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Abrogate the Land Use Act to forestall catastrophic security breach – Olu of Ilaro

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Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle

Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle

Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle (Asade Agunloye IV), who is the Olu of Ilaro and Chairman, Yewa Traditional Council in Ogun State, has appealed to the Federal Government to immediately abrogate the 1978 Land Use Act, as this is one of the solutions to present scarcity of grazing lands in the country.

Oba Olugbenle said he is forced to make this appeal because of the adverse consequences of the activities of people he described as cattle rearers in his domain. He said because of the pittance that is presently paid as compensation for cash crops and tree crops by government and the general impression that land belongs to government as contained in the Land Use Acts, most people are not willing to co-operate with government in matters concerning land.  He stressed that if the Federal Government could abrogate the act, and people now realise that they would adequately be paid for the land that belong to them, government will be surprised at the rate people will give up the ownership of their land for government to achieve its aim with regard to lands for cattle ranch and grazing routes.

He said government can no longer pretend not to know about the havoc the herdsmen are committing across the country in the course of their cattle grazing. He said if the government fails to come out with a decisive policy that will help put these people in check, Nigeria as a country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder, and if allowed to ignite, it is capable of putting the country in great danger.

He said as the chairman, Yewa Traditional Council, “I have seen quite a lot about the activities of this group of people. The only way to drag the country into a situation that might result in a catastrophic security breach is for governments at all levels to refuse to act now.”

The Olu of Ilaro, in a chat with newsmen in his palace in Ilaro in Ogun State, ahead of his 50th birthday and 5th year on the throne commemoration, expressed concern over the destructive manner herdsmen deploy their cattle into farm lands in Yewa. He said for a long while now, these people deliberately destroy vast hectares of well-cultivated farmlands with their cattle. The Oba noted that, farmers have woken up from their homes to find that their well farms had been eaten destroyed by cattle. The Olu of Ilaro, warned that if matters are allowed to get to that level, most natives might result to self-help which is going to be dangerous.  As traditional rulers or the state governments at that point, might no longer be in a position to control the ripple effect, of such a reprisal.

Oba Olugbenle said one of the simplest ways to resolve this problem across the country is for the Federal Government to immediately revoke the 1978 Land Use Act promulgated by the then Nigerian Military. He said once this is done, some people will be willing to sale their land for grazing routes, reserves or any other purpose as it will suit them, knowing full well, that they would eventually be adequately compensated for their land and crops. He said, presently, the Land Use Act only authorized the appropriate land officer in the ministries to determine or prescribe the amount for economic crops and trees to be paid compensation on, whereas that same law, did not specify the method of arriving at the rates or in computing the prices for such economic crops and trees.

The Land Use Decree (now known as the Land Use Act) was promulgated on March 29th, 1978 following the recommendations of a minority report of a panel appointed by the then Federal Military Government to advice on future land policy. The Military government thereafter, vested all land in each state of the Federation on the governors.

The promulgation of the Land Use Act was as a result of two main factors:
Firstly, the diversity of customary laws on land tenure and difficulty in applying the various customs of the different people of Nigeria to land matters.

The second factor is the rampant practice in most Southern Nigeria with regard to fraudulent sales of land, a situation where one land is sold to different people at the same time, giving room to so many litigations.

Read The Olu of Ilaro’s Full Interview Next Sunday



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