1.1 Background to the Study
Land is the basis for every form of physical development and constitutes the Primary medium for shelter and food production, for the provision of sheets and utilities, for the manufacture of goods and the establishment of institutions to support the basic needs of modern communities (Lanus and Olufemi, 2006). Hence, it’s the builder’s most important asset and plays essential role in increasing as well as sustaining the housing development. (Ukaejiofor, 2009) noted that land at the heart of social, political and economic life of the most African countries. He stressed further that, it is the key factor for economic growth and development of every nation and the foundation for shelter in the urban areas as well as the source of livelihood in the rural areas. Therefore, it is an indisputable source of employment and wealth (Idoma and Muhammed, 2014). However, ownership of land often interferes with its use as housing asset. The right of people to own, use and control land and its resources are known as Land Use Act.
Land use regulations and controls are used to restrict the rights of private land holders in the use of land. The regulations are used to protect public interest in the use of private land. The regulations stem from the need to provide public amenities, to increase the efficiency of land-use, to limit urban sprawl and unnecessary encroachment on agricultural land, and to achieve economies of scale and least-cost production of public services (Courtney, 1983). The regulations are also used to ensure the availability of land to all groups, and to ensure that the benefits of development go to the community as a whole.
Several controversies that were created by the Act have been well documented in different reactions and write-ups. Mabogunje (2007; 2011) and Aluko (2007; 2009; 2010) dealt excessively on the sorry state of affairs about the housing situations in Nigeria in general and how it could be sustained. Since one of the major areas of the Act is to control future uses and open new land for the needs of Nigeria’s growing population especially in urban areas, yet there is still the outcry of the people to affordable housing provision. In Delta State for example, the municipalities (local governments) have no say in the issue of Certificate of Occupancy as all lands in the State has been declared urban and are all under the control of the governor. Whereas in the commencement of the Land Use Act 1978 No. 6 on 29th March, 1978, it was stated that “whereas it is in the public interest that the rights of all Nigerians to the land of Nigeria be asserted and preserved by law”. And that all lands comprised in the territory of each State in the Federation are hereby vested in the Governor of the State. The Act also provides that “all land in urban areas shall be under the control and management of the Governor of each State”.
Housing plays a very important role in human society. It has tremendous social and economic impact on the total living environment of the world. It’s direct and immediate influence on health, education, economy, environment, political and social life of any society cannot be overemphasized (Mantell, 2015). In recent decades, there has been an increasing emphasis on the housing sector by different governments of the developing countries. Yet the adequate provision of this basic need eludes a high proportion of the population of (these countries) (Midgley, 2005). Although rural housing conditions are generally far from satisfactory, the problem attains its most acute proportion in the urban centres of the less Developed Countries (LCDs). A number of factors account for this, including the accelerated rate of urbanization since 1950, occasioned primarily by rural-urban migration and secondly by natural increases within the urban centres themselves, non-renewal of dilapidated structures, poor facilities in existing houses, poor environmental conditions of dwellings and insufficient supply of new housing units (Auchazi, 2015).
Aroni (2012) pointed out that Shortage of housing is a problem which has become an enduring feature of the urbanization process in developing countries and it appears to raise increasing alarm, particularly from urban administrators and policy makers. This situation is due, not only to the high birth rates that swell urban numbers but the rural poor flow into the metropolitan areas in search of better jobs and other facilities. Dwyer (2015) argues that today’s urban problems are reaching such dimensions on the world scale as to place them third in importance to the threat of nuclear warfare and famine.