Nigeria: Study reveals the insufficiency of Voluntary Guidelines

cc Flickr photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann
Most of the issues within the Principles are either of an ethical nature, says the author, are already embedded in the Constitution of Nigeria and within its different policies on natural resources management. What in effect is of importance is that the principles are a reminder of to move from policy concepts and political rhetoric to implementation and action.

You may download the entire study here:
Ako Amadi VG Nigeria

Applicability of the UN Voluntary Guidelines (VGs) on the Responsible Governance of Tenure on Land, Fisheries and Forests and the AU Framework and Guidelines on Land, and the Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land based Investments, LSLBI in Africa within the Nigerian context.

A discussion protocol reflecting the views of participants at the validation meeting of 4th December 2014 is presented as Endnotes 6, on page 45 of this manuscript

1. Soy beans. Borno 2 .Montane forests, Obudu, Cross River 3. Grazing livestock, Gombe
Photos: 1&2 Ako Amadi, CCDI & 3. Bernard Haven, CIDA, 2009

Ako Amadi
Executive Director
Community Conservation and Development Initiatives, CCDI
Lekki Peninsula, Lagos, Nigeria

A discussion paper commissioned by ActionAid Nigeria

November 2014


A.D. Anno Domini
AfDB African Development Bank
AU African Union
AUC African Union Commission
CAADP Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program
CFS Committee on World Food Security
CSO Civil Society Organizations
ECA Economic Commission for African
ECOWAS Economic Commission of West African States
EIA Environmental Impact Assessment
FAO Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations
FDI Foreign Direct Investment
F&G Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa
IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development
LPI Land Policy Initiative
LSLBI Large-Scale Land-Based Investments
LUA Land Use Act
LUP Land Use Planning
MDGs Millennium Development Goals
M&E Monitoring and Evaluation
MEAs Multilateral Environmental Agreements
NEPAD New Partnership for African Development
NGOs Non-Governmental Organizations
RECs Regional Economic Communities
UK United Kingdom
UN United Nations
VGs Voluntary Guidelines


Agrarian reform
A process of land reform which also addresses the political economy and the context in which rural society uses land resources
Arable land
Arable land (% of land area) in Nigeria was last measured at 37.33 in 2009, according to the World Bank. Arable land includes land defined by the FAO as land under temporary crops (double-cropped areas are counted once), temporary meadows for mowing or for pasture, land under market or kitchen gardens, and land temporarily fallow. Land abandoned as a result of shifting cultivation is excluded
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life. It is a measure of variety of plants and animals and microbes in different ecological systems
Civil society
Non-state actors in decision-making
An ecological system is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with the non-living (air, soil, etc.) components of their environment
Food security
The capacity of households, communities and the state to mobilize sufficient food through production, acquisition and distribution, on a sustainable basis.
Land administration
The structure and processes for the determination, achieving and delivery of land rights, and the systems through which general oversight on the performance of the land sector is managed
Land tenure
A derivative of the concept of natural resource tenure, but equally a social construct, defining the relationships between individuals and groups of individuals by which the rights and obligations (with respect to control and use of resources) are defined. The specific concepts relevant to land tenure are: Freehold, a traditionally western concept implying the absolute right to control, manage, use and dispose of a piece of property; Leasehold, in which land belonging to one entity for a fixed period of time; Statutory allocations, a particular form of state land where such land, by virtue of some statutory provision, is allocated for the use of some legally constituted body; and Customary systems, in which tenure rights are ostensibly controlled and allocated according to traditional practice.
Land titling
Land titling is a form of land reform in which private individuals and families are given formal property rights for land which they have previously occupied informally or used on the basis of customary land tenure. Proponents argue that providing formal titles increases security of land tenure, supports development of markets in land, and allows better access to credit (using land titles as collateral. The goals of poverty alleviation and urban management, however, can lead to conflicts in the design of land titling programs. Research in China has found that more than 40% of farmers lack written documentation to confirm their land rights, and that local governments can frequently take away or sell off their land rights. Evidence on the effectiveness of land titling for poverty reduction poverty and economic development is mixed, with the key issue being the impact of titling on the security of land tenure, which varies. Particularly where customary land is involved, the introduction of formal land registration may have unpredictable effects, with the efficiency and marketization of existing forms of land tenure underestimated, and the costs of formal registration underestimated and the security of formal land title overestimated. In many countries, recipients of formal title have later found that their titles did not give them the expected security in the face of market or state requirements to obtain their land. Some studies have found positive outcomes, albeit less strong than expected; one recent study on land titling in Argentina found that “entitling the poor increases their investment both in the houses and in the human capital of their children.”
The way in which land titling is carried out may raise gender issues. While titling was expected to promote long term investments and ensure the transfer of land from less efficient to more efficient users, studies assessing the impact of tenure reform in Africa often found few significant effects of privatization on production and, in some cases, even negative effects
A system of rules which are enforced through social institutions to govern behaviour
The means of securing the basic necessities – food, water, shelter, clothing – of life
Policy is a principle to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes
The ability to continue a defined behaviour or activity
Value chain
A high-level model of how businesses receive raw materials as input, add value to the raw materials through various processes, and sell finished products to customers.


• The Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments, LSLBI in Africa commence with a chapter on Respect for the Human Rights of Communities, followed by LSLBI contributions to National Plans for Sustainable Development, around Principles of Good Governance, Respect for the Rights and Benefit of Women, Cooperation, Mutual Accountability and M&E, and ending with how to operationalize the recommendations. Most of the issues within the Principles are either of an ethical nature, or embedded in the Constitution of Nigeria and within its different policies on natural resources management. What in effect is of importance is that the principles are a reminder that there is a possibility to move from policy concepts and political rhetoric to implementation and action. It is equally a call for the country to activate the latent potential of national institutions.
• The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of national Food Security is a global document and not only directed at Africa. Its purpose is to serve as a reference in the efforts, global and national to eradicate hunger and poverty, based on the principles of sustainable development and the centrality of land to development by promoting secure tenure rights and equitable access to natural resources.
• The prevailing Land Use Act of Nigeria, enacted in 1978, practically vests the custodianship of land in the authority of state governors, and is criticised for that reason, and for its incompatibility with the tenets of institutionalized democracy and subsidiarity, and the misuse of the rights of the individual as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution, bearing in mind that a vital column propping up politics in Nigeria is the decentralization and devolution of authority.
• There are implementation and domestication difficulties when the Federal Government signs Multilateral Environmental Agreements, MEAs and related agreements in agriculture, for all Nigerians when there is no clarity as to its authority over land.
• A real issue of concern relates to the dualism around a parallel existence of statutory and customary land tenure systems in Nigeria. The emerging arguments are in favour of a better definition of both systems for compatibility with the rights of the individual under a democracy. Nigerian settlements are becoming increasingly cosmopolitan, and land rights must represent a level playing field of access for every Nigerian irrespective of their origins and ancestral customs.
• The African Union Framework Guidelines and UN Voluntary Guidelines on land policy and large scale land based investments respectively under review in this manuscript are not addressing new problems of land tenure, but a reminder of old concerns with sustained, re-current and residual impacts that must be tackled with renewed vigour in Nigeria.
• Global or continental recipes do not solve national land problems, most of which are embedded in the history, culture, economy and ecology of a country.
• One difficulty of paramount importance relates to the origins of the recommended guidelines that are anything but populist. Recommendations on best practice in land use are likely to have unintended and adverse consequences if developed without grassroots consultation.
• Discussion around the applicability of the guidelines in the Nigerian context relate firstly to the unclear legal rights of communities: mainly the rural poor, smallholder farmers, especially in respect of the possibilities of litigation and seeking redress or compensation for damage to their lands, or its grab by investors and the government. In this context the continental and global recommendations should have included a strongly worded message for international businesses operating in Africa.
• Secondly, there are progressive ecological and demographic changes in Nigeria, including urbanization and the growing changes in the status of women, economic growth and new opportunities, land use and climate that necessitate monitoring and evaluation, review and upgrade of land policy.
• Thirdly, capacity responds to the ability of individuals within Nigeria to participate in governance under the democratic dispensation of their country. In this context, land, agriculture and environment issues which form the basis of livelihoods for a greater percentage of the Nigerian population must fall in line with government’s aspirations to decentralise the polity and devolve real power to elected units of local governance. In light of this, the Nigerian government has to re-visit the role of traditional or “natural” rulers to determine whether they obstruct or promote the democratic rights of individuals and communities.
• Fourthly, we have a situation in Nigeria where increasingly privatized, expanding and mechanized agriculture exists side-by-side with unmanaged forests, lakes and rivers. It portends dangers for ecosystem stability and peaceful co-existence of communities, especially that between sedentary farmers and pastoralists which re-currently results in loss of lives and destruction of property. Commercialization of agriculture constitutes one of the major driving forces behind privatization and individualization of rights to land with the potential to marginalize small-holder farmers.
• The country needs better gender-focused analyses as vital components of land use and management of natural resources. Women play a pivotal role in agriculture. Under the prevailing socio-political structures and religio-ideological value and patriarchal systems, the rights of women to land ownership are very weak and insecure. Their status within the parallel existence of customary and statutory tenure systems in the country has not improved by much. This must be rectified through infusing gender indicators into all facets of law, policy and strategy related to natural resources in Nigeria.
• Recommendations in this desk review include the enhancement of productive capacity of the rural economy, institutional and policy coherence, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, fortification of environmental impact assessment and environmental audit processes, research, knowledge management and engagement of civil society with government on alternative concepts of land use and equity in Nigeria. The key to environmental sustainability is an impartial and inexorable assessment of environmental impacts and audits which must be by localized committees and not from a centralized Ministry of Environment in Abuja.
• Further, Nigeria is need of institutional coherence that must be reflected in public, private sector, civil society and donor harmonization of land use projects, and large scale land based investments of the business community.
• The country stands to gain by working closely with neighbouring states, and countries in the West African sub-region on the management of transboundary and shared resources
• Where many institutions of state are in a decayed status, there are expectations over the assistance of civil society as a platform in advocacy around the guidelines on land and resource rights, as well as in their implementation. The NGOs will eventually shoulder much responsibility to protect the country from land degradation, food insecurity, hunger and conflict. Support to the civil society platform to accomplish this task is regrettably not built into the frameworks and guidelines.
• Finally, insecurity impedes access to the environment and its management, but the notion that impoverished and degraded ecosystems fuel insurgency cannot be discounted.


Three documents: the AU, AfDB, UNECA Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments, LSLBI in Africa, 2) the CFS, FAO Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, 3) AU Framework and Guidelines on Land in respect of their applicability in the Nigerian context form the subject matter of this manuscript. (See Annex 2, 3, 4) were reviewed.

This manuscript is written in the year 2014, exactly 100 years of a unified Nigeria. The issues of land and natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable have played vital roles in politics and development of pre- and post-colonial Nigeria, and into the federation after Independence. Land is often regarded as a “delicate” subject, even though we take land for granted and physically walk and work on it to points of degradation. Mostly, to our own detriment we give little back to the land. How are societies organized in the space in which they live? What role does land play in the communal life of people? Social geography, described by Werlen (2000) as the relationship of man and living space, is the most important control mechanism that drives political configuration and livelihoods in Nigeria.

There are few conflicts in world history that were not connected either proximately or remotely with the struggle for land, and the control of its resources – minerals, water, forest resources, fishery resources, and agricultural lands. More recent quarrels, rebellions or outright civil wars in Africa are often escalations of disputes over land and resource rights.

The international boundaries in Africa were created by the colonial masters and many cut across ethnic groups, communities and clans. Perhaps it is in light of justified trepidation that further continental chaos could occur that the African Union had been unwilling to discuss the actual implications, political and social of land and resource rights.

Why then was the land question not given more priority in international development politics and national planning? Whether old wounds will be re-opened, restitution and reparations requested by African communities, the science of settlements and land use remains relevant in a diagnostic function for policy development around natural resources management and poverty alleviation processes.

If, in his History of Nigeria, Alan Burns (1929), a distinguished specialist on Nigeria wrote: ‘The principal asset of Nigeria is the oil palm,’ that scenario has shifted since the mid-20th century to an economy almost entirely dependent on crude oil. It has had repercussions for agriculture and land holdings, and of course for the health of the environment. Oil spills and gas flares were unknown before the 1950s. Vegetation, water resources, soil types, zoogeography and ethnobotany combine with ethnography and culture to provide the traditional land tenure system of each Nigerian ethnic group, or “ethnic nationality,” to apply a more benign interpretation.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is infinitely more complex, more populous, less homogenous, spectacularly more varied within itself, but also more ecologically vulnerable and socio-politically volatile than most other nations on the continent of Africa. The Biafra War that lasted between 1967and 1970, and the current Boko Haram insurgency, spreading from Northern Nigeria testify to this assertion.

