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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE FORMAL LAND MARKET ON HOUSING IN CALABAR, CROSS-RIVER STATE
Background to the study
Land is a significant factor and an indispensable asset that determines the quality of life of not only the rural communities but also that of the urban dwellers. From the land needed for cultivation by the rural farmers, the site required for urban housing, the workshop needed by roadside auto mechanics and spaces required by various government and developmental agencies, land has proved not only to be central to man’s needs and activities but also as the most crucial factor of production. Consequently, the land exchanges and its accessibility have continued to be a tool for obtaining social prestige, economic security and even political power. But with the increasing world population, now estimated at 6.789 billion (United States Census Bureau, 2009), not all people have direct access and legal ownership of land. About 90% percent of the world populations are poor and so they do not have the financial capacity to acquire land on the open market.
In Africa, Nigeria inclusive, the question of landownership (acquisition) and land rights is at its centre stage in every country today. This has been escalated by the increasing urbanization and industrialization. In addition, the character of the land tenure is complicated and has varied in different countries at different periods of history. While the landlord tenant system prevails in some countries, the peasants’ proprietorship is predominant in others. In fact the concept of land ownership has gradually moved from that of possession and presence on the land as a place to live and cultivate or capture food for survival, to the act of possessing land as a property (Kermundu, 2008). Land ownership in Nigeria determines where families and particular communities settle. This has greatly affected the customs and religion, occupation, planning, investment decisions and it is a major factor in social cohesiveness and stability or vice versa.
According to Stephen (2009), the difficulty of securing reasonably priced land is the greatest single constraint to the private sector’s ability to provide well-located urban housing opportunities for low and moderate income families in developing countries. This has resulted in the private sector’s tendency to construct higher income housing in such well-
located and well-serviced areas while forcing housing for low and moderate income families to the peripheries of urban areas where they may incur substantial costs, both in time and money, in commuting to employment opportunities in the urban centre and where infrastructure and urban services are often lacking or deficient. It is this situation that resulted into the increasing informal/unplanned settlements in most parts of Calabar.
Land values are very high excluding the urban poor and some middle income group from accessing tenured land of their own and thus are left to seek land in urban peripheries where they develop informal (unplanned) residential settlements.
In fact, most land in Cross River is developed with informal settlements compared to planned settlements. This was confirmed by Pareto (2004) who noted that only 30% of the developments in South South are formal while the rest can be referred to as informal.
With all these existing informal residential settlements, a question arises as to how land markets perform in such settlements. Land speculation, difficulties of formally transferring land or appropriately developing it are common phenomena in such settlements Cross Rivers state. This has consequently affected the proper performance of the land markets in Calabar metropolis, in that the informal settlements have perpetuated and championed the increased land transactions in the informal land markets and hindered the efficient performance of the formal land markets. This study is therefore guided to Formal Land Market On Housing In Calabar, Cross River State and make substantial recommendations which if adopted will ensure peaceful co-existence of all stake holders and efficient functioning of the land markets hence the need to undertake this study.
1. 3 Objectives of the study
The main objective of this study is on Assessment Of The Formal Land Market On Housing In Calabar, Cross River State
- To explore the formal settlements in Calabar, Cross River State.
- To establish the type of land tenure system that is prone to informal settlements.
- To evaluate the performance and operation of land markets in Calabar, Cross River State.
- To give recommendations as to how the challenges caused by informal settlements on the land markets can be addressed.
- What are the causes of formal settlements in Calabar, Cross River State?
- What are basic characteristics of these settlements?
- What is the type of land tenure system that is prone to formal settlements?
- What is the performance trend of the land markets in Calabar, Cross River State?
- What are the challenges that have been caused by informal settlements on the performance of the land markets in the parish?
- What recommendations can you suggest to solve such challenges?
Significance of the Study
Continued access to land in urban areas is an important element for continued physical development of the urban space. Lwasa (2006) notes that the exchange or non exchange of land between individuals and individuals and/ or institutions is thus a key element in the development of urban areas. This exchange is also important in influencing the kind of use for an urban space.
These studies suggest that most cities in developing countries suffer from land market distortions caused by poor land development and management policies including poor planning, slow provision of infrastructure and services, poor land information systems, cumbersome and slow land transaction procedures, as well as under regulation of private land development, leading to unplanned development of land in the urban periphery.
Most of the land in Calabar is developed with informal settlements compared to planned settlements. This was confirmed by Pareto (2004) who notes that only 30% of the developments in South-South are formal while the rest can be referred to as informal. This means that land transactions are now taking place in these informal settlements hence the need to carry out a profound study to establish the impact of informal settlements on the general performance of the land markets. This research was intended to establish the relationship that exists between informal settlements and the performance of the land markets. This study was mainly intended to fill this gap.
The study significantly acts as a guide to policy makers, legislators and implementers in formulating all the necessary legal frameworks regarding real estate/land ownership, use and rights appurtenant to it.
It also adds more onto the existing knowledge for reference purposes Assessment Of The Formal Land Market On Housing In Calabar, Cross River State
The study is also a useful source of information for the general public/ stakeholders in real estate and even academicians (students and other researchers)