From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
As conflicts between the states and the federal governments intensify, Minister of Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola has approved a review of the Land Use Act of 1978.
The review will delineate clearly the powers of the federal government and the state as well as eliminate areas of conflict.
Addressing the 27th Conference of Directors of Land in Federal and State Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the minister said that the conference would deliberate and share experiences on critical matters relating to land management with a view to improving individual professional skills and knowledge and to make recommendations for optimal management and administration of land in the country.
According to him, this year’s theme: “The Land Use Act and Land Management Responsibilities of the Federating Units” is necessary for a view of the erroneous and misleading interpretation of the land use act and conflicting roles in administering land by various tiers of governments.
Fielding questions from newsmen, the Director, Lands and Housing Department, Mr Ityoachimin Godwin flayed state governments who move into the federal government’s land without recourse. This, he said, is frustrating the federal government’s development projects in such states.
“The powers of the state governments under the federal government is trusteeship. So, trusteeship does not mean ownership.
“Taking over federal government’s land without due process leads to frustration of government’s projects,” he said.
But the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr Bashir Nura Alkali, reminded the participants that their decisions would form the policy direction of the government as regards land use.
“It is, therefore, with every sense of responsibility that I enjoin you (participants) to be very meticulous in your deliberations, putting the interests and needs of millions of Nigerians in focus and the government in particular on whose behalf you perform your professional duties, knowing that land is central to the overall existence of our nation,” he said.