Everyone’s prayer is to grow old happily and pray for your loved ones to take care of us till we die but this wasn’t the case for this Old woman whose children and their friends colluded to sell her Only property to my client without her consent and put my client in trouble for buying stolen property.
Grab Your popcorn to hear Gist!!!
My client was desirous of buying a property on the mainland and only wanted a property that had either a C of O or the Governor’s consent. This proved to be very difficult to get a good property with a good title until she found one at Shasha near Akowonjo. After inspecting the property physically, she demanded for the title documents and the agents told her it had a C of O. She immediately contacted me to do the follow-up investigation to ascertain the veracity of the claims of the agent, and I was told the following:
- If I am to see the original copy of the Governors consent, my client must pay a 30% deposit to see the document and the owner
- We must pay the squatters on the land before they leave
- That the Land belonged to an Engineer working in Airtel
- That the Engineer bought the land in the name of his grandmother so that his extended family would not kill him when they realize he has properties in Lagos
After listening to all these crappy stories, I challenged all the demands above and explained to them that legally it’s a buyer's right to inspect the title documents first before any payment would be made.
Meanwhile, these Fraudsters didn't know I had already conducted a Silent Search at the land registry and discovered that the seller was a woman contrary to what I was told by these Scammers that it belonged to an Engineer working in Airtel.
The stories and lies were getting too much and I asked them to provide me with the original copy of the Governor’s Consent belonging to the woman I saw at the land registry for sighting unless I would walk away and cancel the search. Immediately, a man claiming to be the family surveyor brought out the Original copy of the Governor's Consent and showed me. I inspected it thoroughly and confirmed it was the original, not a counterfeit version.
The next thing the agents and the alleged sellers gave me was an account number to give my client to pay the ₦9,000,000 Million since I have seen the original copy of the Governors consent.
"I told them it makes no sense to pay money for a property when I have not seen the owner of the property one on one to confirm that she was selling it".
I was told that the people who showed me the original Governor's Consent were her children and she had given them the power of attorney to sell the property at Shasha to my client.
I asked them for a written power of attorney giving them that authority to sell and they told me they would get it for me the next day.
I asked why it was proving difficult to see the owner, they told me the Owner was down with illness and could not engage in any negotiations with anyone for now and that’s why she asked her children to help her sell it so that she could use the money to treat herself comfortably.
I asked them to call the woman so we could talk but they said it wasn’t possible. I asked them to do a video call with the woman to see her at least but I was told the woman did not have a good phone and the network connection was very poor in that area.
I was completely frustrated and I made it clear to them that my client would not be purchasing the property until I can ascertain who owns the property and get her consent to sell. I was told if I was not ready to believe them that they have the power of attorney to act on her behalf then I should tell my Client to go elsewhere to buy a piece of land. I told them that there are many legal issues involved in buying a property without knowing who is selling it.
They told me since I have seen the document, I have seen the land, they have confirmed to me that they are the children of the seller and have the authority to sell, what else am I asking for. I kept quiet and promised to get back to them.
When they left, I started my own investigative work to find out the truth.
I went back to the land and met the squatters. I asked the squatters who their landlord was and they told me it was a lady who gave them the right to stay on the land and she collected rent from them but for the past 3 years, they have not seen the woman. I asked if any of them knew where she was staying and they said she was last located around Oshodi market near the Airforce cantonment.
I took the copy of the document to the area and showed some people if they recognize the face on the Governors consent and some people recognized her as the former iyaloja ( women market leader) of the area. I told them my predicament that some people were trying to sell her property to my client and it was getting increasingly difficult to get hold of the seller.
One man who was watching quietly all along approached me after seeing me questioning people about the woman and introduced himself as an elder in the environment that knows the mama very well. He volunteered to take me to her house behind the market and when I got there I saw this very old woman who had lost her memory on the bed. He told me that was the woman in that Governors consent.
"He said she was a very wealthy woman with many properties in Lagos but when she lost her memory, her children and bad family members stole her documents and began to sell her properties without her consent. The children would give it to fraudulent agents to sell and they would act as the owners. When it is time to sell, they would forge the mama’s signature and collect the money without remitting a dime to her".
When I saw the woman, I realized she had no capacity to enter into any contract talk less of signing a document. She could not even recognize the man who brought me to see her talk less of her children. The man told me to make a copy of the Governors consent with me so that he can take it up with the police to recover the mama’s stolen document before they sell it fraudulently. I quietly left the mama’s house and revealed my findings to my client.
"I just saved her ₦9,000,000 Million Life Savings from going down the drain"
If she had gone ahead to purchase the land without verification, she would have encountered the following:
- Bought a stolen land
- Owned a property with forged signatures
- Being in possession of a stolen Governors Consent ( Very Dangerous)***
- Entered into a contract with a person that was not of sound mind
- Entered into a contract with someone that did not have the capacity to enter into a contract
- If she had built on the land and the right information about the circumstances of the documents and the land came out, the house would most certainly be demolished and the land reverted back to the woman because she did not own the land in the first place. No amount of begging, blackmail, threat, pleading or wahala would change the fact that the land was not properly transferred to my client legally.
- All title documents obtained after the transaction including government obtained documents like taxes, governor’s consent, survey plans, building approvals etc would all be declared null and void, irrelevant, useless and a worst of all a complete waste of money.
The Supreme Court in MacFoy v United Africa Company Limited (West Africa) stated as follows:
“If an act is void, then it is in law a nullity. It is not only bad, but incurably bad. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse.’”
The above quote by the Supreme court would have nailed my client to lose her ₦9,000,000 Million 100% to these fraudsters if she did not go-ahead to conduct due diligence on the land.
- Always investigate every Document given to you relating to land or property. On the face of it everything could check out but behind the scenes, it could turn out to be a farce.
- Always insist on seeing the original documents physically before you pay cash. Once you start hearing stories about why the documents are not available just walk away from the deal unless you could end up in tears tomorrow
- Make sure you physically see who you are dealing with is the original owner and make sure the seller can defend the documents he has. Failure to do so would render you penniless fast.
The lesson to be learned here is to protect your life savings and your children's future so that you don’t dash Omooniles or fraudulent land sellers your hard-earned money.
Contact Omonilelawyer on 07036681104 or 08077943514 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to Conduct a land/property verification on that land or property you intend to buy so as to give you peace of mind unless unless when your money mistakenly enters the hands of these land fraudsters your money is gone for good and it would be too late to correct the mistake.