Nigeria was not a settler colony like Kenya, Namibia, South Africa or Zimbabwe. Despite Portuguese penetration into the coastal areas from as early as the 15th century A.D. Europeans came to West Africa to trade, administer or exploit human and natural resources, but not to stay. A harsh and humid climate, tropical diseases, chiefly spread by insect vectors, in particular the mosquito tended to keep white settlement to the barest minimum.

Edicts by Lugard around the 1914 Amalgamation, reflected British policy of prohibiting European settlement (Gunther, 1955). Thus, no colonial power took land away from Nigerians for the settlement of its people, and unlike the scenario in southern Africa, there is presently no agitation for restitution and redistribution of land. Land in Nigeria has always been in Nigerian hands.

The colonial period was also comparatively short, 1914-1960, with nationalism and the desire for self-rule starting early enough in the 1930s. But the systems of land holdings have remained a parallel but unclear existence of traditional and statutory systems, the former unwritten but more potent than the latter. This composite and delicate dualism is furnished with incendiary devices, loopholes and levers for ignition of recurrent agitation, abuse and internecine conflict.

Although as stated by Jeffrey Sachs (2005) in his publication, The End of Poverty, that the textbooks on introductory economics often preach individualism and decentralized markets, the safety and prosperity of the Nigerian people depend at least as much on collective decisions and transparency to establish a modicum of equity in access to land, while a resolve by the state to fight disease, promote widespread education and good science, provide critical infrastructure and act in unison to broach blatant issues of gender inequality, should help the poor to get a foothold on the ladder of development.

This desk review on the Applicability of Voluntary Guidelines (VG) on the Responsible Governance of Tenure on Land, Fisheries and Forests, and the AU Framework and Guidelines, (F&G) on Land and the Guiding Principles on Large-Scaled Land Based Investments in Africa in the Nigerian Context (See Annex 1, 2, 3,4) results prominently from scrutiny of three major associated documents and ancillary publications of the CFS and FAO, the AU, AfDB and ECA and EU.

The author’s participation in the recent workshops and conferences on the Land Policy Initiative, LPI in Addis Ababa, Tunis, and Ouagadougou, in the period from 2010 to 2014 was invaluable in getting a degree of continent-wide opinion on land policy initiatives, as seen both from national and regional perspectives.

Application of extraneous recommendations is common in international development, and best practice, no matter where it comes from is always worthy of emulation or replication. Nevertheless, the recipients of guidelines or advice must also demonstrate the political will, and be equipped with prudence, intellectual and institutional capabilities to use them effectively.

For starters, one resounding criticism from delegates at the recent conference on Land Policy in Africa, 11 – 14 November, 2014, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was equally corroborated by the higher recesses within the AU, UN and African Development Bank, AfDB who sponsored the event. This was over the large quantity of information and suggestions around the propositions made on the framework and guidelines and the voluntary guidelines in land use and tenure for Africa. The overall goal of the event was to:

“Strengthen advocacy for comprehensive land policy, and to deepen capacity for land policy in Africa through improved access to knowledge and information, to support evidence-based land policy-making and implementation, including showcasing emerging and promising practices, and facilitating networking among land experts and land professionals in Africa…”

Thus, the continental exercise is well-intentioned, but a surfeit of information, with excessive, repetitive and confusing guidelines and principles in some cases, seriously impacts the digestion of what had been served up at the conference. It may be a hurried question, but how could individuals become advocates of issues they do not properly understand? Here, the benefit of doubt must be applied, in the hope that eventual comprehension of these continent-wide recommendations will be widespread.

Historical development of land legislation in Nigeria

In brief, a plethora of customary and traditional rights to land holdings, primarily for settlement, farming, fishing, hunting and gathering existed in the geographic area, now the Federal Republic of Nigeria before its administration by the United Kingdom, and the subsequent Amalgamation of the Protectorates with the Colony of Lagos in 1914. In Lagos, the British enacted several regulatory land laws from 1861, and in the Northern Protectorate, they introduced statutory land legislation under modification of Islamic and customary laws, (Aboki, 2002).

What has to be understood under traditional land-holding systems, basically is that they existed in a period when there was little mobility of populations in Nigeria, and a lack of a centralized authority, democratic or autocratic, that could be described as a sovereign state. We are now faced with a situation of ethnic interaction within the Constitution and legal instruments of Nigeria, and realize that in many cases, the applicability of guidelines on tenure policy, or laws can only be judged by their actual practicability and interpretation.

Traditional or customary tenure was based on indigenous culture of each ethnic group within the enclave in which they subsisted. How do these now apply to ‘strangers’ who by virtue of the Constitution are encouraged, even entitled to live anywhere in Nigeria, and pursue livelihood activities?

Expectedly, conflicts arose in pre-colonial times, and still ferment over demarcations of ethnic/tribal boundaries, and over transboundary and shared resources such as grazing areas and stock routes, fishing grounds in coastal estuarine and marine ecosystems, lakes and rivers, forests and farmland.

There were struggles over the rights to cut wild palm fruits, even over ownerships, declarations and locations of sacred groves and water bodies where harvest of natural resources was regulated, restricted or entirely forbidden. In Igboland of eastern Nigeria, communities not only practiced slash-and-burn farming, but also shifting cultivation and shifting settlements. All of this led to friction and fighting between individuals and villages. The young British district officers appointed to the area, had their hands full, settling land disputes. Later, in pursuit of enhanced legal representation, many communities raised funds to sponsor their sons for the study of law in the United Kingdom. A number of these lawyers were later part of the vanguard in the movement for Nigeria’s Independence.

Treaties of cession and trade agreements, concluded with local coastal rulers, starting from Lagos in 1861 gave the British control of the southern Nigeria shoreline. At the Berlin Conference in 1885, the British government had, with the sanction of the participating European powers secured international recognition of rights in these maritime areas of Nigeria. On Amalgamation, and beyond it to the creation of a Federation of Nigeria, a recurrent problem with impacts on land policy had arisen, in view of the fact that the British had a more direct form of administration through legislatures in the south, but preferred a philosophy of Indirect Rule under the establishment of a Native Authority system in northern Nigeria.

The official view in the United Kingdom was that the traditional rulers were the true representatives of the people, and the educated elements that clamoured for more political influence within the legislatures could only be regarded as representatives of their own class. The message was clear – that Western parliamentary institutions, and to some extent Western education were irrelevant to non-Western peoples, and a development of a central legislature of the unified Nigeria should very much be influenced by native administration, and thus by the pattern of Indirect Rule, (Okafor, 1981). The nationalists from the south of Nigeria held a different view. To them the British nurtured backwardness and feudalism that were retrogressive in the quest for self-government.

On establishment of colonial administration the UK government enacted a series of laws or ordinances to acquire some lands that were under customary control. For example in both southern and northern Nigeria, Crown Lands Management Proclamations were promulgated to define Crown lands as: all lands and all rights, in and over lands which at any time at or after the commencement of this Proclamation are vested in, held in trust for, or otherwise belonged to His Majesty, his heirs and successors. These important pieces of legislation were periodically reviewed and upgraded, but in the north, in keeping with a Land and Native Rights Ordinance the Northern Nigerian Lands Committee was established in 1908.

One of the recommendations made by this committee was that the whole of the land of the Protectorate of northern Nigeria should be under the control of the government. And that no title to the occupation, use or enjoyment was valid without the consent of the governor.

The British initiated the notion of customary tenure with serious distortions around the debate of community and individual rights, the definition of customary authorities, and the identity of ‘community’ which was conflicted with that of tribe. Throughout the colonial period, and even after Independence in 1960 the land tenure question and problems emanating from it persisted. In the eastern delta area the Kalabari and Okrika communities fought over fishing rights in the early 1960s to the extent that the government of Eastern Nigeria under Michael Okpara threatened to separate and relocate the warring parties.

Post-Independence governments of Nigeria complained incessantly of difficulty in acquiring land from customary ownership for development initiatives, and saw the situation as a chicane that impeded economic growth. This was crucial, and remains at the core of tenurial legislation in Nigeria. In a perfect world, a win-win situation should apply to the satisfaction of the government and the people, more so as Nigeria is now a democracy and the government is elected by the people. In practice, the prevailing Land Use Act is not compatible with the tenets of institutionalized democracy and subsidiarity. The problem is that a large section of the population is not organized enough to articulate objection to this misnomer.

By 1975, the Federal Military Government of the day constituted panels to make recommendations on a new land tenure system for the federation, and in 1978 the present Land Use Act was hatched. This time, while the successive governments and state governors of the country appear to be comfortable with it, it is now the citizens of Nigeria who are largely dissatisfied with the legislation. Land is allocated to political cronies and businesses by governors and political parties in reward for support. Worse still, the Land Use Act cannot be repealed without a constitutional amendment. Yet, it could be tinkered with and made more responsive to the wishes of the people, if a state governor is imbued with the foresight and democratic culture to do so.

There are similarities between the Land and Native Rights Ordinance, 1910 which had existed in the northern region of Nigeria, with slight modifications, and the more recent Land Use Act, 1978 of the country. This is in the sense that the ownership and transfer of land by village and clan heads, communities, families was made difficult by both of these legislative fiats. By virtue of the tenurial insecurity thereby created in the whole of Nigeria, in vesting the trusteeship of land in state governors, the quality of environmental management has declined appreciably. Unhealthy ecological systems impact agricultural productivity, and by implication, food security.


In Nigeria approximately 60 to 70 per cent of the population still live in rural areas, in spite of the current rapidity of urban migration. The land and resource rights of rural as well as the urban poor are threatened by:

• inappropriate policies and institutions, including global treaties and agreements
• unequal social, political and economic relations, both internally and externally
• Gender discrimination and inequality
• the actions of powerful vested interests, which include wealthy national and local elites and multinational corporations
• the weakness of national grassroots organization

Since Independence in 1960, Nigeria has relied on donor assistance for policy development in land, biodiversity conservation, agriculture and climate change. There is criticism from practitioners and the research institutions and universities that policy development processes should ideally represent the results of sustained and cumulative research and experience at home. “Lack of funds!” to develop natural resource management policy cannot be an excuse for one of the largest producers of crude oil in the world. It sends a signal to the world that Nigeria cares little about the stewardship of natural resources.

In 1966 the Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO conducted some research on the system of land holdings in Nigeria and observed:

“Land tenure is at once the most complex and most delicate of problems facing agricultural development in the country. As the country moves from a tribal to a national state, and from a traditional to a modern society, a fundamental revolution in land tenure is inevitable. It recognized the need for Nigerians to be able to move and work freely all over the country. The Report called for a common form for exchange of experience and ideas, and for working out, in consultation with state authorities, solutions in the national interest.”

During the final years of the 20th century, Nigeria and many African nations commenced the transition from military dictatorship to democratic governance. To prepare enabling environments for this purpose, and driven by Western ideals of democracy and a free market economy, there had been a focus on decentralization of the polity and devolution of authority. In due course, Nigeria, thus carved out 36 states and 774 local government areas.

The international development agencies have responded globally with the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs to usher in a mantra of “community-based” initiatives in such areas as agriculture, environment and health care. Nigeria has acceded to a number of multilateral environmental agreements, MEAs as well.

There is no measure on how far Nigeria has advanced in gender equality. Much of what is said and published is sheer window dressing, a façade that blocks the view into the status of women and the resistance of men over their emancipation. While Nigeria boasts of female ministers, in few local governments in the country do women hold responsible positions. But in Rwanda, 60 percent of the parliamentarians are women. In Ghana, a bill was brought before parliament last week to address the discrimination of widows.

It is to the credit of international development agencies that the alarm bells over the status of women are constantly sounded loud and clear. The donors have also been the major supporters of civil society in Nigeria, and the participation of NGOs in public affairs is now a feature of governance in Nigeria. Where the NGO is often ignored by African governments, the western democracies incentivise their non-profit organizations through financial support as a vital sector of governance, irrespective of whether they support the ruling party (which they mostly do not) or not.

