Stakeholders, ERA/FOEN fine-tune draft model Land Use Act in Cross River

Efforts aimed at achieving a Draft model of a Land Use Act that will eventually be sponsored to become a new Land Use Law was taken further in a public lecture in Calabar, Cross River State.

In the lecture held at the CES auditorium of the University of Calabar, stakeholders comprising Community dwellers, Traditional leaders, academia and civil society activists, all perused and fine-tuned the Draft Act presented by Environmental Rights Action and Friends of Earth Nigeria ERA/FoEN.

Guest lecturer and an international participant in the public lecture Prof. Satumino M. Borras Jr. shared his experience gained across different countries in Asia, Europe and Africa, noting that land grabbing has been a matter of concern across countries and various options have been adopted.

He suggested that in addressing the concerns of land grabbing, it is important for the draft Act to spell out Rights to minimum and maximum ownership of land for individual and cooperation.

Another resource person in the lecture, Dr. Raphael Offiong noted that land grabbing is at the center of land issues and drew reference to some communities in Cross River State where individuals, government and private companies have connived to take over land arbitrarily and deny community and families of their rights.

Dr. Offiong cited Mbarakom community among other communities in Akamkpa and Biase local government areas in Cross River State where state government had taken over land belonging to communities and given to private companies with any memorandum of understanding reached with the people.

He shared his work on the topic, “Policy Intersection: Strengthening Bottom up Accountability Amidst Land Grabbs in Nigeria; the Cross River Experience” and agreed with the suggestion that besides, the draft land use act, a draft national land use policy should be considered as well.

A legal practitioner and civil right activist, Nuruden Ogbara Esq in his lecture at the forum looked at the “1978 Land Use Act: The need for model Land Use Act”.

Nuruden also took participants at the lecture through section by section provisions in the draft land use act and disclosed that in putting together the draft land use act, land laws across 29 countries in Africa were considered and one of the take in the draft act is the point where land ownership is defined and identified into Community land, Family land and Individual land.

Dr. Maurice Olory of Community Forest Watch, Cross River State gave a goodwill message on-behalf of the executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo.

Goodwill message was also taken from Cross River State House of Assembly, Conservator of the Cross River National Park as well as the state forestry commission.
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