Another effect of Land Use Act over Acquisition and Ownership on Traditional Land Tenure System is the quantum of interest enjoyable by a holder of right of occupancy. This is premised on the fact that the courts had not been certain on the quantum of the interest enjoyed by the beneficial owner. Thus, in CHIROMA V. SUWA 10, OGUNDARE JCA stated: that a certificate of occupancy creates a term of years absolute or a lease for number of years stated.

While in OZUNGWA V. GBISHE 11, ANIAGOLU JSC differently put that a right of occupancy under the Land Tenure Law, and a portion, by virtue of S.48 of the Land Use Act, represents “the nearest equivalent to the right of ownership as obtained in the Southern part of Nigeria”.

The courts have also held the view that the beneficial owner is entitled to interest for an indefinite period based on SS. 34 & 36 of the Act dealing with deemed right of occupancy. Thus, in Savana Bank Ltd and Anor V. Ajilo & Anor 12, the Supreme Court held that indefinite duration of tenure is not inconsistent with the Act, the Governor while issuing a certificate of occupancy under S. 9(1)(b) or (c) to applicants under SS:34 and 36 to confirm a deemed right of occupancy could grant an indefinite duration, as the, “holder” had such tenure before the Land Use Act.

The effort of Juristic authorities cannot be left unmentioned in this quest to determine the quantum of interest conferred on a beneficial owner. PROF. OMOTALA asserts that ….. a right of occupancy is a hybrid form of rights, something between personal and proprietary right. PROF. UMOZULIKE opined that a beneficial owner has the right to occupy and use land without making reference to the duration of time.

From the foregoing therefore, it is clear that there is no certain quantum of interest conferred on the beneficial owner, since it is noted that an indefinite period is specifically held or fixed, though the state land law has provided for 99 years, it is only practicable as expressed in a conveyance agreement.

This conflicting opinion about the quantum of interest could only avail us the opportunity to wait for our Supreme Court to come out with a specifically general quantum of interest, which a beneficial owner is entitled to enjoy. Till then, the quantum of interest conferred on a beneficial owner in Nigeria remains an impediment to land ownership.
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