But conceptions and structural establishments and institutions have not had the desired practical functionality in Nigeria. The central issue of land, and the rights to natural resources are grossly neglected even in forums such as the UN-organized summits on sustainable development, where they are relegated to cosmetic and patronizing “side events,” even though experts agree quietly that unequal access opportunities to land and natural resources may be partly responsible for conflict in some parts of Africa.

In my observation at the LPI workshops and conference, it appeared that there was the unwillingness to table land concerns in mega-conferences for open exchanges between stakeholders. But in many instances, the multilateral and bilateral development agencies worked with selected partners from target countries, often anxious to limit the state-civil society confrontations, and never inviting the private sector. What is so sacrosanct about the private sector that they cannot join a discussion on land use, especially where they play a central role in large-scale land-based investments in Africa?

Another observation, which has currency is that Nigeria appears to be “schemed out” of AU conceptualisation and studies on land issues for reasons that are difficult to understand, bearing in mind that the country has the largest population in Africa, and a linguistic, cultural and ecologic diversity unmatched on the continent. In some African meetings Nigeria is easily identified as an “oil-producing giant!” The international community sometimes forgets that the country is as agrarian as any other on the African continent.

I wonder at the processes for AU consultation with countries and the rationale for the test cases used in formulating frameworks and guidelines presented for the buy-in of the entire Africa. One imagines that the land issues in large, resource-rich nations such as the Congo DRC and Nigeria should make exemplary case histories to contrast with the usual portrayals of events in smaller countries such as Ghana, Rwanda and Burkina Faso.

A few development policies and programmes promoted by some donor agencies, and multilateral institutions which underpin the New Partnership for African Development, NEPAD, do not give adequate recognition to the land and natural resource rights of the rural poor. National planning and the drive of economic growth in Nigeria is more or less premised on opening up the economy to external investment by multinational corporations, and practically through what is termed, foreign direct investment, FDI, on securing the property rights of foreign capital. It is imaginable that sustainable development in Africa will never be achieved without the securing of these rights in law, and their realisation in practice through concerted efforts at all levels of society.

The F&Gs and VGs under review in this manuscript are not new problems of land tenure as discovered by the AU and UN, but a reminder of old ailments with sustained, re-current and residual impacts that must be tackled with renewed vigour.


The AU F&Gs and the UN VGs are considered, and the main issues emanating from them briefly discussed in their relevance to Nigeria.

Land Policy, Social Justice, Legal Rights of Communities

Do legal prescriptions on land use give rise to social justice? Land policy is not the same as land law, and continent-wide recommendations can only find adoption or application in line with other facets of governance instruments in each signatory nation. Nevertheless, how do the Voluntary Guidelines address problems of poverty and intra-national inequity? A continental recipe does not solve national land problems, most of which are embedded in the history, culture, economy and ecology of a country. Besides all countries in Africa did not start any race for economic growth on the same day, and cannot be measured on the same criteria.

A flaw in the guidelines on land policy handed out by the AU and UN is the fact that they are not structured for time-based application by signatory or participating countries, and no provisions made as yet for monitoring and evaluation, peer review and feedback mechanisms. This, we are informed is in the pipelines.

One difficulty of paramount importance relates to the origins of the recommended guidelines that are anything but populist. Issues of land, being of fundamental development importance tend to be ineffective, and likely to create further problems if developed without grassroots consultation. There are claims by the African Union that there had been “wide consultations” which fed into the documents. But we also have to be reminded of the fact that if the AU unlike the EU does not have elected delegates from the member states, it cannot claim to be acting on behalf of Africa’s peoples. However, a few countries, such as South Sudan have based their land laws on the LPI and VG.

The proponents of the African Union Land Policy Initiative, LPI and the ancillary Voluntary Guidelines, VGs readily admit that while there may be limited scope in the effectiveness of the prescriptions, due primarily to the constraints of national politics, the recommendations however open a window of opportunity for land tenure and land use concerns in the countries of Africa. The advice is that they should be used.

There is however no clarity as to how the legal rights of African communities are, and will be manifested. The term “communities”, is often applied to local people, primarily resident in rural areas, and pursuing livelihoods around subsistence farming and fishing, supplemented by hunting, gathering and small businesses. The problem of the compulsory acquisition of land from communities, or the devastation of their ecological systems and livelihood capital by a government or businesses associated and acting in concert and partnership with it often results in conflict. A discourse from the status of the oil producing areas in Nigeria will suffice.

The Petroleum Act of 1969 was promulgated by decree and came into force on 27th November 1969 under the military dictatorship of that period. By Section 1 of this instrument, Nigeria’s national sovereignty over all petroleum falling within, upon or underlying all lands in Nigeria and the seabed and subsoil of the country’s territorial waters and continental shelf is asserted, and in relation to this, the Act further proclaimed Nigeria’s ownership, control and jurisdiction. Therefore, in spite of compulsory acquisition of affected areas for mineral exploration and exploitation, it does appear that compensation will be the only remedy available to the communities living in these areas (Anyia, 2002).

For example, by the provisions of Section 29 of the Land Use Act, 1978, when rights of occupancy are revoked for the purpose of laying an oil pipeline, or for any purpose connected with it, the holder of the right of occupancy, or the lawful occupiers of the land in respect of which the rights of occupancy were revoked shall be:

“Entitled to compensation under appropriate provisions of the Minerals Act or Mineral Oil Act, or any Legislation replacing same”

What then is the appropriate legal framework to be followed in resolving conflicts ensuing from large-scale land-based investments, LSLBI? At this juncture we must return to the “community,” for better qualification of what it constitutes, its core components and rib structure. Basically, an African community represents units of those individuals that live largely below any definition of poverty levels.

Most community members in Nigeria lack a basic education and primary health care, and a good percentage could be landless. There is a high unemployment rate of young school leavers. In respect of the possibilities of litigation and seeking redress or compensation for damage to their lands, or its grab by investors and the government, these victims under discussion are too poor to pursue legal actions which costs money. In a few instances where communities have resolved to sue, their opponents from the city have hired far superior legal representation with skills to manipulate legal technicalities and protract court proceedings. Sometimes what the villagers demand in the form of compensation could be far less than what the big businesses are willing to pay their high profile lawyers.


The state of land and the life processes on it are not static. It is common scientific knowledge that they are constantly in flux, or to use the common Nigerian aphorism, “No condition is permanent.” There are progressive ecological and demographic changes that have resulted from political direction, economic growth, land use and climate. No matter how well conceived and intentioned, many international policy designs cannot therefore be country specific. The AU F&G as well as the UN VGs do not even make the simplest of projections of how they consider the policy or strategy to react to potential climate, economic and political changes, or growing changes in the status of women, within each signatory nation. It is up to each country to “domesticate” and diffuse the manuscripts to the practicalities at the local level.

Urbanisation is a form of demographic and social change that has consequences for land use and tenure both in the urban as well as in the rural areas of Nigeria. Many city dwellers in Nigeria are able to trace their origins to ancestral homes in the village, where they are very likely to claim land through customary allocation, while at the same time being able to buy land from the urban market. A number of large farms in Nigerian rural areas are in fact owned by “absentee farmers” living in the city, and hiring the labour of peasant relations in the rural communities. Increasingly the landless of Nigerian rural areas will eventually become share-croppers if more stringent land use planning is not effected.


Capacity responds to the ability, in this case of individuals within Nigeria to participate in governance under the democratic dispensation of their country. In this context, land, agriculture and environment issues which form the basis of livelihoods for a greater percentage of the population must fall in line with government’s aspirations to decentralise the polity and devolve real power to elected units of local governance. The problem with Nigeria often rests on institutional and policy incoherence, and the corruption associated with the confusion created.

If in the context of an intellectual direction on development the wealthy nations of the world through the UN, The World Bank and the OECD recommend guidelines for growth, or land, climate change, agriculture, biodiversity conservation to the poorer countries, it must be backed by increased financial assistance to them. The economic partnership agreements between Africa and the European Union and the development issues of global finance have still not led to economic justice in trade, debt and food security. In my belief the financing of the framework and guidelines, as well as the voluntary guidelines could have infused clauses to steer some thinking in the direction of costs and financing of pro-poor land administration.

How has agricultural productivity and ownership of land been impacted by HIV/AIDS and other endemic diseases? Is land policy as recommended by the UN and ECOWAS an incisive reflection of what they believe could contribute to poverty alleviation? In other words, does policy align itself with economic growth or sustainable development? And in the thinking of the UN and ECOWAS does sustainable development equate to economic growth? A look at the environment in Nigeria suggests that the country pursues economic growth that rides rough-shod over the environment.

Where most African nations gained Independence from colonial rule just over half a century ago, land policy should be based on definitions of the unifying factors of the nation state in Africa, in as much as the current ethnic associations and national boundaries are not an African construct. More sensitivity should be demonstrated in UN and ECOWAS documents around ethnic grievances, and transboundary and cultural identities.

Land policies are often like most policies devoid of a simple risk assessment, practically to answer the question, “What happens to the functionality of this policy? What is the alternative should it not work out as conceived? What are the remedial measures?” Granted that no policy is perfect, where is it deficient, and what is the potential of “unfinished business” or issues that have been ignored and “swept under the carpet” to result in conflict at a later stage? And if that happens what would be a proffered conflict resolution mechanism?

Agricultural expansion and environmental sustainability

We have a situation in Nigeria where privatized and expanding agriculture exists side-by-side with unmanaged forests, lakes and rivers. It portends dangers for ecosystem stability and peaceful co-existence of communities, especially that between sedentary farmers and pastoralists. Commercialization of agriculture constitutes one of the major driving forces behind privatization and individualization of rights to land.

One school of thought posits that commercialization results in an increase in cash income, but a decline in subsistence food at the rural household family level, and hence increased market vulnerability and food insecurity. The other side of the argument as far as Nigeria is concerned, is that the integration of traditional smallholder agriculture into the exchange economy is part of a successful development strategy. That remains to be seen.

Today, the import bill for food in Nigeria is exceptionally high. It is growing at an unsustainable rate of approximately 11% per annum. Ironically, Nigeria is importing what it can produce in abundance. This trend is hurting Nigerian farmers and displacing local production. A likely result is not only going to be found in mechanized and commercialized investments for value chain agriculture, but also in an encroachment of these activities into marginal lands and forests, and even into protected areas.

Over the years the ministries of agriculture in Nigeria, the FAO and IFAD have not been forthcoming with explanations as to why, despite the fact that agricultural lands make up 78% of the country’s land area, the dependence on food imports is spiraling out of control. There is still 37% of arable land at the disposal of farmers, but only 9% of forests (World Bank, 2010). Without adequate land use plans, forestry regulations and reforestation, it stands to reason that Nigerian forests and their impressive biodiversity will be gone in the not-too-distant future.

Dualism – parallel existence of statutory and customary land tenure systems

A contentious issue which has plagued land tenure in Nigeria is the parallel existence of statutory and customary land tenure systems. It needs little further explanation, and the origins are explained in previous chapters and in many texts of the LPI. But what are its exact implications in Nigeria?

With due respect to African tradition of chiefs and other monarchs, one area over which we are often silent is whether customary tenure is not a form of autocracy and feudalism that is incongruent with a modern democracy that Nigeria aspires to be. Are the functions of traditional or “natural” rulers compatible with the rights of individuals as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution?

Many Nigerians are no longer under customary governance, simply for the fact that they were born in a cosmopolitan city such as Kano, Abuja, Lagos or Port Harcourt. And there are no demarcated tribal lands where customary tenure operates exclusively. But the customary land tenure system still operates in non-urban areas of these cities, and the non-ethnic citizen is sometimes denied the right to land in a city of his birth. The role of traditional rulers must be properly defined and regulated for alignment with the politics of decentralization and devolution in the democratic governance pursued by Nigeria. Contextually, Nigerians also need to know the role of a local government and the powers of a local chief in the same area.

Gender inequality

Gender equality is one of the ten core principles for implementation of the Guidelines, and is closely tied to three others – human dignity, non-discrimination, and equity and justice. Gender relations in Nigeria are not properly studied, disaggregated, and published as vital components in land use and management of natural resources. Women play a pivotal role in agriculture. Under the prevailing socio-political structures and religio-ideological value and patriarchal systems the rights of women to land and property, to inheritance, to a decent life if widowed are abhorrent. We need gender-responsive micro-credit policies in agriculture and environmental management, as well as affirmative action in employment opportunities.
New definitions of access to land are relevant in Nigeria, as the law says one thing and practice does differently. The men also need to be convinced that their fears of women’s rights to ownership of land are totally unfounded.

