Re- appraising the right of foreign nationals under the Nigerian Land Use Act

  • Thaddeus Chukwuka Eze
Keywords: “Land”, “Ownership”, “Foreign Nationals”, “Constitution”, “Non-Natives”, “Aliens”

Abstract

This paper examines the right of foreigners to own land under the Nigerian Land Use Act with a view to determining the state of the law on this subject matter. The Land Use Act did not make any express provision prohibiting foreigners from accessing land in Nigeria for industrial, commercial or residential purposes. However, the Act conferred the power to make regulation in this regard on the National Council of States. Unfortunately, the National Council of States has not yet exercised this power thereby leaving a lacuna on the position of the law in this regard. The Nigerian Supreme Court has laid down a precedent to the effect that foreigners cannot own land in Nigeria. The paper found that a closer examination of the state of statutory authorities would reveal that there is no blanket prohibition on the right of foreign nationals to own land in Nigeria The paper further found that the Land Tenure Law of Northern Nigeria merely made the right of access to land by “non-natives” subject to the approval of the Minister. The term “non-natives” as used under the Land Tenure Law of Northern Nigeria extended to people whose parents are not members of any tribe indigenous to Northern Nigeria. The acquisition of Land by Aliens Law of Lagos State and other States actually came close to a blanket prohibition. The paper also discovered that the provisions of the Land Use Act as it affects the right of foreigners to own land in Nigeria is imprecise. The paper attempted to resolve the inherent conflict between the aforementioned sub national laws and the Land Use Act which is an Act of the National Assembly entrenched in the Constitution. Recommendations were also made on how the law on this subject matter can be improved

Key Words: “Land”, “Ownership”, “Foreign Nationals”, “Constitution”, “Non-Natives”, “Aliens”

Published
2020-10-08
Section
Articles

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print ISSN: 2276-7371