Land accountability: Unavoidable task

Same story, yet another victim over land dispute in Lekki Lagos. This time it is a very popular man Mr Tajudeen Disu, the Managing Director of Lekki Worldwide Investment Company. Reading the story, there were two other people who were killed which angered the community. RIP to all deceased.

Land ownership disputes all around Nigeria has very similar argument – who is the rightful owner.? Government is still shying away from documenting land within the country and taking bold steps to set a law that all can abide by.

Given Mr Tajudeen Disu’s standing in the community and his VIP status, Lagos state is working seriously on bring the killer/s to book.

That is good to hear, but my question is what do we do with less VIPs in our society who get killed daily over land dispute?

This is a question for the country as a whole, dispute over land is not going anywhere until ambiguities over rightful owners is cleared.

Here is a paragraph copied from an article by another concerned citizen, Dele Olojede.

8. THIS LAND IS MY LAND (REALLY)

“Account for every square centimetre of land in the entire territory of the federal republic. Issue certificates of occupancy to all identifiable land owners. End the vagueness of communally held land and its capacity to generate endless dispute and violence. Where a community, rather than an individual or corporate body, does historically lay claim to the land, create trusts to legally hold the property. A nationwide electronic geographic information system will do more than end violent disputes and endless court cases; it puts money in people’s pockets by making land easily fungible. My father’s house in Modakeke is worth almost nothing because there is no legal title to it. So is my friend Nosa Igiebor’s 1,000-hectare family land in Benin. Read or reread Hernando DeSoto’s ‘Mystery of Capital.’ It was relevant yesterday; it is even more so today. Don’t make a mockery of most families’ principal asset when this can be turned into wealth. It is relatively easily done. My friend Nasir El-Rufai accomplished this in Abuja, when he was federal minister of the Federal Capital territory from 2003-2007. Now that he is governor of Kaduna State, he’s planning to do the same thing. Land is a state issue, so the federal government can nudge the laggards in the right direction by creating a fund to underwrite electronic land registration for any state that needs help. Stop manufacturing mass poverty and do the right thing.”

On this note I’m getting myself a copy of The Mystery of Capital by Hernando DeSoto even if I have to take forever to finish reading it. Thank you Mr Dele Olojede for the recommendation.

Admittedly, my focus has been on my royal family regarding needless waste of lives resulting from land disputes, ultimately it is the government responsibility to draw the line for all to abide by.

When the government fails, people are at the mercy of the likes of Oba Sijuade. I don’t think I can ever get over the man, not even when he has crossed to the life beyond.

Cocoa and Cassava production in Nigeria

The following infographics are from Gro Intelligence. The founder’s presentation here about making food more affordable is as informative as the infographics below: helping those who care have clearer pictures of the state of our agricultural products in Nigeria.

chocolate

 

Going by the data here, I doubt Nigeria farmers are any better off than Cote d’Ivoire in terms of price paid for their cocoa seeds. In our villages today where cocoa seeds are grown and harvested, hot chocolate (Bournvita/Milo) isn’t regular drinks for many folks, this is hardly surprising given they receive 6% of the price paid for chocolate.

Interesting is the fact that in spite of the increase in demand for cocoa seeds, the price paid to the farmers has significantly gone down compared to the 1980s – I can see why so many people are complaining, I actually didn’t know it has gone this bad.

There are too many middlemen with cocoa trading in Nigeria, farmers are always the one bearing the brunt as most rely on produce buyer to give them the best price. These buyers often have to pass through two or three people before cocoa seeds get out of the country.

cassava

This is just unbelievable about cassava. In south of Nigeria, cassava is our thing and one of the easiest root vegetables to grow. Now, it makes more sense, when I came across hectares of cassava plants in Thailand few years ago, I wondered if they too consumed cassava as much as we do but I know better.

To increase cassava processing, we’d undoubtedly require stable electricity, area we still shy away from but must be developed if we are to move forward.

But for how long can we rely on others to supply basics we could have easily produced ourselves?

 

land

My favourite infographic – inspiring to read that Ghana is taking a lead in land registration. In Nigeria, this is a hot debate. How can we ever move past ‘dark’ age when most rural land is undocumented?

Thank you Ms Menker for sharing these infographics.

Grandfather’s chest box

“If someone has bitten you, he has reminded you that you have teeth.” Kenya proverb.

I asked my father what the deal was with his Iroko chest box. I have known this box to be special since I was little, it stays under his bed and in it were journals and diaries of my father from before I was born.

“Apoti Baami nuu” – “My father’s chest box”, he said to me. Your father’s? I was ecstatic! All of my grand parents from both families were long gone before I was born  and apart from the house in the village and the farm that belonged to my paternal grandparents, there were nothing personal around that I knew of, not even a photo! By the time I was old enough to appreciate stories about my paternal grandparents, my father had lost his voice so took solace in his pens and journals.

My mother chipped in to talk about my grandfather’s dentures and how they became his ‘little babies’ the first few weeks he got them. My grandfather had dentures? How could he have afforded those close to sixty years ago? Where did he get them done?

Everything becomes clearer by the day why there will always be endless conflicts and lots of it in Nigeria if government continue to turn deaf ears to landownership crisis like the one in Modakeke and Ife

My grandfather got his dentures fitted at Ibadan, likely to be LUTH.

My grandfather’s dentures and his chest box have nothing to do with what really is boiling in me however, they were crucial clues to the lives people of his time lived in the village – He was not rich, however, he was content. He lived well, he was able to afford the cost of his health services and food for his family.

What has changed:

My grandparents had seven children, four were male so family farm was divided between them (leaving gender inequality for another time). Only one was educated to Standard Six, others enrolled in various apprenticeships. At one point all of them returned to the village, each working on his portion of the farm.

Any mystery as to why there were ongoing conflicts when Ife insisted on Modakeke to continue paying Isakole on three hundred years old lease?

There’s just not enough to keep feeding idle hands of great grand children who relied on proceeds from informal lease between great grand parents. Simple.

The same piece of land has not and will never increase in size, however the population has quadrupled in the last century – why is our elders not seeing this and find constructive ways of dealing with the conflict in the way that a group of people are not alienated on their land?

Lease on land met brick wall in the 1980’s after Oba Okunade Sijuade decided to reintroduce his rights to absolute power for good reasons but now outright chase of people from their farms is the new strategy.

My question is, those people especially in Ogudu Village, will they remain quiet for ever? They are hurting, no one is listening or think they are making any sense.

Yet, our president Jonathan Goodluck had time to visit the “Notable Yoruba Kings” yesterday in my hometown to discuss politics – Well, we all know these Obas do not give a hoot about the common people and neither did GEJ.

I have a word for all of them – Ile ti a fi ito mo iri in yio wo – A house built of saliva will collapse when dew hit.