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Land is a vital and valuable asset that drives economic growth globally. It is widely believed that tenure security must be ensured for land to achieve its full potential. By providing tenure security, land can serve as a catalyst for development, attract inclusive investment, and reduce poverty (Oladehinde et al., 2024; Olapade & Aluko, 2023; Van Gelder, 2010). The term tenure security differs in context, and stakeholders have divergent views. However, the convergence of the definition of land tenure security is when a landholder perceives no likelihood of being displaced, evicted, or losing physical possession of his/her land now or in the near future (Zevenbergen & Westen, 2023). So, the term tenure security depends on the perception and understanding of the stakeholders. However, stakeholders have a tripartite view of land tenure security: legal, social and economic perspectives (Christine et al., 2014; Van Gelder, 2010; Zevenbergen & Westen, 2023). Meanwhile, tenure security varies between urban and rural areas. Contrary to general belief, most rural land rights are more secure (Christine et al., 2014). This could be because most rural lands are acquired through inheritance with few restrictions relative to statutory lands in urban areas. Unlike lands in urban areas or statutory land, customary lands do not have a formal legal title and recognition (Atwood, 1990). However, it has been argued that more than a formal title is needed to guarantee the security of tenure (Turimubumwe et al., 2021). This means that the security of tenure goes beyond having a formal title and neglects other inherent factors. In Oyo State, Nigeria, like other developing countries, people's livelihood depends on land, and stakeholders attach different values to land. This importance of land makes stakeholders protect their rights on land, and attempting to do so sometimes leads to counterclaims, eviction and land conflict. This invariably affects tenure security. Meanwhile, factors responsible for land tenure insecurity, as identified by previous studies include dual system of land tenure (Agboola et al., 2017; Akinyele, 2009), encroachment, demand for extra-legal payment by the customary landholders and relocation to another plot (Oyalowo et al., 2020), probability of eviction, possibility of losing land rights and fear of encroachment (Oladehinde & Olayiwola, 2021). Olapade & Aluko (2023) corroborate the previous studies by identifying not taking possession of land, counterclaims, and multiple sales of land as factors responsible for land tenure insecurity. Having recognised the importance of these studies, the studies sought information from land providers only, focused on the informal land system and were not gender sensitive. The gap this study filled. Therefore, the study investigates the land tenure security of Oyo State from the stakeholder's perspective. Oyo State, Nigeria, is chosen as the case study due to the prevalence of land conflicts in the state. The state currently operates a dual land tenure system: statutory and customary. In Nigeria, the Land Use Act of 1978 governs the statutory land tenure system. The Act came into effect on the 29th of March 1978, to empower the Governor of each state in Nigeria to expressly acquire land for public purposes or other overriding public interest (FGN, 1978). The act aims to nationalise all lands, take over the country's ownership and control of the land and recognise Certificate of Occupancy as the highest title in the country. The act was expected to eradicate the pre-existing tenure system. Alas! the customary land tenure system is still being operated according to the native law and customs of the people (Aluko & Amidu, 2006). Customary lands are managed by individuals, landholding families, and communities. The lands are not registered, and the landholders have no formal titles. However, the Land Use Act seems to have failed and become unacceptable to the people, and many have advocated for its review due to some of its bottlenecks (Adeniyi, 2013; Olapade & Aluko, 2023). The study was conducted in four out of the seven administrative zones in Oyo state, Nigeria. The state has an approximate land mass area of 28,454 square kilometres, with a population of 5,591,589 (NPC, 2006), and is ranked 14th by land size in Nigeria. Oyo State comprises many rural areas that are geographically diverse, with farming being the primary occupation of the residents. A case study approach was employed. Purposeful and Snowball sampling techniques were used for data collection to select 33 land administration stakeholders. These include 8 traditional rulers, 12 heads of landholding families, 4 community leaders, 5 government officials, and 4 women for key informant interviews (KII). The method seemed appropriate because it investigates social, community-based problems and contemporary phenomenon in a real-life context (Yin, 2003, 2013). The data were analysed using thematic and narrative analysis. The findings reveal that land conflict stakeholders participate in land conflicts, land conflict management and land transactions. The level of land tenure security varied across the different zones in Oyo State. Stakeholders' perception of tenure security was hinged on having legal and economic rights and having physical possession of land without conflict, no traces of counterclaims, or infringes on one's rights. Illegal/multiple sales of family land, land grabbing, land speculations, encroachment, government policies and practices, dual tenure system, and land conflicts are drivers of land tenure insecurity in Oyo state. Stakeholders admitted that land was more secure in rural areas than in urban areas. This could be because most family members knew each other in a community and shared land boundaries. It was thus difficult for someone to claim land ownership of the land he/she did not have rights on. It was further found that having a formal title alone does not guarantee tenure security but with physical possession. The result implies that using land exclusively, generating income on land and having physical possession of land is synonymous with tenure security. The study concludes that a good land administration system encourages inclusive investment, enhances transparent land transactions, reduces land conflict, and enhances efficient and equitable land markets, thereby enhancing tenure security. It is therefore recommended that a framework to strengthen good land administration be implemented by incorporating the customary tenure system into the statutory system. This would reduce illegal land transactions. Tenure security perception is a function of having physical possession of land, the land's location and stakeholders' beliefs. The study provides valuable insights for policymakers, stakeholders, and investors on tenure security that could enhance good land governance
Original languageEnglish
Pages27 - 30
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2024
Event3rd International Land Management Conference 2024: University of the West of England - Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Mar 202415 Mar 2024
Conference number: 3


Conference3rd International Land Management Conference 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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