Inalienable Rights of Nigerians to Partake of Land (1)

Oludele Sunday K.O

Are you ready to know the truth and pursue it? as I exploit this principle: a closed mouth catches no flies. Nigerians and property investors need some salient facts which the government and some Shylock and cruel brokers in the real estate sector don’t want you to know. It behooves on us to let the cat out of the bag for property buyers to obtain the desired investment gains and enjoy its maximum benefits.

This subject is not primarily intended for logomachy but action. This is the reason why this article is not a verbiage.

I do feel sad whenever I hear or read some advertisements on properties premised upon exploitation, disfranchisement, fallacy, propaganda and deception. People are not discerning, that is the bane of the massive extortion in varying degrees in our society today. The aim of many property agents is to make their money and transfer the risk to buyers as soon as possible. Woe betides any victim of such setup.

One of the problems in the property sector of Nigeria is the document title called Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) which this article is written to address. Basically, 99% of what you know or were told by either our government officials or property brokers are pure deception. Deception is often deployed by them to create a biased value on properties for better sale.

Another problem of great concern in the industry is the handshake between governors and the royal fathers whose union entrenches acute exploitation and disfranchisement of the masses. The duo are instrumental to the lost of many family lands which they are illegally claiming as government lands or acquisition. The court of justice have been on its toes in the recovery of such lands on litigation. The duo who are supposed to protect the interests of the masses have teamed up to worsen the conditions of the indigent villagers and inheritors of land. Anyway, this is another discussion for another day.

The gains in the property sector most times are bagged by the property brokers leaving the buyers to inherit undue struggle and marginal gain if it ever come easy. One of the tools they deploy to carry out the extortion against unsuspecting buyers is the title document. The Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is what I call the time bomb. The regrets of procuring C of O will blow someday. It is just a matter of the ticking time.

As previously enunciated, the land use act officially foisted the stern situation that had beclouded the innocent Nigerian people since its promulgation on March 29, 1978 and entrenched in the Nigerian constitution by virtue of section 315 thereof.

Moreover, the act had technically bewitched the housing schemes, the property market and the ownership status of the Nigerian people since its enactment as a silent instrument of exploitation which the Nigerian people refuse to suspect and decry for abrogation.

Through this property act, Nigerians are regrettably denied simple access to basic social necessity on ownership of property. For innocence and ignorance, many gullible property owners are parading and patronising the repressive title documentation of C of O from the government. What the Nigerians and the property stakeholders need is the type of official title document that will articulate their ownership rights and not such that demotes them to a mere occupants (tenants) on their properties.

However, majority of careless, gullible and exploitable Nigerians are sleeping on their rights on infringement with only few people decrying the inequality, inadequacy and human rights infringement arising from the repressive and disfranchising land use act.

Obviously, land is commonly known as a natural resource with enormous benefits being the nucleus of human livelihood and existence. Any government that outlaws this direct blessing from God in a move to deny Nigerians from enjoying its full potentials can only be described as a criminal whose intentions could expressly be interpreted as a war against humanity.

However, any deprivation on land to any human race is a war against survival because land provides the structural and physical base for every human activity. Think about it, you need land for virtually everything covering individual, business, agricultural, housing, industrial, technological and explorative needs. This explains the obvious necessity for land to any development oriented people and nation.

In our clime, free access to land through inheritance, lease, transfer, gift, purchase, et cetera, is a customary practice. The rights to inheritance is not dependent on laws, the best any law could offer this type of right is to articulate it in official documents for legal reasons only. There are natural rights which form the concept of natural or parts of customary laws which are inalienable. Any attempt to suspend, limit, restrict or remove such natural or customary rights by law shall always cause serious conflicts and counter reactions such as the case of the land use act of the Nigerian government which has been against the rights of the masses on access to land and  nonnegotiable ownership.

The inalienable right of the citizens of Nigeria to partake of land being a valuable factor of production is presently in conflict with the challenges and hardships that were brought to the fore through this act. The fact remains that the inalienable rights are peculiar, incontestable,nonnegotiable and cannot be outlawed except the people are careless, gullible and porous.

Land laws are not supposed to worsen the conditions of the indigents by any standard, technical or political measures as we find in the land use act of Nigeria running today.

… to be continued.


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