How climate compatible are large-scale land based investments?

While they are mentioned, the F&Gs and the VGs did not discuss the compatibility of LSLBI with the new perspectives of adaptation to climate change in a serious manner. This is of concern to many countries in Africa. Nigeria is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and has a climate change policy that outlines the future projections of the country’s environment in detail.

First, there is the large and growing population within the same land area which is threatened by gully and sheath erosion, by sea level rise, and by floods, drought and desertification. If we add to this the dependence of Nigeria’s agriculture on the rains, there is a lot to be concerned about. The LSLBI will not slow down global warming or drive adaptation to the impacts of climate change. It may in fact create the problem of investing in large plantations for feedstock for biofuels. How this will impact food security has not been worked out in Nigeria, although investments have already commenced.

We take into consideration the weak understanding of peasant farmers of the science of climate change, and by implication their confusion on how to adapt to the phenomenon. Disaster risk reduction is at the embryonal stage in Nigeria, and reaction to disasters when they have occurred has left much to be desired. Besides, no one is willing to offer small-holders any insurance cover against natural hydro-meteorological hazards that are projected by climatologists to increase in Nigeria within the coming decades.

Regulatory measures in the form of environmental impact assessments, EIA and audits are pertinent and mandatory. A principle of the LSLBI also makes recommendations in that direction. But again, the EIA process in Nigeria is easily by-passed and fast-tracked by big businesses in such a way that makes it function mainly as a means of revenue collection for the supervising Federal Ministry of Environment.


Land holdings and transfers progress temporally and spatially in parallel with agricultural expansion, environmental management and infrastructure development. Within this conundrum of competing activities land policy should in effect function not only as a defining and limiting factor but also as an instrument of conflict resolution, arbitration and sustainable land management. Few land experts, via the F&Gs and VGs are suggesting linear and explicit solutions to the land problems of Africa, even if there are insinuations as to the path to follow.

Debates in Nigeria will certainly continue as to factors such as customary and statutory tenure, land registration and land titling, none of which is a panacea, all of which have been proposed and making stuttering starts. It is important to focus on comprehensive objectives, i.e. what Nigeria expects its land tenure system to achieve, such as gender equality, food security, security of the rights of individuals and communities, and how it will do this equitably and without bloodshed.

The development of legislations on land use in Nigeria has not had inclusive and democratic mechanisms, implying their influence by inherited tenure systems that reflect the country’s administration in colonial times. Recent policy reviews are taking the current geopolitics, natural resource distribution and value, youth unemployment, gender and the capability of user groups to access land and resource rights under conditions of security, equity and justice into account. Despite a decentralized polity through creation of 36 states and 774 local government areas land legislation is promulgated by a minority for the majority of peasant rural communities. A gap is thus created for the dual existence, but sometimes delicate and volatile co-existence of both statutory and traditional forms in land tenure systems of the different ethnic nationalities.

The debates in 2013 over a review of the 1999 Constitution, presented a sterling opportunity to revisit the lingering and vexing question of insecurity of land holdings in Nigeria. It was also hoped that it should show exactly where to situate environmental management within the Constitution, and bring some clarity to those nebulous factors stoking the embers of rising resource nationalism, abject poverty, landlessness, hopelessness and ensuing conflicts, some of which have been camouflaging as religious bigotry and linking up with international terror organizations. Oftentimes however, terror comes from error in land management and resource rights.

With respect to the exercise, we, the people, were practically challenged by our rulers to come up with a critical analysis of the deficiencies in the country’s Land Use Act. A constitutional reform, the only conduit to effect changes in the Land Use Act is still an opportunity not to be missed. The land question is often misconstrued to refer specifically to markets – the holding and transfer of landed property alone, thanks to the many solicitors and advocates in the country that know and care little about the environment and the natural resources in it. We must paint on a broader canvas. There are wider national and international contexts to be borne in mind when land issues are reformed in a globalized world of today.

Despite the oil and gas resources, which of course are from the land, Nigeria is still very much an agrarian land dependent on the clemency of weather for food security. The fundamentals of a supporting argument are not so much about who gets what land, but who does what with what they get. In Nigeria the debate must not revolve around the Certificate of Occupancy, and the different colorations of bribes to be paid and received before the arrival of the Governor’s Consent, that the poor don’t know much about and cannot afford.

Land cannot be used, changed and transferred, exploited and degraded at the discretion of its owners or lessees without statutory regulatory mechanisms. How will these controls for environmental sustainability be grafted into the constitution of a federated state?

One of many global phenomena, often glossed over refers to the proliferation of international treaties in the last 20 years which impact on Nigeria’s resource base and governance. The federal government routinely signs up for these treaties on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Environment in Abuja without consulting the states to ascertain the effects of these multilateral agreements on local people.
Is the owner of that plot of land in a residential area converting into a noisy church, or night club, or renting out to a cowboy bank? Are states leasing out shoreline properties for 99 years, and cutting down gallery forests which stabilize and check river floods and coastal erosion? Did the large-scale farm in your area slash and burn pristine forests and destroy their biological diversity before growing undetected and unregistered genetically modified crops? And how did the seeds and seedlings get into the country, after Nigeria has acceded to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety for almost a decade?

The present Nigerian Constitution leaves the custodianship of land to the governor of a state, but reserves the right to grant environmental impact assessment certificates; to perform the oversight functions of periodic ecological and standards audits, and the powers to create national parks and sign off on multilateral environmental agreements, MEAs; then again shares concurrent responsibility for environmental management with states and local governments.

Few ministers, commissioners and directors within line federal and state institutions hardly comprehend the complexity of these interrelated responsibilities. Before they leave office, a number of them open up the country’s economy under the neo-liberal premise that external investment must be translated into securing property rights for foreign capital, in what is nothing more than naked land-grabbing.

The rights of women to land ownership are very weak and insecure within the parallel existence of customary and statutory tenure systems in the country. Ironically, some women have been deputy state governors and did not do much to change this discriminatory practice that endangers the livelihood of widows, and sometimes their very lives in the struggle by male in-laws to acquire a late husband’s property.

As the VGs suggest, the notion of land and resource rights should be set against the backdrop of good governance where civil and political rights ought to be equated with socio-economic rights. If the next constitution in Nigeria continues to leave the control of lands and the judiciary in the hands of state governors, and perhaps adds the direction of the police to their powers, then it might as well be goodbye to democratic governance, and welcome to a confederation of 36 dictatorships. Those who remain silent today will share the blame for such a disaster.

Impacts of changing climatic conditions in Nigeria portend dangers to ecosystems stability, food security, health and livelihoods, matched only by policy incoherence in managing forests and fisheries, and settlements in rural and urban areas. Adaptation strategies to combat climate change through cultivating biofuel feedstock is not well researched as to consequences for food security and ecology.

The belief has to be reinforced in all strata of society and its organizations in Nigeria that rural development should be based on the enhancement of the productive capacities of rural people and the regeneration of local economies. Economic efficiency, whether measured in GDP or using other methods, must be subordinate to, and supportive of social efficiency. Low productivity is at the basis of low opportunity in agriculture, and productivity per unit area is necessary.

Nigeria’s agriculture, focusing on rice, cassava, sorghum, cocoa and cotton plantations currently grows at 7.8%, accounting for 75% growth on its non-oil sector, and creating 4 million jobs. But according to the FAO the country had the highest deforestation rate in the world, losing 55.7% of primary forests between 2000 and 2005. This scenario exposes communally owned lands, forests and water resources to land grabbing and physical alterations which occur without adequate environmental impact assessments and audits. The imperative is for coherence in land use governance to enhance food security and environmental sustainability.

Where there is no rule of law enshrined in civil practice, environmental and land justice must be stressed in land governance for policies to have any meaning. The Voluntary Guidelines, Guiding Principles and Frameworks must make us think and search deeper. Equity is the overarching demand, and must be the foundation of the collective global response. What is cogent in Nigeria is equity within generations, equity across generations, and equity between men and women, respect by humans for the natural systems that sustain livelihoods. For this we need to revert back to making individual and societal decisions based on equity in democratic governance and ecological factors, which recognize our integral relationship with the natural world.

Localizing and decentralizing governance, real devolution of authority and subsidiarity, and advancing sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods has become the new social order of sustainable societies, the key to unpacking many of the complexities we face in Nigeria. Despite the Nigerian Constitution, the autonomy of local governments is not guaranteed. State governments still impose oversight functions on the local governments, including withholding their statutory allocations from the federal government, and practically do not recognize the local government as a legal entity. State governments often devolve certain responsibilities for management of natural resources and the environment to their lower level structures and task forces, but resist transferring full management rights to the poor communities that depend on the resources

Writing on the recent National Conference, as it resumed its plenary session Fabiyi, O and F.Olokor (2014) reported that the debate on the recommendation of a committee for the creation of grazing reserves for Fulani Herdsmen brought about sharp disagreement among the delegates along ethnic lines.

Delegates, mostly from the southern part of the country, kicked against suggestions that special areas and treatment be given to herdsmen to curtail the reoccurring clashes between the herdsmen and farmers. The delegates raised the objection during the debate on the report of the Committee on Citizenship, Immigration and Related Matters, chaired by the Emir of Yauri and delegate representing National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, Alhaji Zayyanu Abdullahi.

A proposed amendment to a recommendation introduced by a delegate from Benue State, Dr Magdalene Dura, to restrict the movement of cattle rearers or creation of modernized grazing reserves for the herdsmen and their cattle, with all the expenses borne by their states of origin, divided the delegates along regional lines and stalled the proceedings.

Dura stirred the hornet’s nest when she said any special treatment or special funds for the herdsmen, who are engaged in economic activities, would breach the provisions of Section 42 of 1999 constitution. According to her, the herdsmen enjoy the same rights like every other Nigerian and they are free to live in any part of the country.

She said if the proposal for special fund for the herdsmen sailed through, it should also extend to other Nigerians engaged in other economic activities like farmers.
Another delegate, Chris Abongabe, who was the first to comment on the report of the committee, asked what would happen to itinerant fishermen, who move around a lot, if special treatment was given to nomadic herdsmen.

The development forced the Chairman of the conference, Justice Idris Kutigi, to abruptly stop the session and consideration of the contentious issue brought about by the committee’s report and called for adjournment. While an overwhelming majority of the members in the House was in favour of the proposal introduced by Dura, mainly northern delegates vehemently kicked against it.

Northern delegates, including Alhaji Bashiru Albasu, a former AIG representing the Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria, and Mallam Naseer Kura, representing a Kano-based civil society group, Basic Rights Action, described the proposal as discriminatory and vowed to mobilize his people to resist any move to change the status quo. Also contributing, Alhaji Muhammad Magaji Dambatta (North West Delegate) and Alhaji Mohammad Dingyadi, representing Sokoto State, said the proposal for a grazing reserve to be borne by the states of origin of the herdsmen and supported by the delegates, was discriminatory and smacked of high level of irresponsibility by the proponents.

Danbata said, “These cattle rearers are also Nigerians and have equal rights to traverse the country without let or hindrance.” In his intervention, Justice Kutigi expressed dismay at the turn of events and urged delegates to refrain from making remarks that could throw spanners in the wheel of the successes so far recorded by the conference, especially during their committee meetings. What are the ecologic and economic consequences of the “sedentarization” of nomadic pastoralists?

The Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments, LSLBI in Africa commence with a chapter on Respect for the Human Rights of Communities, followed by LSLBI contributions to National Plans for Sustainable Development, around Principles of Good Governance, Respect for the Rights and Benefit of Women, Cooperation, Mutual Accountability and M&E, and ending with how to operationalize the recommendations.

Most of the issues within the Principles are either of an ethical nature, or embedded in the Constitution of Nigeria and within its different policies on natural resources management. What in effect is of importance is that the principles are a reminder that there is a possibility to move from policy concepts and political rhetoric to implementation and action. It is equally a call for the country to activate the latent potential of national institutions.


Whether as a signatory to the AU Land Policy, or within the consideration of Nigeria to adopt the VG, the status of internal structures and mechanisms of governance in the country in consideration of the role of women and marginalized groups, must exhibit adaptive and receptive capabilities in the areas of:

• Review of the Land Use Act

The LUA of 1978 cannot be left in its present state in which it vests dictatorial powers over land and property in the person of a governor, leaving the local governments only with powers to promulgate feeble by-laws that take ages to gazette and end up not being justiciable.

