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How To Avoid Omo-Onile Troubles In Lagos

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How to avoid Omo Onile troubles in Lagos

One of the most significant difficulties you can encounter if you plan to invest in real estate in Lagos State, Nigeria, is dealing with “Omo-Onile” problems. 

Omo-onile or “Children of the landowners” are a group of people in Lagos who assert ‘ownership’ over land and demand (illicit) payment from others who have bought the land and wish to develop it.

Unfortunately, these landowners frequently lack official ownership certificates or titles to the property, which can result in shady business dealings and developer disputes. Land transaction is not easy in Lagos. Hence, it is crucial to have necessary knowledge and take the appropriate precautions to prevent Omo-Onile problems in Lagos. 

In this article, we have compiled all you need to know to avoid Omo-onile troubles in Lagos. Let’s get started. 

Who is an Omo-Onile?

The word “Omo-Onile” is widely used amongst Lagos homebuyers. It refers to a group of people who illegally parade themselves as landowners. Today, their influence is felt across Lagos, Nigeria. Their sense of entitlement is alarming. At any point during the construction of your building, these people can demand payment from you.

It can be when you’re ready to lay the groundwork for construction to begin (foundation fees), or when you’re ready to roof, when you’re ready to install the windows, when you’re ready to put in the plumbing, or when you’re ready to unload the building materials. No one can tell or determine when they’ll stop requesting payment. 

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For a fact, these omo-oniles may be the actual owners of the land. Lands like these have been passed down through families for decades, long before the area sees significant growth. The family eventually decides to sell the land once the surrounding area develops, with factories and suburbs springing up a few miles away.

Most traditional families in the southwest are polygamous, which sets the stage for tensions when one family branch is excluded from selling property. It’s possible that the relegated relatives also possess the land’s original paperwork. 

This is the usual backstory when we read accounts of landowners being ordered to either buy back their property (often at a much higher price than initially paid) or leave it entirely.

How To Avoid Omo-Onile Troubles In Lagos

It’s nearly impossible to stay entirely out of the way of omo-oniles in Lagos, but you can try. The standard advice to keep things under control is to appease the “big man,” but this is rarely enough.

The following steps will reduce Omo-Onile intrusions to the barest minimum or avoid them altogether:

Conduct Some Preliminary Research

Don’t be in a rush to buy land without first learning as much as possible about the property you wish to acquire. Without care, you could be duped into buying land already sold or leased to someone else.

It’s not smart to take the seller at face value without conducting research. Your research ensures that the title to the land you wish to purchase is not disputed by other parties. And in most cases, locals are the best source of information on the land you want to acquire.

You could contact Real Estate Agencies in the neighborhood if you wish. But, with this first step, you can rest assured you’re making steady progress toward victory in your struggle against the Omo Onile.

Ignore Their Offers When You Can

Here’s another practical means of avoiding Omo-Onile troubles in Lagos. You should only buy from real estate developers that can prove they own the land they’re selling you. Though for a slightly higher price than purchasing from Omo-Onile, you can be assured that your property is safe from theft.

Involve the King or Baale

Involving the King or Baale can be an excellent strategy to avoid Omo-Onile problems in Lagos, as they are often respected community leaders who can arbitrate and resolve conflicts. However, it’s still vital to do due diligence and follow appropriate legal procedures to ensure a logical and lawful transaction.

Insist on Genuine Documents

How to avoid Omo Onile troubles in Lagos

If you want to acquire land, ensuring the paperwork is legit before signing anything is in your best interest. You should verify the authenticity of the land title when purchasing a property from an individual or family. This strengthens your position in a legal dispute over the property. Don’t proceed with the transaction if the title documents are missing details or look suspicious.

Ascertain Ownership of Land

How to avoid Omo Onile troubles in Lagos

The buyer would be wise to do their due diligence before investing in any land. You shouldn’t buy land without first verifying its owner. It could belong to the state, or perhaps the paperwork does not belong to the family or individual selling the property.

Record All Financial Dealings

How to avoid Omo Onile troubles in Lagos

Preserving records of all financial dealings is essential for transparency and reference. Ensure the land settler signs the document that records any agreements struck during the process and append your signature too. Don’t agree to anything until you’ve seen it in writing. This way, you have effectively sealed off potential entry points for land-grabbers.

Get a lawyer

How to avoid Omo Onile troubles in Lagos

It’s always best to consult a lawyer before all else. They oversee all legal matters and act as a guide through administrative procedures. Also, an attorney will be in the vanguard to ensure all the pieces fall into place. 

In reality, you can avoid extortion attempts or land disputes by simply working with a Lawyer.

Similarly, after purchasing land, you should enclose it in a fence even if you have no immediate plans to develop it. This prevents fraudsters from squatting on the property and “reselling” it to others, an all too typical occurrence in Lagos.

