INDIVIDUAL PROPERTY HOLDING: A COMPARATIVE STUDY BETWEEN CAMEROON AND NIGERIA.
Property is very important in our society today. Property is held by various groups and the individual is no exception. Generally, lawyers and economists are well acquainted with the prominent role of property not only in the economy of any given jurisdiction but also i t ‘ s Socio-political significance. Despite this awareness,, the activities of the informed groups of the Nigerian and Cameroonian communities do not reflect any serious concern for the prospects of individual property holding. Today, due to modern developments such as population increase, the desire for high living standards, education, introduction of cash economy, individual property holding has gained tremendous grounds. Even though individual property holding is a recent development, i t s evolution can however be traced. The purpose of this research work is therefore aimed at making a comparative study on the individual property holding between Cameroon and Nigeria, tracing i ts development from pre -Colonial era up to present day. i xii The, research will Commence with an examination of the historical background of property holding in both countries prior to the introduction of European statutory land tenure laws. Attempt will be made to define property, the determination of the scope and the method of approach to the research. Material was got by consulting books, newspapers, articles, journals, publications relevant to the field of study. Furthermore, information was got from the Bamenda High Court and Court of Appeal, and the Lands and Survey Office in Bamenda. Some general discussions on the subject were made with some family heads in Bafut. A sketch map has been drawn to locate the position of former West Cameroon, The research considers the classes of property holdings under customary law, like the communal, family and individual holdings. The research reveals that, individual property holding was rare in precolonial era, but it is now the rule and not the exception.. The recent development of individual property holding is due to Socio-economic development in our society. \ xiii The work also examines the present land tenure reforms in Cameroon and Nigeria in general and the individual tenure in particular. It further examines the techniques adopted in fitting the various categories of individual property in these countries into the framework of the present land legislation . The disposition of rights in individual propertywill be discussed. This will be done by examining the quantum of rights acquired by the individual, the restrictions imposed on such rights by the appropriate authorities and the transferability of these rights. Individual rights in property could be transferred in many ways, amongst which are gift, lease, mortgage, sale, bequeath. Finally, the last chapter will draw conclusions from the results arrived at in the preceeding chapters. The nature of the evolution of individual property holding will be considered and recommendations proposed.