The primary piece of legislation governing Nigeria’s modern land tenure is the Nigerian Land Use Act of 1978. The country’s previous land tenure arrangements underwent substantial, if not revolutionary, changes when the law was passed. The law was designed, among other things, to lessen the burden given to the populace by unequal access to land and land resources. Massive and unrestricted citizen access to land and land resources could spur the required economic growth in a country where agricultural and mineral resources play a significant role in the economy.
The goal of the Land Use Act was to lower the high cost of land needed for industrial estates and mechanized agriculture. For these reasons, the law’s placement of land in the hands of the government as a custodian, to hold in trust and administer for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians, gave the impression that land had been nationalized. The Land Use Act created provisions for landowners with customary title to land before the introduction of the act to regularize their title and bring it within the requirements of the legislation because it is well known that the law does not apply retrospectively.
The Yoruba phrase “Omo Onile,” which translates to “landowner,” designates the group of people who held a customary claim to land prior to the passage of the Nigerian Property Use Act of 1978. When attempting to acquire ancestral or customary land, buyers of real estate deal with them. Due to the high cost of living and the hassles that come with renting flats, buyers are now so desperate to own land that they don’t care about the price, location, or documentation problems that come with buying from Omo Onile. In most cases, the terms, conditions, and price may sound enticing, but there are a lot of issues with buying land in Omo Onile. They typically end up being more expensive and very bad for the buyer for the following reasons:
The families or individuals who bought from the families are the owners of the Omo Onile lands. The key is that until they sell the home, buyers must remain cautious and keep a positive relationship with the vendor. It is challenging to identify the true or original owner of the land because of a lack of accurate documents. This makes it possible for scammers and impostors to defraud property buyers and so conduct fraud.
The majority of Omo Onile lands have some sort of problem with them, such as family disputes, land disputes, selling someone else’s land, buying government-owned land, and many others. Both legal and illegal fees, such as survey fees, legal fees, agency fees, Omo Onile signing fees, foundation fees, lintel level/roofing prices, drainage fees, electricity fees, settlement fees, etc., must be paid by the buyer. Even after all fees and levies have been paid, there is no guarantee of the property’s protection or security because trespassers and land squatters could still intrude on it.
Purchasers of real estate must exercise extreme caution up until the building is finished since any neglect could result in the sale of the property by unidentified criminals.
In light of the aforementioned, buying land from Omo Onile is a high-risk endeavor for land buyers.
It is advised that they speak with registered real estate practitioners who have a solid reputation for professionalism, dependability, integrity, and due diligence in order to feel at ease knowing that the property they bought is legitimate, problem-free, and in compliance with the Land Use Act.
Omonile/ Traditional Land Owners in Igbo Land (Southeastern Nigeria)
This holds true not just for Yoruba-populated areas but also for Igbo-populated areas. The main difference is that since people consistently follow it, it hasn’t created much of a bother. If your agent hasn’t resolved the traditional land owners before you buy a plot of land in Igbo land, South Eastern Nigeria, you will need to do so in order to prevent future issues of land disputes. This depends on the state and their particular core traditions.
Estate lands are always preferable because the owners or estate agents had to have completed all appropriate rites before selling. You will need to settle individuals or elders outside of this. This frequently results in problems that eventually lead to disputes.This is due to the fact that land buyers frequently struggle with the idea of paying off or settling someone they believe is not legally entitled to hold a piece of land. In other cases, they even turn to hiring security to frighten people away, but this rarely resolves the issue because these traditional landowners are difficult to deal with and not the kind of people you want to have a long-term conflict with.
In some places, all that is required to obtain ownership approval is a certain amount of money to be paid to them, a visit to a specific elder with drinks, the fulfillment of certain requirements, or in extremely rare circumstances, the killing or purchase of a goat to appease a particular person or group of people. Other times, it can only be a cock or some other small need. It could also involve making a financial settlement with a person or group of persons. There are always alternatives to using violence, including going through local elders, engaging in dialogue, or negotiating a favorable price, despite the fact that many people have turned this into a scam and demand enormous sums of money under the pretense of having a right to a piece of land or being entitled. Most of the time, using violence to address the problem won’t work since, if the problem isn’t resolved today, you’ll either have to deal with it tomorrow or your kids will. Sometimes, some of them may even turn to evil tactics in an effort to manipulate the consumer or demonstrate their dominance. And in other instances, things grow so bad that critical properties are destroyed or fights break out, which may result in injuries to people or property or, in extremely rare circumstances, even death. And all of these might have been simply prevented from the start.
To avoid unneeded problems and disagreements that could last a lifetime, be sure to ask if a land is free from Omonile or, if it isn’t, if they have been settled. If you are not an indigenous person, the majority of these traditional landowners will go to any lengths to ensure that you respect their traditions and culture.
Facts to note about Omonile -Traditional Land Owners
Here are 17 fundamental things you should know about the land grabbing Omoniles before handing over your hard-earned money to them;
- The phrase “Ogbo na eche agu,” which roughly translates to “the age group that protects the unoccupied place (the forest),” is used to refer to the “Omo Oniles” in Igboland.
- Sometimes they are cruel, strong, and jobless touts! Woe to you if you want to purchase any land or develop any structures in their neighborhood without first settling them. All you need with them is discourse, not an army to annoy them. It will indeed work, but the results will be terrible.
- Omonile don’t admit defeat, they will undoubtedly return for you. If you have kids, put your family first and realize that life is meaningless to these people.
- The omoniles’ antics include selling a single piece of land to several buyers, selling previously sold land to a new buyer after learning that it has increased in value and moving the first buyer to a new location, collecting taxes and fines on previously sold land, selling dispute land to buyers, and more. Because of the numerous problems they have produced for real estate investors, these omoniles are mostly dreaded.
- When they are on the loose, these folks don’t care whether it suddenly becomes night.
- Due to the annoyances and threats they bring to the serenity of the populace and investors, state governments have recently taken steps to find a long-term solution to stop the illegal acts of these dishonest individuals known as Omonile on commercial enterprises.
- In order to implement state government and private property rights in the state, the state government has taken it upon itself to enforce its land rights and to cooperate with all security agencies.
- The Omoniles are human beings, just like you and I, with flesh and blood coursing through their veins, so they shouldn’t be feared. Instead, you should make an effort to comprehend them and what drives them. You would know how to cope with them if you do this.
- The love of money and omoniles go hand in hand. Omoniles are all utterly driven by money and materialism. If you have the money, they would be under your control forever.
- The omoniles value reverence because they are segregated from rural and traditional communities.
- Omoniles never considered saving any of the land they sold to you for the future. The next thing they think about is getting married to additional women and having as many kids as they can.
- Because of their complicated family structure, omoniles occasionally experience less trouble for each problem they cause.
- When interacting with omoniles, make an effort to appear to be one of them. Play with them, socialize with them, and dine with them if you can.
- When dealing with Omoniles, don’t deal with the father alone; make sure you bring the kids along. Omoniles problems usually begin when the family patriarch passes away.
- When interacting with Omoniles, be aware of and recognize the family’s power brokers (Obas, Baales, Ndi Nze, and Ozo).
- In order to avoid further trouble, ask as many questions as you can when dealing with Omoniles.
- When making payments, be sure to record the entire transaction. Take images of the parties involved, make written agreements, capture videos, and gather receipts.
These few guidelines were just intended to help you avoid being a victim of a land scam.