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ASSESSMENT OF THE ACTIVITIES OF ABUJA GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM (AGIS)
Recent efforts to secure tenure and enhance real property markets are under pressure from increasing demand and competition for land. While limited success in implementing land administration reform in the FCT have led to inefficiency, incoherent and poor land management, have been recognized as one of the key obstacles hindering change and also undermining its huge potential and global competitiveness. This thesis assesses the extent land administration reform under AGIS has engendered positive outcomes in the FCT and the explanations for the outcomes, to determine the areas of shortcomings for improvement.
Data collection for the research involved sample of 250 applicant/beneficiaries of land, drawn across seven districts to determine how land administration system in FCT has improved in practice. The institutional survey provided information on the management activities of land related departments and the operations of AGIS. It focused on the performance of the system in meeting the challenge of land acquisition. Good governance principles was considered as evaluation criterion in land administration systems, and identified six evaluation areas that has links to what aspects of the outcomes of land administration system is best affected by AGIS. The good governance principles were also used as benchmarking for a presumed ideal system.
The research reveals that land administration in AGIS does not address unequal land distribution. Management, acquisition and disposal of public land follow unclear procedures and are not applied transparently. Formal land delivery takes an inordinate amount of time under the existing frameworks and land fees are unaffordable to many in the FCT. The survey reveals that only about 17% of good governance in land administration has been achieved by the Abuja Geographic Information System. In conclusion, the study recommends that Fairness and equity in land acquisition processes can be achieved by properly constituting and allowed to function, the Land Use and Allocation Committee (LUAC). AGIS workflow can be reorganized and state-of-the art technology installed for efficiency, so that processes and procedures available for the acquisition of land would be clear and understood by the general public. Active participation of key stakeholders is necessary through the use of public hearings and citizen’s forums.
The world today faces many complex challenges including rapid urbanization and growing food, water, energy shortages etc. Many of these challenges have a clear land dimensions and have a repeated mention in the literature (Palmer et al, 2009). Responding to the challenges of urbanization in particular is difficult when the governance of land is weak. This observation leads to the proposition that land policy reform is important and that an understanding of the reform process from governance and political economy perspective offers insights that can not only improve land administration, but can also offer tools to support its implementation.
Land is an ultimate resource that provides the basis for life. It is both a physical commodity and an abstract concept, in that the rights to own or use it are as much a part of the land as the objects rooted in its soil. Land is fixed in supply and is a basic place of human activities. Humankind has always had close association with land as a basis for food, shelter and livelihood development (UN/FIG, 1999). Land is of fundamental importance to economic activity and development. It is often the most common means of storing wealth and a powerful economic asset. It provides foundation for economic activity in sectors as varied as agriculture, industries, housing and tourism and is also a key factor in the functioning of market (e.g. credit) and non-market institutions (e.g. local governments).
Land acquisition and transfer in Nigeria has largely been organized through informal means such that between 50-70 percent of urban land in Nigeria is delivered through informal practices. The limitations of the informal process have created bottlenecks in gathering and storing data for land administration; which is a key prerequisite for effective land management. The reversal of these shortcomings is concerned with changing the rules, processes and structures through which decisions are made about the use of, and control over land; the manner in which the decisions are implemented and enforced, and the way competing interests in land are managed (Palmer et al, 2009).Reform generally has implications for land agencies, courts and ministries responsible for land, as well as non-statutory actors such as traditional bodies and informal agents. Its scope covers both the legal and policy framework for land as well as the traditional and informal practices that enjoy social legitimacy. Before other objectives, land administration reform also aims at protecting the property right of an individual and enterprises as well as the state by introducing such principles as transparency, accountability, rule of law, equity, participation and effectiveness into land related public sector management.
As observed by Bell (2007), governments with a record of transparency, accountability and responsiveness are far more likely to attract investment, provide high-quality public services and manage resources more cost-effectively than those whose activities are opaque. Being output of reform, improved access to land and the security of tenure can guarantee food security, social stability, economic growth and poverty reduction. They are the essential basis for livelihood of all people around the globe (FAO, 2007). Access must be stable and secured if it is to provide an opportunity for economic growth and the incentive to invest (SIDA, 2008).
A study conducted by Arnot and Meadows (2006), reveals that a good land administration system should be seen to; guarantee ownership and security of tenure; support land and property taxation; provide security for credit; develop and monitor land market; facilitate land administration reform and alleviate poverty; improve urban planning and infrastructure development; support environmental management and produce statistical data; support governance and rule of law; and reduce land dispute.
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