Legal Reform of the Land Use Act: Protection of Private Property Rights to Land in Nigeria

  • Uche Ifeoma Modum

Student thesis: Phd


Strong private property rights to land are recognised as fundamental to the economic growth of a country's legal system. Legal reform of inadequate and inefficient property rights laws is therefore essential. My thesis aims to address the lack of legal reform of the laws governing property rights to land in Nigeria. It does this by critically examining the Land Use Act set up as the primary body of legislation governing property rights in Nigeria.The thesis seeks to offer meaningful insights by proposing an institutional analysis of the limitations to reform of existing laws governing property rights to land in Nigeria. Several approaches of new institutionalism are explored in analysing identified constraints which exist within formal and informal institutions. Explanations of the absence of legal reform are addressed through themes examining formal and informal institutional structures which limit reform. Analyses of institutional structures highlight the significant role played by institutions in the etablishment and development of property right laws in Nigeria. An in-depth look at Nigerian private property laws and legally recognised interests on land exposes fundamental limitations to private property rights protection of individuals within the Nigerian state. The thesis provides valuable insights and addresses institutional limitations through consideration of strategies which would enable and assist legal reform of Nigeria's property rights laws. The study concludes by exploring three aspects. First, it offers reform proposals and analyses the functionality of the proposed reform suggestions. Second, it highlights principles of policy-making redesign within formal institutions. Finally, it offers strategies to assist reform within informal instituional structures.In short, the thesis focuses on enabling legal reform of Nigerian property rights laws to ensure the amendment, modification or excision of bad, inefficient laws in order to offer better protection of individuals' property rights to land.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPierre Schammo (Supervisor) & Yenkong Ngangjoh Hodu (Supervisor)


  • Legal reform
  • Property rights

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