Nigeria is a middle income country that primarily generates revenue through its natural resources, particularly the export of oil, which puts the country among the 10 larger exporters of oil in the world and represents one third of Nigeria’s GDP. However, Nigeria’s economy also depends on agriculture, which provides employment for more than half the rural population.

The Nigerian Constitution gives all citizens the right to acquire and own immovable property. The constitution also incorporates the provisions included in the Land Use Act of 1978 related to the reduction of land speculation, equitable access to land and the creation of a system of occupancy certificates, while encouraging productive use though the nationalization of land. However, the Land Use Act has rarely been implemented, mostly due to the fact that the majority of the population, especially rural people, are unaware of the act. Therefore, despite the Land Use Act, customary norms regulating land tenure prevail in Nigeria; the ownership and the use of land is generally assigned to communities and the administration of the land by village’s leaders is intended for the benefit of the community. Particularly in the north of Nigeria, customary law and Sharia law regulating land tenure have been somehow merged to create a type of hybrid system.

These systems have not prevented land disputes and conflicts from arising. Among the reasons for the increasing pressure on land and natural resources include the oil industry, disputes between pastoralists and sedentary farmers and conflicts among family members over rights of inheritance. Both formal and customary courts are entitled to resolve land disputes, yet these processes may be complex and take a long time to resolve.

Source of the narrative

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Indicators Year Value Unit Dataset Source Remove

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Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF)

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    • Very Good Practice
    • Good Practice
    • Weak Practice
    • Very Weak Practice
    • Missing Value

    Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

    Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
    • Fully adopt
    • Partially adopt
    • Not adopted
    • Missing Value

    Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

    The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen, with support from Daniel Babare and Myat Noe (LLB Students, University of Groningen). The indicators assess national laws in 50 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America against international standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement as established by Section 16 of the VGGTs.

    Each indicator relates to a principle established in section 16 of the VGGTs. Hold the mouse against the small "i" button above for a more detailed explanation of the indicator.

    Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.


    Latest News

    14 April 2017

    The decision by the government of Jigawa State to hand over 12,000 hectares of land spread across four local government areas to a Chinese investor is threatening the livelihood of about 150,000 persons in the state.

    The 12,000 hectares are spread across Gagarawa, Taura, Suletankarkar and Garki local government areas of the state.

    The state government had in 2014 signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with the Lee Group to allocate land to the company to set up a sugarcane plantation with a view to setting up a Sugar factory.

    6 April 2017


    Dr (Mrs) Ladi Shambo is the MD of Dijmeds Ventures Limited, a company that is into food processing and Shea butter processing. 

    After her retirement from the civil service, she decided to start producing spices. 

    “I produce ginger powder, garlic powder, chili pepper and mixed spice (‘yaji’) and ‘garin danwake’. These products have NAFDAC number and are in the market.

    Source: Leadership News
    Author: Andrew Essein

    The effective and efficient deployement of land resources as a method to resolving the pesistant clashes between farmers and herdsmen has again come to the fore with stakeholders and policy makers in the lands and agricultural sector calling for collaboration in the application of the appropriate land governance laws towards mitigating the ugly trend.

    Latest Blog


    Displaying 1 - 6 of 86
    Reports & Research
    April 2010

    The paper presents and discusses the fact that when land is acquired, compensation paid and resettlement done, the communities still go ahead and put constraints before the Government for the purposes of hindering the development. Citing of projects for economic development is a major problem for developing economies because of the agitation of the land “owners”despite an existing good land tenure system.

    The paper stressed the fact that one general law may not be sufficient for Government to process land for development purposes because of the communities’ agitation

    March 1978

    An Act to vest all land comprised in the territory of each State (except land vested in the Federal Government or its agencies) solely in the Governor of the State, who would hold such land in trust for the people and would henceforth be responsible for allocation of land in all urban areas to individuals resident in the State and to organisations for residential, agricultural, commercial and other purposes while similar powers with respect to non-urban areas are conferred on Local Governments.

    Journal Articles & Books
    December 2012

    This report develops a framework to examine the role of policy at three levels: at the level of agricultural policy basics (Section 2); at the level of directly shaping investments (Section 3); and at the level of market governance (Section 4). The key policy levers are summarized in Table 1, and elaborated on at the end of each section. The work was supported by four country case studies, conducted in Guatemala, Nigeria, Tanzania, and the Philippines, and led by national researchers.