• Best practice

Nigeria needs to foster policy development based on equity in democratic governance and on ecological factors, which recognize our integral relationship with the natural world. This would minimize land degradation and place a premium on the value of natural resources. We need a portal for best practice to show where performance has been enhanced or not.

• Implementation tools and platforms

The voices of the smallholder farmers, the poor and landless is stifled in the deep gorge that separates them from the rich. Any internationally recommended guidelines will be implemented by the forces that have kept the poor where they are, and that is a bleak future. Civil society must assist the state by drawing up a time plan with performance criteria for implementation of aspects of F&Gs and VGs that are measurable. The donors that fund the compilation of theoretic guidelines should be able to provide the finances for the pragmatism of their implementation.

• Enhancement of productive capacity of the rural economy

A compliance with international guidelines and national legislation on large scale investments does not necessarily protect local people’s rights. It is important for Nigerian communities that economic evaluation of potential projects are carried out, to ensure that they are consonant with the agrarian dynamics of the region, and bring benefits to the people. Economic evaluation differs from a financial analysis in that it includes propositions on the net creation of jobs, transparency and inclusiveness, the social component of the investment or project, and the possibilities of project reversibility

Value chain agricultural economics is controversial, but whichever path is chosen Nigeria must invest in markets, training and extension services as well. Our agricultural revolution must be based on the country’s own investments, without large scale foreign investments, otherwise what would happen to the small holder farmers? Markets, including land markets, can be promoted if they enhance local productive relations and do not lead to inequitable concentrations of wealth. Less food imports, more investments in small-holder farmers!

• Institutional and policy coherence

Policy development in Nigeria is largely incoherent, in the sense that separate policies – agriculture and fisheries, environment, forestry, climate change, energy, water resources are sometimes mutually exclusive enough to produce documents not aligned with the direction of national planning, which is actually a weak ministry in the country.

Under pressure from civil society, the situation is changing, but not changing rapidly enough. In a federated country, consultation, exchange of ideas and research results between the three tiers of government – federal, state and local government are still not optimal. The federal government is best advised to stop the creation of overlapping institutions that compound the problem and nurture corruption. There is still the danger of a governance culture in Nigeria that leaders, once elected are not necessarily responsible to their constituency, and do not have to consult with and explain issues to the masses.

• Implementation of laws and policies

Nigeria has to work out land use laws that democratise access to land and property. Such policies, laws and programmes on land use and to secure rights natural resources must be reviewed in Nigeria. The exercise must include the study and scrutiny of customary norms in tenure relations and their integration into national policy and legal frameworks in a manner that reflects the rights of the individual in all locations of the country, irrespective of gender and ethnic origins. Government, federal, state and local must also allocate sufficient resources for effective implementation of policies and laws. The Federal Government must make provisions for the swift domestication of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements it enters into.

• Costs and financing

The framework and guiding principles, as well as the voluntary guidelines could have infused clauses to steer some thinking in the direction of costs and financing of pro-poor land administration. In this context in Nigeria civil society could work this out as a resource for its positions. There is also no reason why the private sector cannot demonstrate commitment to social and environmental responsibility by contributing to financing land administration.

• Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms

A most common scenario in Nigeria is the re-current conflict between cultivators and herders, as well as between different pastoralist groups, that appear to defy solution at the present. Because pastoralism is identified with a particular ethnic group, the Fulani, these issues particularly in northern Nigeria have mutated into sectarian violence and killings. It is also an indictment of governance at the local level that these conflicts are commonplace. Here, the struggle is over the protection of crops from grazing of livestock, and the access of livestock to watering points. Pastoralists are somehow caught in the rapid web of development that has placed infrastructure and farms along their stock routes. On the other hand, farmers are anxious that the Fulani begin sedentary livestock farming, but the building of capacity in this direction is not properly addressed.

Rather than react with force when conflicts arise, a more detailed study of pastoralism and related conflict resolution mechanisms is required in the Nigerian savannah, for the peaceful co-existence of the adversaries – farmers and herders. The exercise should result in an enhanced demarcation of stock routes and maintenance of rangelands and sanctions in cases of non-compliance, in a manner beneficial for ecosystems, livestock and crops. Nevertheless, an unanswered question over the conversion of pastoralists into sedentary livestock and dairy farmers is on whose/which land they would settle. The conjectural feeling is that perhaps their nomadic style was a result of landlessness.

The Nigerian government has for some time engaged in how to design and implement appropriate and effective policies that take into account the ecological, economic, and cultural complexities that characterize pastoralism and drylands agriculture as a whole. Identifying key resource access issues and the necessary elements of equitable, efficient and effective land tenure policies remains a challenge in the country.

In cases involving the forceful take-over of land belonging to communities or individuals by powerful corporations behind large-scale land-based investments, or the destruction of critical environments such as wetlands, for instance during infrastructure construction, the judicial system in Nigeria which grinds at snail pace has not provided any succour to the poor and aggrieved. In the oil-producing areas of the Niger delta, suggestions are for the setting up of arbitration, or dispute resolution committees in which a neutral third party, acceptable to both sides renders a satisfactory decision, instead of the expensive and lethargic expedient of established tribunals of justice. (See Endnotes 4).

• Environmental Impact Assessments and Environmental Audits

The EIA and environmental audit processes are best carried out by the local government in which a large scale land based investment is to be located, and not from Abuja. Civil society must be members of the EIA process, as they are closer to land and people.

• Knowledge management and Civil Society engagement with Policy makers

“In the so-called ‘triangle of governance’, civil society, beside the state and the business community has an important role to play in issues of sustainable resource governance. However, civil society must be competent to fulfil their function as political and corporate ‘watchdog’…

Juergen Trittin Former German Federal Minister for Environment, Member of the Bundestag for Buendnis 90/Die Gruenen

It is not enough to criticise any initiative without suggesting alternatives. Civil society in Nigeria has the intellectual capabilities to study the deficiencies of our land tenure system, cross-check with adequate consultation in the communities, and come out with an alternative document to the LUA, and then challenge the government to remedial debates. Civil society needs to evolve evidence-based research methods to bring out better facts and figures on the major issues of land tenure, environmental sustainability, food security, why and how to pay attention to gender as a beneficiary category, rather than draw conclusions from spurious and skewed calculations of the World Bank and the UN.


Annex 2.


The Framework and Guidelines (F&G) are presented in seven interrelated chapters. Chapter One provides the justification for and process followed in developing the F&G. Chapter Two describes the context which has defined the nature and characteristics of the land question in Africa in order to explain the reason why the land sector has not played its primary role in the development process. That role is examined in Chapter Three. Chapter Four sets out the key operational processes which African countries will need to follow in order to develop comprehensive policies that would enable the land sector to fully perform that role. Chapter Five analyses the difficulties likely to be met and conditions necessary for the effective implementation of such policies. Chapter Six discusses the measures which African countries may wish to put in place to track progress in the development and implementation of those policies. The final chapter is a concluding statement on how member countries of the AU might want to use the F&G.
How can the land sector play its proper role in economic growth, poverty alleviation and
environmental sustainability, and in promoting peace and security in Africa? This Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa, developed by the AU-ECA-AfDB Consortium tries to answer this question. From the perspective of the Framework and Guidelines (F&G), land policies should be considered a prerequisite for economic growth and sustainable human development. Therefore, African governments need to develop holistic and comprehensive land policies at national level. Such land policies should be based on clear understanding of critical issues and challenges which must be tackled. The policies need to be based on inclusive and participatory approaches. However, developing appropriate land policy is not an end per se. In order to have a positive impact on the livelihoods of poor African people in rural
and urban areas, the policies need to be effectively implemented. Land policy implementation entails the translation of the adopted policy into a programme of land reform. Based on experiences documented across the continent, the F&G provides lessons and best practices for effective and efficient land policy implementation processes. In this regard, African governments need to develop appropriate land administration systems, including structures
and institutions for land rights delivery and land governance. Having been developed through a highly consultative process and having been endorsed by the highest decision making organs of the African Union, the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa iwidely acknowledged in the continent as a valid and legitimate tool. However, this is just the beginning: the tool needs to be made available and to be used by governments and other stakeholders at regional, national and local levels where land policies are developed and implemented. The implementation phase of the F&G is designed to address this crucial
The Framework and Guidelines set out in this document seeks to provide a set of iterative processes which urge that countries should first identify the contextual challenges facing their specific national land and associated sectors and economies before policies and programmes of reform can be developed and implemented. Central to those processes is the need for a fully gendered, informed and participatory mobilization and continuous engagement of all stakeholders in the land and related sectors at all stages of policy development, implementation and review. An important dividend, the Framework and Guidelines argue, is not simply the sustainable stewardship and utilization of Africa’s primary development resource, but the deepening and consolidation of peace, security and democracy. The African Union expects that member countries which are in the course of or are contemplating the initiation, review, revision or comprehensive development and implementation of all or part of policies designed to ensure that their land systems are fully integrated into national development processes, will find them a useful guide.

Annex 3


The purpose of these Voluntary Guidelines is to serve as a reference and to provide guidance to improve the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests with the overarching goal of achieving food security for all and to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.
These Guidelines are intended to contribute to the global and national efforts towards the eradication of hunger and poverty, based on the principles of sustainable development and with the recognition of the centrality of land to development by promoting secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests.
The eradication of hunger and poverty, and the sustainable use of the environment, depend in large measure on how people, communities and others gain access to land, fisheries and forests. The livelihoods of many, particularly the rural poor, are based on secure and equitable access to and control over these resources. They are the source of food and shelter; the basis for social, cultural and religious practices; and a central factor in economic growth.
It is important to note that responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests is inextricably linked with access to and management of other natural resources, such as water and mineral resources. While recognizing the existence of different models and systems of governance of these natural resources under national contexts, States may wish to take the governance of these associated natural resources into account in their implementation of these Guidelines, as appropriate.
How people, communities and others gain access to land, fisheries and forests is defined and regulated by societies through systems of tenure. These tenure systems determine who can use which resources, for how long, and under what conditions. The systems may be based on written policies and laws, as well as on unwritten customs and practices. Tenure systems increasingly face stress as the world’s growing population requires food security, and as environmental degradation and climate change reduce the availability of land, fisheries and forests. Inadequate and insecure tenure rights increase vulnerability, hunger and poverty, and can lead to conflict and environmental degradation when competing users fight for control of these resources.
The governance of tenure is a crucial element in determining if and how people, communities and others are able to acquire rights, and associated duties, to use and control land, fisheries and forests. Many tenure problems arise because of weak governance, and attempts to address tenure problems are affected by the quality of governance. Weak governance adversely affects social stability, sustainable use of the environment, investment and economic growth. People can be condemned to a life of hunger and poverty if they lose their tenure rights to their homes, land, fisheries and forests and their livelihoods because of corrupt tenure practices or if implementing agencies fail to protect their tenure rights. People may even lose their lives when weak tenure governance leads to violent conflict. Responsible governance of tenure conversely promotes sustainable social and economic development that can help eradicate poverty and food insecurity, and encourages responsible investment.
In response to growing and widespread interest, FAO and its partners embarked on the development of guidelines on responsible tenure governance. This initiative built on and supports the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security (Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food), which were adopted by the FAO Council at its Hundred and Twenty-seventh Session in November 2004, and the 2006 International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ICARRD).
At its Thirty-sixth Session in October 2010, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) encouraged the continuation of the inclusive process for developing these Guidelines with a view to submitting them for the consideration of the CFS, and decided to establish an open-ended working group of the CFS to review the first draft of the Guidelines.
These Guidelines closely follow the format of other FAO voluntary instruments that set out principles and internationally accepted standards for responsible practices: Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food; Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries; International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides; Responsible Management of Planted Forests: Voluntary Guidelines; and Fire Management Voluntary Guidelines: Principles and Strategic Actions. These instruments are relatively short documents that provide frameworks that can be used when developing strategies, policies, laws, programmes and activities. They are accompanied by a wide range of additional documents, such as supplementary guidelines that provide technical details on specific aspects when necessary, training and advocacy materials, and further guidance to assist with implementation These Guidelines were endorsed by the CFS at its Thirty-eighth (Special) Session on 11 May 2012.
They were developed by the open-ended working group in sessions in June, July and October 2011 and in March 2012. They are based on an inclusive process of consultations that occurred during 2009-2010. Regional consultations were held in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Jordan, Namibia, Panama, Romania, the Russian Federation, Samoa and Viet Nam. These regional consultations brought together almost 700 people, from 133 countries, representing the public and private sectors, civil society and academia. Four consultations, held specifically for civil society of Africa (in Mali); of Asia (in Malaysia); of Europe and Central and West Asia (in Italy); and of Latin America (in Brazil), were attended by almost 200 people from 70 countries, and an additional private sector consultation drew over 70 people from 21 countries. These Guidelines also incorporate proposals received through an electronic consultation on the zero draft. Proposals to improve the zero draft were received from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia, and from around the world.
These Guidelines are consistent with, and draw on, international and regional instruments, including the Millennium Development Goals, that address human rights and tenure rights. When readers of these Guidelines seek to improve tenure governance, they are encouraged to regularly review such instruments for their applicable obligations and voluntary commitments, and to gain additional guidance.

