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Customary Land Acquisition

Customary Land Acquisition
Land Acquisition refers to the process by which the State acquires land from its owners.

There are two modes of acquisition provided for under the Land Act 1996 by which the Minister may on behalf of the State acquire both Customary Land and Alienated Land for public purposes, reservation, wildlife and conservation, church and non-government organisations activities, economic and resource development, business and private purposes. 

1.0 Acquisition by agreement 
This land acquisition approach allows the Customary Landowners and Leaseholders to treat with the State. The landowners are given the opportunity to negotiate with the State and the acquisition is done on agreed terms and conditions.

1.1 Acquisition of Customary by agreement. 
To apply for acquisition of customary land, the applicant is required to submit the application in a letter form as it requires brief discussion of the purpose or proposed development which the State ought to knowledge for the purpose of issuance of Instruction for Land Investigation.

The application is lodged with the Departmental Head, the Secretary for his views and directions to the Manager, Customary Land through the Director Land Administration.

When submitting an application a sketch plan of land to be acquired must be attached in order to give the Department of Lands and Physical Planning a guide to identify the locality in which the land is located.

The following process is involved before the land is made available for the intended development.

•  Status check is done to verify the current status of the land. This done to ensure that the land is free from other interests pertaining to the land, such interest may be a Mining Leases, Petroleum Development Licence, logging concession area, protected wildlife habitat area or Forest Management Area.

•  When confirmed to be customary land and free from encumbrances, the Manager Customary Land issues the Land Investigation Instruction Number to the Provincial Administration, Division of Lands where the land is located to conduct Land Investigation and compile a Land Investigation Report.

A lands file is created and Office of the Surveyor General is requested to carry out a Cadastral boundary survey of the customary land to be acquired. However, due to the recent Survey Congress decision to allow private Surveyors to do all field work and Office of the Surveyor General maintains quality and control, we advise the applicant to engage registered private Surveyors to carry out the survey work and lodge the plans for examination, approval and registration of the plan.

•  The Investigation Report upon completion has to be vetted by the Provincial Administrator who is also required to clearly state his recommendation to the Alienability and the report is forwarded to the Manager, Customary Land .

•  Request is made to Provincial Affairs Department with copy of the Land Investigation Report for vetting and issuance of Certificate of Alienability.

•  The Valuer General is requested by the Manager Customary Land to determine the Market Value of the land for outright purchase or annual lease rental.

•  Purchase and Lease documents are prepared and sent to the Provincial Administration where the land located to executed the document with the Landowners.

•  Executed document is returned to Headquarters and Native Land Dealing (NLD) document is prepared and referred to Office of the Surveyor General for registration and issuance of NLD number.

1.2 Acquisition of Private (Freehold) land, Alienated Freehold and State Leasehold Land by Agreement. 
The Minister or his delegated the Secretary, Department of Lands is required to serve notice on the leaseholders informing them of the government intentions to acquire part of or whole of their title land.

The leaseholders are given the opportunity to negotiate with the State through its agent the Department of Lands and Physical Planning and to agree on terms and conditions the State must perform in order for the land to be released.