his leadership is determined to address all the challenges confronting the sector, as well as look into the foreclosure law, which is essential for the growth of the mortgage industry.
He also noted that the ministry will collaborate with relevant agencies in the area of policy development to ensure urban planning receives adequate attention, adding that 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.
The leader of the delegation, Michael Ilesanmi, noted that discussions with the ministry on land acquisition, resettlement, and compensation began in 2014, with a deepening of these discussions in 2022.
“Land remains a significant issue in the sector. The Land Use Act faces various challenges, and while realities have changed since its enactment in 1978, not much has changed with the Act. I believe there are opportunities to revise the Act to make it more relevant today,” he said.
He added that the issues surrounding acquisition, resettlement, and compensation are hindering development.
The World Bank team also expressed concern about the inadequate processes and standards used in determining replacement costs and compensation rates, which further exacerbate the challenges in land development.
“You can obtain the legal license, but without the social license, you cannot operate effectively,” said Ilesanmi.
While the World Bank offered its commitment to provide technical and knowledge assistance to the ministry when called upon, it called for a systematic approach to dealing with the numerous challenges in the land and housing sector.