Annex 4


Africa takes first important step in tackling large scale land-based investments
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Addis Ababa, 13 November 2014 (ECA) – Continental efforts to adopt land policies that leverage on land as a strategic resource for inclusive and sustainable development took a step forward with the official launch of the African Union Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments in Africa (LSLBI).
The launch, which took place during the Inaugural Land Policy Conference in Africa, this Wednesday at the African Union Conference Center in Addis Ababa, kick starts a decade during which African countries are expected to draft policies that recognize the strategic importance of land and encourage its efficient use in Africa’s efforts for structural transformation, industrialization and inclusive development.
“This set of principles will equip African countries and enable them to manage land in a transparent and sustainable manner and to negotiate investments with knowledge of resources available on one land as well as the rights attached to it,” said Joan Kagwanja, Chief of the Land Policy Initiative, housed by the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa.
Issues around land use and management are becoming important and will increasingly gain prominence as Africa continues to be an attractive destination for foreign – and local – investors. The continual discovery of minerals, and more recently, of oil puts more pressure on governments to negotiate deals that are both economically and socially beneficial to the peoples of Africa and this includes the way land is allocated and the consequences it has on populations living close to mining sites and oil fields.
Moreover, Africa accounts for nearly 60% of the world’s arable land, has a population of just over one billion individuals and records high demographic rates. And with global needs for food security rising, it is not surprising that Africa is seen as the next global ‘food reserve’ and that investors are vying for large portions of land ushering an era of controversial changing of hands of vast swathes of land, in some cases, without compensation to the affected populations.
“When the land grabs took place from 2008, African countries were not ready. Land had not been mapped, owners were unidentified and as a consequence, contracts were not negotiated in a way to make investments sustainable and dwellers ended up losing the most,” says Ms. Kagwanja.
The way forward is articulated in the African Union-led Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments aim to facilitate national land policy development and implementation process and to improve the governance of large-scale land based investments. They are articulated as fundamental principles based on human rights of communities, responsible governance of land, social acceptance by affected communities, gender equality and women access to land ownership, cost-benefits study and mutual accountability. They are also aligned to national strategies for sustainable agriculture.
The challenge, following the launch of the LSLBI, is their adoption and operationalization by AU member States. But Ms Kagwanja believes that African countries are ready to take the challenge.
“We have already launched a series of training to build capacity of leaders, parliamentarians, jurists and other practitioners specializing in land issues. We hope that within the next three years at least, we will be able to stop land grabs. And that over the next decade, land management will have seen much needed improvement.”

Annex 5

Forests in Nigeria (Source: Ako Amadi, CCDI)
a guide summary
Despite the association of Nigeria with rich biological diversity and striking endemism, (“occurring only within a distinct area”) in its rainforest, the country’s terrestrial habitats are mainly savanna woodland and grassland. Montane vegetation grows on some elevations above 1 500m in the eastern margins of the country. Mambilla and Obudu hills are accessible examples. The southern forest belt is the hub of economic activity in Nigeria – oil wells, industrial establishments; large towns and villages interconnected with a network of roads, embedded in land with one of the highest population densities on the African continent.
140 million people growing at almost 3% per annum has consequences – all but 10% of the original forest estate is left in Nigeria! The resulting high ecological footprint is gradually spreading to the country’s northern borders. Progressive “sahelizations of the savanna” and even stark desert encroachments are currently not rare. In southern Nigeria, the oil industry has shaved off swathes of rich mangrove forests in the Niger delta. Population drift to coastal cities, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri, Yenagoa, Badagry impacts moist forests that protect a low-lying Atlantic shoreline from storm surges and erosion.
31% of the remaining forests in Nigeria are in Cross River State, which shares a boundary with Cameroon. The gene pool is impressive because this area survived the great ice age that affected the whole of central and West Africa many millions of years ago. There are more than 400 varieties of trees, around 170 species of reptiles and amphibians, 140 fish species in Cross River State. Of the 904 bird species recorded in Nigeria, 425 occur in Cross River. Endemic to these habitats and the adjacent Cameroon forests are the “Western mountain” gorilla, drills, and the redheaded rockfowl, Picathartes. Sclater’s monkey, the red-bellied and white-throated guenons are found only in Nigeria. Ibadan malimbe, Malimbus ibadanensis, a type of weaver bird is endemic to the forests of south-western Nigeria, around Ibadan in Oyo State.
Forest uses
There are unhealthy demands on Nigerian forests for wood, food, fuels, industrial materials, medicines.
Unsustainable (largely illegal) logging, agricultural encroachment, over-harvesting of non-timber forest products, overgrazing of livestock in the savanna, infrastructure development, inadequate and ineffective legal frameworks for forest governance, poor research, insecurity of land tenure are the major threats. Will Nigerian forests in the near future be converted to production of feedstock for biofuels, i.e. into plantations to grow soybeans, cassava, sugar-cane, oil palm, nipa palm, maize, allanblackia, jatropha, etc.?
Climate change
Forests the world over are vast stores of carbon. Resulting from photosynthesis, there is more carbon stored in the trees of the world than in the atmosphere. In the process, tropical forests can absorb 10% of annual man-made greenhouse gas emissions. But destruction of these forests contributes over 17% of man-made emissions per annum, to cite a recent IPCC report.
Destruction of rainforests is an environmental problem that needs an economic solution. In order to out-compete the drivers of deforestation, carbon credits must be generated for forested states if they reduce vegetation loss to an agreed level each year. This can be monitored by satellite technology. The monies paid could then be channeled into engaging and training forestry personnel and park rangers, drafting of new forestry laws, agricultural intensification, renewable energy, education and small businesses, and building better roads and infrastructure in order to stimulate development and create alternative livelihoods.

Annex 6. Nigeria: country and rural development context (Source: IFAD, 2013)

Nigeria has a population of about 162.5 million people. It is the second largest economy in Africa in terms of aggregate Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yet it is faced by a worsening poverty situation. From approximately 28 percent in 1980, the incidence of poverty rose to about 70 percent by 2010. Malnutrition is widespread, especially among children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. It has been estimated that at least 40% of children under five are stunted and 27 percent are underweight. 53% of Nigerians live in rural areas out of which about 80% derive their livelihood from agriculture and related activities. Over 70% of the rural population in agriculture are smallholders, i.e. they cultivate less than 2 hectares of land primarily oriented towards meeting subsistence needs. Nigeria has ample arable land suitable for cultivating most types of crop (e.g. cassava, yam, sorghum, millet, rice, maize, beans, groundnut, etc.). However only 46% of the available arable land (32 million ha) is cultivated. And although the irrigation potential is estimated at between 2 and 2.5 million ha, only 220,000 ha, i.e. 10% of irrigable land or 1% of total land under crops, is actually under irrigation. This implies that 70% of the country’s population relies directly or indirectly on rain-fed agriculture (IFAD, 2009 ).
9. Agriculture is a huge contributor to the Nigerian GDP, i.e. i.e. 40.2% of GDP in 2011 . Despite being major contributor to the Nigerian economy, the agriculture sector is characterized by low productivity. Growth in crop yields has been low at approximately 1.2% annually between 1961 and 2008 and has created a situation where Nigerian farmers typically attain yields of roughly 20-50% of yields obtained in similar developing countries. Low productivity and profitability for rural smallholders can be explained as follows: (i) declining soil fertility and land degradation; (ii) lack of mechanisation and use of manual labour; (iii) difficulty in access to high quality agro-inputs; (iv) limited access to extension and credit services; (v) high post harvest losses; (vi) general market failure in output markets; and (vii) small-scale nature of production and lack of farmer organization.
10. In addition to the inefficiencies of the Nigerian agriculture, climate variability and change are expected to further exacerbate the fragility of this sector. An increase in the number of days of rain, an increase in days with extreme rainfall and increased flooding are projected over most ecological zones by 2100. However, the impacts will vary between eco-zones. The Sahelian and Savannah eco-zones found in Northern Nigeria are particularly susceptible to climate anomalies, and available evidence shows that in the last decades recurrent droughts creating short-duration climatic oscillations have exposed smallholder farmers and pastoralists to increased difficulty in planning crop calendars and transhumance. At the same time, floods have been causing remarkable erosion and damage to rural infrastructure, have been reducing food availability and affordability, and have been increasing the vulnerability of the region. In particular, between 2010 and 2012 floods in most states in Nigeria have been unprecedented and particularly destructive.
11. While the economy has been growing at 8.4% on average from 2000 to 2010, this growth has not been translated into jobs, thereby leaving millions of youth and fresh graduates unemployed. Furthermore, a large number of the youth enter the labour market with just secondary education with no prevocational training in the skills needed in the world of work. With 50% of young people unemployed and a wave of over 4 million young people entering the workforce annually, the country is quite faced with an emergency. Over the past ten years, Nigeria has been plagued by social unrest in the form of Boko Haram, the Niger Delta Crisis and the Jos Crisis; instigated by the onset of spiraling youth unemployment. Together with youth, women form the majority of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.
12. Growth and employment through pro-private sector development is a common theme that resonates throughout Nigerian government’s policies and strategies including, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), the 7-point agenda, the 20-20-20 strategy and most recently the Transformation Agenda. The Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) provides for an increased role of the private sector in agriculture and adopts a value chain and market-led approach. The ATA includes the following strategies: (i) a value chain focused approach for priority commodities, i.e. rice, cassava, maize/soybeans, sorghum, cocoa, cotton, horticulture, oil palm, livestock and aquaculture; (ii) access to the agricultural inputs necessary to increase their productivity and profitability; (iii) development of new marketing institutions; (iv) access to financing for farmers at affordable rates; and (v) developing infrastructure and incentives to encourage private investors to set up agro processing factories in areas of high agricultural production, i.e. “Staple Crop Processing Zones” (SCPZs).
13. The National Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action on Climate Change for Nigeria (NASPA-CCN) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NAMA) strategic framework dovetail into the National Climate Change Policy and Response Strategy, setting out the direction of the country on climate change. These three documents – National Policy, NASPA-CCN and NAMA framework – are supported by other initiatives of the Government and by various policies and strategy documents relating to other environmental issues and low carbon growth. At the international level, Nigeria has participated actively at meetings on climate change, including the annual Conference of Parties (CoP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and is a party to the Kyoto Protocol. The country has submitted National Communications to the UNFCCC. Nigeria has also adopted the ECOWAS sub-regional Action Plan to reduce vulnerability to climate change (March 2010).
B. Rationale
14. As a consequence of the low agricultural productivity in the face of a rapid population growth and a changing climate, Nigeria is confronted with food supply-demand deficit, rising food prices and malnutrition for a significant proportion of both the rural and the urban poor. The potential rural poverty impact of IFAD supported interventions in further addressing agricultural productivity, natural resource degradation and climate change, youth employment and women’s economic empowerment is large. Adaptation measures should be devised in such a way that they contribute to the ultimate objective of promoting political stability, self-reliance, sustained production and environmental security at the country level.
15. Weak agricultural performance is the main reason for rural poverty. There are a number of structural characteristics that define the agricultural sector which need to be addressed: (i) lack of continuity in the implementation of policy; (ii) weak market orientation of institutions and promotion of Government supply-driven initiatives; (iii) high production costs for processors; (iv) a non-competitive input subsidy administration system; (v) poor agricultural technology and service delivery mechanism (inputs, research, extension, private sector participation, etc); (vi) impact of climate change and variability on non-resilient smallholder farming systems and rural infrastructure (see below); (viii) a weak infrastructure base, particularly poor roads and lack of irrigation facilities; (ix) an absence of long term and appropriate financing windows for agriculture; and (x) lack of investment by both private and public sector. The country needs focused interventions that are designed to trigger jobs, income and food security though productivity increase for selected crops, value addition by increasing processing to expand range of products, and dynamic marketing activities. Such interventions will also have opportunity for embedded job-oriented enterprises.
16. An emerging dimension contributing to rural poverty in the Sahelian and Savannah eco-zones (Northern Nigeria) is that climate variability is expected to further exacerbate the fragility of the agricultural sector. Changes in rainfall regimes and intensity is a major source of vulnerability of smallholders as it increases erosion risks and drastically reduces either land availability of crops or crop damages. Access to water in the northern regions is increasingly becoming a limiting factor for livestock, cropping and human use. Investment in productivity and crops without adequate access to water, efficient irrigation systems and water harvesting techniques will have little impact on rural livelihoods and food security. If ignored, the negative consequences of climate change on the natural resource base may worsen the already low household resilience of rural populations that depend upon agriculture and ecosystem services for their income and subsistence.
17. The third nexus to rural poverty is the high levels of unemployment and underemployment particularly amongst youth and low levels of economic empowerment of women in the rural areas. In the Northern States, the dry season offers few agricultural activities, particularly if the household does not have access to irrigation facilities or a water source. It is during this period of 7 to 8 months that the land is rendered unproductive, and the rural youth have little occupation. The period May to August is perceived as the “hungry season”, there is usually a significant drop in caloric intake in the rural area during the period of food scarcity. To aggravate the situation, women are not given equal opportunities for economic empowerment and hence remain the poorest and most vulnerable section of society. A ground-truth assessment during this mission revealed that poverty is greater among women than men and that over 75% of women-headed households in each of the programme States were classified as poor.
18. The Community Based Agricultural Rural Development Programme (CBARDP) has been implemented in the 7 Northern States and has brought about significant improvement in income and infrastructural development in the programme village areas. This was predominantly through building successful rural institutions such as community development associations (CDAs) and expanding outreach of those institutions to more Local Government Areas (LGAs). The CDAs are operating as drivers of change promoting both enterprise and community development. The better organised CDAs are able to articulate their needs, pool resources, have bargaining power, improve their access to inputs and provide a focal point for the delivery of services. These CDAs have demonstrated effectiveness as basis for capacity building, creating awareness and access to services and facilities such as health and sanitation facilities, schools, rural feeder roads, potable water, extension, credit and inputs, and sustainability. Meanwhile in other CDAs there continues to be a lack of leadership, focus and management capability to fully utilize resources for the improvement of their material and social conditions.
19. Scaling up of CBARDP in a phase II (CBARDP-II) would consolidate the lessons learnt from CBARDP, particularly in the implementation of the rural institutions of Community Development Associations (CDAs), Financial Service Associations (FSAs), and farmer groups approach to enhance productivity for rainfed crops, access to small scale irrigation technologies and promote dry season crop production and small-scale agro-processing enterprises. (See Section on Lessons Learnt) CBARDP-II would be in consonance with the Strategic Objectives (SOs) of the RB-COSOP. The pathways for scaling up would be ‘Horizontal Scaling Out’ in geographic area to encompass more CDAs under the programme and a Vertical Scaling Up’ of market ready CDAs into profitable and sustainable institutional relationships with private sector partners. Being the solid basis for entry and development, CBARDP-II would continue to build capacity of the CDAs while expanding to more village areas, i.e. ‘geographical scaling up of the CDAs’ in the existing and new LGAs.
 ‘Horizontal Scaling Out’: CDA formation will be carried out in all village areas in the existing LGAs. The actual roll out to new village areas would take place in the second and third years of implementation based on lessons from the previous years. The programme would also expand to additional LGAs per state.
 Existing LGAs – ‘Vertical Scaling Up’: CDAs are to vertically develop as “Market Ready CDAs”, i.e. increasingly effective internal governance processes that have better market access (generating market surplus for supplying to local and more organized markets) and tend to have identify commodity groups with a higher level of linkage to large processors.

