By Sarauniya G Usman

Project Manager, World Bank Funded Projects, Mr Abubakar Gwadabe, says that transparency is the best way to peaceful acquisition of lands for development and avoiding problems in land issues.

Abubakar made this known in his speech at a 1-day stakeholder‘s Discussion Panel on Issues, Concerns and Rights on Land Acquisition for Development.

The programme was organised by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) with the support of the World Bank Assisted Nigeria Electricity and Gas Improvement Project.

Abubakar said the best way to combat land acquisition challenges was if transparency and sincerity were applied not withstanding the people involved in the issue.

According to him, there should be transparent laws that guide land acquisition at all times and when everyone abides by these laws problems will not come up.

“In the sense that there are laws guiding land acquisition and land compensation; if the law is transparent it will enumerate the procedure to follow for either land donation or acquisition.
“It will also outline the enumeration of the economic crops or other economic development on the land.
” If it is stated by the law and transparently abided by all, it can go a long way in solving this problems”.

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Abubakar said already existing laws that seem to be hampering development should be done away with and new ones made to accommodate prevailing situations taking into consideration peculiarities of each state.

Dr Kitan Oluwagbuyi, Social Safeguard Consultant for the World Bank on TCN said the main objective of the workshop was to address problems related to land acquisition for development by donor agencies.

“Most of the projects supported by donor agencies like the TCN require land, the project which is about building sub stations across the country so that they can give electricity, there is need for land.
“State governments have also provided these lands but in the course of taken possessions of these lands, there are some undercurrents of discontentment that are coming in”.

“And these undercurrent are in three areas one is on documentation of the lands, inadequate compensation for these lands and inadequate compensation is on the basis of devaluation. “The valuation methods used in some instances because the land use act only gives room in the valuation to pay for developed or improved land”.

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According to her in some of the sites the devaluation was caused either out of overzealousness some land were cleared even before the TCN came to claim possession.

She said proper information and enlightenment should be embarked on by relevant agencies on the value on lands depending on its location.

“Again some areas are gray areas of administration in which there is a demarcation for or call it a zoning for lands that are in the city within an area of 10km or 5km or 15km depending on the state”.

“They have variations, those that are close to the capitals and city centres have higher money paid as compensations but people are not aware of this and people are expecting more for their sustainability”.

“The issues are not because people are not happy about the project, its because we have notice the undercurrents but for future developments we have to bring them to the front burner and discuss”.

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She therefore called on the cooperation of all stakeholders in land matters to find a most profitable to address these issues to the benefit of all.