Essential Documents To Have When Buying Land in Lagos

The following are documents you will require if you’re going to purchase land in Lagos:

Deed of Transfer/Assignment

This evidences the sale and transfer of title to the property from one person to another. If you’re buying land from a seller who bought it from someone else, you should get a copy of their title insurance policy.

The deed of Assignment includes the information that should be found separately in a payment receipt, the epitome of the title, and an abstract of the title.

Certificate of Occupancy

This is a must-have for real estate documentation in Nigeria. It proves the legitimate owner of any piece of property in the country. 

For lands in rural areas, you’ll need this to prove that your local government chairman has granted a customary right of occupancy. But, of course, you’ll also need it if it’s a statutory right of occupancy. 

Recognized Survey Plan

To buy land in Lagos, you should also inquire about a copy of the approved survey plan. This shows the property’s exact borders, who the legal owners are, and whether or not the site is part of a government-owned or -committed area.

Certified Agreement

Assenting to the estate distribution frees the personal representatives from further responsibility for the deceased’s property. When a deceased person’s estate owns the land, the buyer must obtain valid and adequately executed consent from personal representatives. He must also confirm whether or not letters of probate or administration have been issued.

Sale and Purchase Agreement

This contains all the terms, conditions, and stipulations of the agreement between both parties to the land agreement. In addition, the negotiated price would also be included.

The Mother Deed

The property’s chain of ownership can be traced back to the Mother Deed. Banks typically request this form whenever a buyer pays a mortgage on a piece of real estate. And for assistance, you may reach out to your local authorities.

Building Approval Plan

Construction cannot begin until the builder has obtained all permits required by the Master Plan, the Building Bylaws, and the relevant Local Body Acts. This sanction has two components: The Building Plan and Layout Approval.

First-time homebuyers often do not check to see if the builder complies with both before purchasing a property. However, spot checks from local authorities are prevalent in newer structures, and failing to comply with the terms and conditions could have unfavorable consequences.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Buying Land In Lagos, Nigeria

The following are common blunders real estate investors will likely make if they buy for the first time. You should check them out to remain safe:

Investing in a Land Beyond Your Means

Forget excitement; consider your budget before settling for land. Count your cost and determine what you can afford—without going flat broke.

It’s a rocky start to land ownership if you go to an inspection and fall in love with land you can barely afford. If you don’t put the things on your want list ahead of what you need, or if you’re set on getting everything you want in a single store, you may spend more than you intend. Be focused while also remaining flexible.

You’ll have a hard time if you’re trying to buy land but can’t afford the monthly mortgage payments. Mortgage costs shouldn’t exceed twenty percent of your gross monthly income. That ratio should be much lower if you have lots of other debt. Don’t base your estimates on what you think you’ll make in the future but on what you’re making now.

Forgoing Land Inspection

A significant error made when purchasing land in Lagos is skipping the land examination. You don’t just need to strive to get the land documents alone. It’s crucial to carefully check the property for liens, encumbrances, and other potential legal problems. 

Avoiding this step now could result in expensive surprises later. Therefore, before finalizing any land purchase, always do your background check and talk with experts. Land buyers must carefully inspect the land. 

Paying Without Thinking Ahead

Buying land is a significant investment, so it is wise to consider how to build equity. Preparation is vital if you plan to make a long-term commitment. Your first land may not be your forever-home, but it is good to plan for the future to get what works for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring in the military to prevent problems with Omo-Onile in Lagos?

This is a major issue. It is not a viable solution to stop the Omo-Onile problems in Lagos by having the military on the scene. Adherence to ethical and legal standards is crucial, and security professionals should only be used as a last resort.

To prevent Omo-Onile problems in Lagos, can I involve the King or Baale?

Involving the King or Baale, frequently regarded as respected community leaders capable of mediating and resolving disputes, can be a valuable strategy to prevent Omo-Onile issues in Lagos. However, to ensure hitch-free and lawful transactions, sufficient due diligence must still be done, as well as adherence to the law.

What legal paperwork must I acquire to keep Omo-Onile issues in Lagos at bay?

Legal documentation from the relevant government institutions, including land titles, survey plans, building plans, and permits, is crucial to preventing Omo-Onile issues in Lagos. Therefore, it’s also a good idea to consult a lawyer to check these documents for accuracy.

Final Thoughts

You probably already know how troublesome the Omonile can be if you’re a Lagosian and have no idea what you’re doing regarding real estate.

 Although this problem exists everywhere, it is prevalent in Lagos and needs fixing immediately.

Even after purchasing land, many people still have trouble building on it. Yet this problem disappears once an Omonile is settled. 

If you want to buy land without encountering Omo-Oniles, the above tips are for you. Now, you can take the plunge and purchase land without thinking thrice.

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