Annex 7. Agricultural transformation’s intervention in five value chains
raises net earnings for rural farmers – Adesina, Agric Minister

The Federal Government’s interventions in the agricultural sector, Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the present administration has now raised the net earnings of rural farmers to the sum of 174 billion naira due to its activities in five value chains namely Cassava, Rice (Dry Season and Rainy Season), Sorghum, Maize and Cotton, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has revealed.
During his presentation of the Mid-Term Achievements of the President Goodluck Jonathan Administration in that Sector, Dr. Adesina gave the breakdown of earnings for each value chain as follows: Cassava 3 billion naira, Rice (Rainy Season) 32 billion naira, Rice (Dry Season)32 billion naira, 0.4 billion naira (Sorghum), Maize 105 billion naira, Cotton 2 billion naira.He said 4.2 million farmers where registered in the country in 2012 and 10 million farmers have been registered so far in 2013. Dr. Adesina told his audience that private investors are increasingly taking notice of the opportunities in the country’s agricultural sector. Local and international operational and financial investors have committed to investing across all stages of the agricultural supply chain. According to him, his Ministry has secured “$3.3 Billion of Investment Commitments in Executed Letters of Intent and an additional $6 Billion Indicated Commitments” adding that over 30 high-profile private investor meetings have been held at ministry since January 2013.The Agriculture Minister also hinted that investments in priority value chains including aquaculture, cassava, dairy, livestock, maize, mango, orange, palm oil, pineapple, rice, rubber, sesame, tomato, wheat are being planned. On fruits to juice processing he pointed out that Teragro is investing N1billion ($6.2 million) in Processing of Fruit Juice Concentrates while Dansa Foods is committing $45 million in Planting and Processing of Fruits to Juice Concentrate in Cross Rivers State adding that Nigeria is the biggest tomato producer in Sub-Saharan Africa and the 14th largest tomato producer globally. Dr. Adesina also noted that several financial institutions are backing Nigeria’s ATA. Some of the institutions and their respective commitments include the ADB-$500million, World Bank- $500million, IFAD-$80million, UNDP-$1.5million, DFID -£37million and USAID-$100million among others. In his remarks, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku said with President Goodluck Jonathan’s intervention in the Agricultural Sector through the ATA Nigeria has moved from agriculture of producing raw materials for Europe to produce processing nation. “Whatever we produce now we are going to process”, Maku declared. He said the amount of rice being produced in the country now had never been achieved in the history of the country. “Nigeria has the capacity to not only produce rice for the country but for the whole of Africa. This President has done so much to the best of my knowledge than any President has done in a long time”, stated

Annex 8

CONFAB: Northern, Southern differ on removal of Land Use Act
As Delegates throw out Compensation for Bakassi, others
By Henry Umoru & Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA- THERE was a rowdy session yesterday at the continued consideration of reports by delegates at the on- going National Conference as the Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi and his Deputy, Prof. Bolaji Akiyemi had to caution delegates by threatening to walk them out if they become unruling and refuse to adhere to Procedure Rules.
At yesterday’s plenary when delegates opened discussions on the recommendations of Gen. A.B. Mamman led Committee on Land Tenure Matters and National Boundaries, with Oba Michael Adedeji as deputy, there was a sharp division between Northern and Southern delegates over the recommendation that the Land Use Act be expunged from the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as it has failed to address the problems of land due to its poor implementation.
Meanwhile, delegates adjourned plenary till monday at 9am as against 10am to resume discussions on reports of Committees on Environment and Religion, just as reports and recommendations of Committee on Citizenship, Immigration and Related Matters were adopted.
The Land Tenure Committee recommended that the Land Use Act should be replaced with new provisions that would guarantee the right of Nigerians to have access to land irrespective of ethnic origin, adding that it would also ensure the right of communities to have their land protected from human activities that would hinder or degrade the productivity of such land through such activities as pollution, flooding, among others.
While most of the delegates declared the various recommendations submitted by the committee as remarkable and daring, others said they were not implementable as they were drafted to favour certain classes of people or ethnic groups against the others.
For good three times, there was voice vote on the matter, but following delegate inability to reconcile issues, the Chairman, Kutigi stood it down to allow for further consultations.
Also yesterday, delegate threw out amendement to allow for compensation for Bakassi people, the people of Cross River State and any other community in Nigeria that must have lost its territory to another country, just as Nays had it when it was put to vote.
Also yesterday, delegates after series of intrigues and lobbying, there was
modified amendment to the grazing reserve controversial issue as delegates adopted an amendment to the controversial motion on grazing reserves and approved an integrated development, Livelihood for Fulani Herdsmen, just as it was unanimously adopted by the delegates.,
It was a proposed amendement to an earlier recommendation by the committee on Citizenship, Immigration and Related Matters against the creation of grazing reserves across the country which caused uproar at Wednesday at Plenary.
The motion sponsored by 14 delegates and read by Mr. Festus Okoye, a delegate on the platform of Civil Society Organisations, contained three prayers sought that an integrated development and livelihoods modernization programme be implemented.
The motion which contained three prayers sought that an integrated development and livelihoods modernization programme be implemented.
The National Conference yesterday resolved that an integrated development and livelihood modernization programme be designed and implemented to address the issue of settling nomadic herdsmen into settled communities and stem the tide of violent conflicts between Fulani herdsmen and sedentary farmers.
The proposed modern settlements would be based on established cattle ranches with fodder development technologies including abattoirs, processors and other businesses along the livestock value chain, just as the integrated development and modernisation programme would be funded by both the federal and state governments in states where such settlements are allowed and established.
In addition, the Conference resolved that this integrated development programme should be undertaken and wrapped up within a period of five to ten years after which such settlements should have become self-sustaining with the full sustaining with full integration of the monadic herdsmen community into modern Nigeria political economy.
These resolutions followed a motion sponsored by Jaiye Gaskia, a delegate representing Civil Society and 13 others.
Okoye who noted that the motion was to address issues of settling nomadic herdsmen into settled communities based on establishment cattle ranches with fodder development technologies including abattoirs, processors and other businesses along livestock value chain, said, “That the programme should be funded by both federal and state governments where such settlement are established.
“That the integrated programme should be undertaken and wrapped up within five to 10 years after which such settlements should have become self-sustaining with the full integration of the nomadic community into modern Nigeria political economy.”
It would be recalled that the he committee had recommended that grazing reserves and new technologies such as hydroponic fodder solution for feeding cattle should be promoted by governments and also recommended that dedicated funds for the acculturation and acclimatization of herdsmen should be provided for herdsmen to settle down at designated grazing reserves.
And a delegate from Benue state Dr. Magdalene Dura rose to object to the proposal that it would infringe on the rights of Nigerians and as well as give Nomads undue advantage over other ethnic nationalities to the provision of the constitution.
Also among the 14 delegates are Femi Falana (SAN), Naseer Kura, Rev, Nnimmo Bassey, Ezenwa Nwagwu and Bisi Olateru Olagbegi among others.
The motion was seconded by Mr Mike Ozakhome, a federal government delegate, which was unanimously adopted by the conference, in obvious indication that the conference delegates closed ranks to come to the conclusion that the Federal and State governments should establish grazing reserves and ranches in States with nomadic herdsmen, where it is desirable.
Ozekhome said, “We recognized the utmost importance of ensuring that no segment of the Nigerian society and no Nigerian citizen is excluded from equitable access to enjoy all the guaranteed human rights, as well as access to basic services and social infrastructures that will make life more meaningful and more enhanced.”


Aboki, Y. 2002
Land use policies and legislative development in Nigeria. Workshop organized by the Nigerian Land Network, and held at the Afforestation Project Coordinating Unit (APCU), Kano, Nigeria

African Union. African Development Bank. Economic Commission for Africa.

Anyia, L.E. 2002
The Use of Arbitration and Public Relations in the Resolution of Land and Environmental Use Conflict. Being a paper presented at a 3-day national workshop on environmental and land use law and management as a tool for achieving economic growth and economic development

Burns, A. 1929
History of Nigeria

Earl Grey, 1840
The Colonial Policy of Lord John Russel’s Administration, Vol.2, p.287

Economic Commission for Africa. 2009. Land Tenure Systems and their Impacts on food Security and Sustainable Development in Africa

Fabiyi, O. and F.Olokor, 2014
Confab delegates disagree over herdsmen grazing reserve
PUNCH Newspapers, May 21, 2014

Gunther, J. 1955
Inside Africa. Hamish Hamilton. London.

Lugard, F. D. 1920
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Okafor, S.O. 1981
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1. British Policy in Nigeria
John Gunther (1955) wrote in his book, Inside Africa: On land tenure – there are exceptions to the rule, but basically white Europeans are not allowed to own land in Nigeria and the Gold Coast. They may procure timber or mineral concessions, and they are an obvious factor in the business life of the community, but they do not own land. No European not even the British is so much as allowed to enter Nigeria without being required to prove that his presence is ‘necessary’ and without posting a sizeable bond. This is a matter of strict law and policy. Even if settlers came, they could not settle. Frederick Lugard, the proconsul who was the founder of modern Nigeria, set it down some fifty years ago – and set it down once and for all – that ‘the land was the property of the people, held in trust for them by their chiefs’, and not purchasable by foreigners. No European may buy, sell, or speculate with land. “This was held to be essential for the moral and material welfare of the inhabitants…The duty of the white man is mainly that of administration and his material advantage lies in trade.”
S.O.Okafor , 1981, notes that In the 1840s Earl Grey, the British Secretary of State for the Colonies in Lord John Russell’s Administration, declared that the British objective in West Africa was to train the inhabitants of that part of Africa in the arts of civilization and government until they could grow into a nation capable of managing their own affairs, so that the interference and assistance of the British authorities might by degrees be less and less required. In keeping with Earl Grey’s proposal Alfred Moloney, administrator of the Lagos Colony from 1886 to 1890, established a board of health during his tenure of office. This board was the precursor of the Lagos Municipal Council. Moloney’s objective was to encourage the self-dependence of the colonial subjects and to educate some of them in municipal matters, and so qualify them for the more responsible posts of members of the legislature. The British policy towards indigenous political institutions in Nigeria and their incorporation as part of the machinery of government was to use them in training traditional in modern methods of government. Hence, in the 1920s Frederick Lugard asserted: The object of substituting for British rule, in which the chiefs are mere agents of the government, a system of native rule under the guidance and control of the British staff, whether among advanced or backward communities, is primarily educative….In all alike, the endeavour is to prevent denationalization, to develop along indigenous lines, to inculcate the principle that the function of the ruler is to promote the welfare of his people and not to exploit them for his pleasure, and to afford both to rulers and the people the stimulus of progress and interest in life. Lugard had in fact considered that self-government for the African masses, as distinguished from the educated element, was to be achieved by the training designed for the traditional leaders, and by the gradual extension of their powers, rather than by the educated and politically-minded elements.
2. Customary Land tenure policies
Citing Aboki, 2002, customary land tenure relates to land as property of the people, village, community, family, clan, and never to an individual. The concept of individual ownership is foreign to native ideas. Among the policies of customary land tenure are that land was not alienable to a total stranger. It was also not commerciable or saleable, but rather collectivistic, socialistic, and communalistic. Under customary tenure, the land owning units are families, clans, villages and communities. Under Islamic law, the general policy is that land belongs to the people with the ruler as trustee.
3. Land Use Act, LUA
Anyia, 2002 writes: The military administration in Nigeria on 26th may, 1977 set up an Eleven man Land Use Panel under the chairmanaship of late Hon. Justice Chike Idigbe. Although, the Panel’s report was not published, the Land Use Act, 1978 was the result of the report of that panel. The paramount objectives of the terms of reference of the panel were to consider the implication of a Uniform Land Policy for the country and the steps necessary for controlling future land use. These objectives were clearly stated in the preamble and implementation Sections 1 and 2 of the Act which came into force on the 29th March, 1978. The objectives for its promulgation included inter alia, to control the use of land by giving power to the Governor to see that proper use is made of every land. The implementation of this enactment, no doubt marked the beginning of the situation in which we have found ourselves today, to wit, Governmental total ownership and interest in land.
4. Arbitration
Anyia, 2002: Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR is a form of private legal process that determines the legal relationship (including rights and liabilities) between parties on a legally binding and enforceable note (subject to statutory appeal or review process) The procedure and rules that apply to each arbitration are determined by the laws applicable to that particular arbitration, but it is pertinent to note that whatever procedure is adopted, the rules of natural justice are guaranteed. Thus both parties are given the opportunity to be heard, and respond to issues raised by the other party on pleadings, evidence and legal submission.

JULY 9, 2014
Conference Decides on Land Use Act; Votes on Derivation Principle Tomorrow
Resolution of two critical issues that have caused a deep divide at the National Conference formed a part of the plenary session of the Conference on Wednesday, a day partially devoted to debate on the modalities for the implementation of the Conference report. One of the issues which were handled by a special committee comprising leaders of geo-political zones and other selected delegates was the Land Use Act and the contentious argument as to whether or not it should be removed from the constitution. The other critical issue which had split the Conference into two regional blocs was the Derivation Principle. It bordered on whether the existing 13% allowed by the Constitution should be retained, reduced or increased. The Committee on Devolution of Power had in its report recommended that due to the sharp division created during discussions on the issue and based on the capacity of such division to destabilize the Conference and even the nation, the status quo (13%) be maintained.
This it said was to avoid upsetting “the existing peace and equilibrium in the polity,” which it described as a product of years of political engineering and craftsmanship by the founding fathers of the Nigerian nation.
However, tempers started rising during the debate on the report when delegates from the north and the south took opposing positions on the critical issue. While delegates from the south insisted on increase between 25% and 50%, those from the north said nothing more than the position of the Committee on Devolution of Power would be acceptable to them. The matter was immediately handed over to a special committee comprising leaders of each geo-political zones, who then picked other delegates from their zones, for discussion and possible resolution. Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, who was introduced by General Ike Nwachukwu to present the report of the special committee, said the process of arriving at a solution was tedious but in the interest of the country. He announced the committee’s decision that the derivation fund be increased from 13% to 18%; and that the decision was reached after two straight days and several hours of meeting and negotiation between all the interest groups which extended beyond the leadership of the six geo-political zones. He said the decision of the group was guided by the belief that there would be no winners and there would be no losers; and that the only winner would be the Nigerian nation. He also announced a 5% federal revenue allocation for solid mineral development and another 5% for Stabilisation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction for the development of the North East, North West and North Central.“We have reached agreement whereby no one will be completely unhappy,” he said amidst instant murmuring and applause from a cross-section of the delegates. As soon as Professor Gambari ended his presentation, many hands went up for re-opening of debates on the issue while some delegates applauded the decision of the special committee. Conference Deputy Chairman, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, after consultation with the Conference Chairman, Justice Idris Legbu Kutigi, announced that voting on the recommendations of the Committee on Devolution of Power would hold on Wednesday during which a decision would also be taken on the Gambari Report.
On the Land Use Act, the argument for its retention in the 1999 Constitution was based on the belief that allowing the Act to go would give chance for oligarchs to take over lands which the Land Use Act has democratized with the government as the intervening body. Supporters of this school of thought also said that since land is not a renewable commodity, it must not be left at the mercy of land speculators; and that removing it from the constitution would be discriminatory and unjust to the poor. It was their position that removing the Act from the constitution would create dichotomy; describing the suggestion as a grand design for the rich to buy land at cheap prices, a situation they said would lead to crisis that cannot be managed. On the other side, the argument was that the Land Use Act should remain a law but must be removed from the constitution to make it easy for amendment. They argued that at present, amending the Act through the constitution has become too cumbersome and that in other countries, land tenure is universal while governments nearest to the communities serve land tenure better. They complained that government have taken peoples land and have refused to pay compensation; and that since the promulgation of the Act, access to land has remained a major problem, thus hindering economic development. It was also stated that the power of compulsory acquisition vested on state governors has been, in most cases, used arbitrarily without the payment of adequate compensation to land owners. The committee noted that both sides of the argument were convincing; unfortunately none of them agreed with the other and no side agreed to back down. Thus, in its decision which was accepted by the Conference, it was stated that the Act would be retained in the constitution while certain amendments would be carried out in certain sections of the Act. For instance, one of such amendment would enable land owners to determine the price and value of their land. It allows government to negotiate with land owners and not compensate them. It was also resolved that the customary right of occupancy in Section 21 of the Act be amended to read “Customary Right of Occupancy should have the same status as statutory Right of Occupancy, and should also be extended to urban land”.It was also agreed that Section 7 of the Act which deals with the restriction on rights of persons under the age of 21 to be granted statutory right of occupancy should be amended to read “restriction of persons under the age of 18”. This, it was argued, is because the Child Rights Act stipulates that a person attains adulthood at the age of 18. With the decision on the issue of the Land Use Act, the report of the Committee on Land Tenure Matters and National Boundary was formally adopted, as amended.


A first discussion point was on the potentials of alignment of the Voluntary Guidelines with the objectives of CAADP. The question was further refined in discussion to: How does governance matter in affecting regional cooperation and growth, particularly agricultural expansion and intensification for poverty reduction, and would this perspective affect regional policy? It has to be borne in mind that CAADP initially had the objective, as an offshoot of NEPAD to set targets for African governments on annual agricultural growth. This includes a target of 6% annual agricultural growth, supported by the allocation of at least 10% of the budget for agriculture. There are of course experts who are apprehensive of NEPAD and CAADP, and more recently the accusations have been made that environmental health has not been a factor of consideration in the pursuit of agriculture and wider economic growth. The AU and UN voluntary guidelines and frameworks have been somewhat silent for now on the impacts of economic growth as agreed among African nations and the UN o tenure and environmental sustainability. The question then is in how much best practice impacts agricultural growth and vice-versa. However, participants agreed in part that the CAADP and NEPAD are premised on the tenets of good governance, democracy and African ownership, just as the guidelines, but that Nigeria must not assume that there were no deficiencies in an international recommendation. The country did not have to accept the VGs and F&Gs uncritically.
On the question of forest reserves and farming, the discussion focussed on rights and access, but in part also to the fact that in some cases in Nigeria what people saw in the bush as common property could be a government-owned protected area. So why are forest reserves, in particular the smaller ones, not properly designated and demarcated to avoid encroachment and conflict? There was the opinion that in as much as these reserves were not managed in many cases, people should be allowed to farm in them. But this of course raised the issue of environmental conservation, a major objective of reservation, and whether farming in a protected area was the right thing to do.
Expectedly the Land Use Act, LUA of 1978 came up for discussion. Delegates felt that the application of Voluntary Guidelines and Frameworks based on good governance were non-starters in Nigeria where the major legislation on land tenure was a piece of bad governance that truncated and impeded any attempts at equity and the alleviation of poverty in the country. As long as the LUA was not repealed, land would continue to circulate only among the wealthy class of Nigerian society, and land grabbing would not abate. What then could the citizenry do? For how long would Nigerians continue to live under the LUA?
Mention of legal aid started a discussion on how far the LUA could be challenged in a court of law given that its amendments required constitutional amendments. If this was outside the jurisdiction of courts at least the feeling was that separate cases of high-handedness and corruption in land deals, as well as land grabbing could be brought before the courts. Since lands belonging to the rich were never grabbed, where would the poor find the money for litigation? Sometimes lands were grabbed from individuals who had lived on them for a very long time, but in reality had no land titles, and could therefore be dismissed as squatters. It would need a lawyer in the city with a social conscience to represent the poor and earn only a small fee.
On the Large Scale Land Based Investments, LSLBI some felt that in as much as these projects needed to be watched, they could also create jobs. However, the Indigenous People had a right to decide their destiny, and therefore they had the option or right to say ‘NO’ to a LSLBI impacting their vicinity, if they felt so.
Another suggestion was that perhaps Nigeria needed to have NGOs that focused primarily on land issues, to serve as watchdogs that could bark and alert society if they noticed that something was going wrong with land holdings. Such NGOs could also carry out advocacy work and mobilize support to form something like a land alliance. But in any case they would need to be funded and where would such monies come from? No one would expect the government, or the private sector, who the poor people see as their oppressors to put money into organizations they believe would be disruptive, confrontational and simply bad business.
A discussion ensued as to the necessity for a pyramidal advocacy structure with its base in the masses and apex in the national assembly, since there were parliamentarians opposed to the Land Use Act and the inequities inherent in the environmental impact assessment processes. Civil society had a duty not to isolate itself and behave like anarchists, but to identify sympathetic individuals in government and try to work with them. There was a remark that the evaluation of advocacy projects could be difficult as advocacy achievements were not easy to measure.
A participant wished to know which of the guidelines and frameworks was best applicable to the status of small-holder farmers and women. This difficult question was also indicative of the fact that few had read the documents in any case, and perhaps the workshop could have come later, at a time when participants would be equipped with more information, and able to make individual and confident decisions about the voluntary guidelines. In view of this, a consensus of opinion was that Nigeria still needed land forums that could break down and simplify the guidelines in different workshops.
What we need then ultimately would be to produce, ‘Nigerian Guidelines’

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