Arising Land Scam Questions
My mail box is filled with thousands of mails regarding Land related issues Omonile Lawyer readers are facing and i would attempt to answer most of them. Majority of these questions consists of land purchases gone bad , lands bought without due diligence, people asking me to recommend good lands for them to buy.
Lands that are devoid of wahala or just simply steps to take before they purchase a new land so that they won't fall victim of Land scam artists. Some cases are serious, some pitiful, some down right hilarious and some frightening. Lets take a sneak peek into some of these questions and proffer solutions to them. ( Some names and location have been changed to protect the readers)
Land scam question 1
"Sir, I bought plots of land at Ilamija, Lekki – Epe Express in 2011. Last year, another family came up and removed the signboard that I erected and in last two weeks he sold my land to another person. He did not take into consideration my corner piece, my receipt, the Deed of assignment and land information certificate in process that am having whit me. Pls help me out sir...Kunle"
This is a clear case of Omoniles stealing lands. Its very rampant especially in the Lekki, Ibeju Lekki, Ajah, Ikorodu, Simawa & Samagu Areas where a person buys land validly from a particular Family or Owner and later on a new set of Family members within the same community feigns ignorance of the sale because they were not carried along or renumerated out of the proceeds of the sale.
Their response to this issue is to conduct a lot of illegal activities to forcefully obtain the land from the true owner through the use of violence, mental subjugation, threat to life and excessive demand of money from the owner to repay for the land. Experience has taught me that the people who came to remove the signboard on your land are very much aware of the initial sale to you by the previous seller.
They normally pretend as if they don't know what is happening until money has exchanged hands before they step in and prevent you from working. Its an old Omonile scam i refer to as "Good Cop Bad Cop". The first thing you should do is seek out the person or persons who initially sold the land to you and confront him.
Let him know the land he sold to you is having issues and he should go and sort it out with his buddies. Usually they try to delay the situation and give you uncountable stories to stretch the truth until you are fed up. If he is uncooperative within a week, take his matter to the nearest Police Head division and report him for fraud.
Don't take it to the local police station close to him because he might have people there that are sympathetic to his cause and it would only give you more migraine. It is left to him to return your money or land or relocate you to a better place if he cannot give you back your land.
I also advise people to take advantage of the new Lagos State Properties Protection Law Agency and report this matter to them with your lawyer coupled with all your relevant documents.Your land would be returned back to you if it was fraudulently obtained.
Land scam question 2
"Sir,thanks for your advice. Please, I need more advice. I was located over 160 plots of land to build an estate and i did not build on anyone but waited until the land appreciate before i started selling them.I later found out that someone was selling the land with the cooperation with our state ministry of land.
We the community whom government acquired the land protested against such act in 2007 and the then governor concord with our demand for the government to release over land to the beneficiaries since it has defeated the purpose of which the land was allocated to them.
We went to the land bureau to identify those areas that was affected and we asked us to share our land while their do there paper work. We shard at the measurement of 50/100.
When government gazette came out, we saw that one area which we shared were mostly parts of what we protested was not gazetted or it was not released but the ones shared while almost every one has sold their lands .I have built and many people including those our brothers sold to has built and we have been staying there for over 9, 10 years.
Almost all of use have built there. But some of us don’t have building approval because the ministry of land said the the land belongs to those who own a certificate of occupancy to build estate (c of o ) and those of us without the C of O Who own properties there should buy the land from the person whom government allocated my land to build estate .
Sir, please what is the right step? I am very confused and distraught. Help....Tochukwu!"
The above example is a sad case of not conducting a proper Land verification before purchase. 160 Plots is a lot of land and that's equivalent to 26 Acres of Land. The truth is that by Virtue of the 1978 Land Use Act, all Lands in the state belongs to the Governor.
The Governor through the Land Bureau and Surveyor General's office acquires the lands it needs for development to construct roads, houses, dams, bridges, housing schemes etc. The remaining ones not needed are the ones reverted back to the community or Individual Owners to own either for residential, commercial or Agricultural purposes for their own private use.
Each person that owns that private land or lands must obtain a certificate of occupancy from the Governor to own that land legally. Now with respect to the issue above, from my investigations, it appears the 160 plots you bought has been previously acquired by the Government to establish a Housing Scheme there.
A Land Verification at the appropriate Land agencies would have revealed that it belongs to the government and you would have avoided this problem.
The truth is that the people who sold the land to you have been compensated by the government a long time ago but their greed and wickedness would not let them tell the whole community that money was given to them to acquire those lands that they sold to you.
If you are looking for anyone to hold responsible, it is the people who you bought the lands from. Some of them know about the compensation and know the land "IS NO LONGER UP FOR SALE" but they still go ahead to sell it to people.
Once the government issues a C of O to a person, that person 100% owns the land and has every equitable and legal right to that property above anyone else. If you think the Government forcefully acquired the land from you, you have a legal remedy to sue the government to compensate you.
Also you said the ministry said you should share the land 50/100?? Do you have any documentary evidence where it was adopted by the Land Registry? If you have it then it can aid you in your case. If it was something discussed privately and orally then you can't hold the government over it because civil servants come and go.
Please go back to the seller and investigate properly how they obtained that land to sell to you. Your findings would show that there is foul play somewhere.
Land scam question 3
"Good afternoon sir please what is the standard cost of getting or for processing the deed of assessment. And who’s lawyer is supposed to prepare this document. I bought a land in ota and I was given just the family receipts.
I have asked for the deed of assessment and it’s not forth coming they want me to pay #200,000 before I can give it to me. I thought it’s supposed to be 10% of the amount you purchase the land. I have tried talking to them for my lawyer to prepare this document and they refuse. Please advice me"
Getting a Deed of Assignment done by a Lawyer is 5% of the cost of the land not 10%. Also it is Your own Lawyer that prepares the deed of Assignment not the Seller's own because he/she is representing you not the other way around. The seller's lawyer is loyal to the seller only.
It now depends on the Buyer if he is comfortable using the seller's lawyer to prepare his deeds but to me its not advisable because when problems arise, the Seller's lawyer cannot be loyal to 2 people and fight the seller on your behalf to reclaim your land or money back.
Also you are not entitled to pay any money to get a deed of assignment for a land you have just purchased. Its your alienable right to get it signed and executed by the sellers. The N200,000 they are demanding is just an extortionist ploy to obtain money from you for no just cause.
It has become rampart especially in Lagos to demand that huge sum before they sign your documents. I always advise clients to make sure they engage experienced real estate lawyers to help them negotiate these fees before they pay any sum of Money to the Land owners.
It is because they have received money from you previously that is why they are bluffing and trying to extort you because they know you are desperate for it. Try and get a Lawyer to accompany you and re negotiate the cost. If they refuse to allow you work on your land because you did not pay them for the deed, report them to the police for fraud. Its a ploy to empty your pockets.
Land scam question 4
"I bought a land, I’ve done my foundation to linted. I want to do my roofing and omonile is telling me to pay 60 thousand Naira before I can do my roofing. What should I do? Please advice me"
There is very little you can do about this sir. It has become a very obnoxious and barbaric custom in Lagos whereby owners of Land are blackmailed into payment of various sum of money to lay foundation, construct a fence and to roof the property. Its another form of indirect tax from these omoniles to frustrate you but you can't escape it at this stage.
Ordinarily a way out of it is from the buying stage when they list all the fees you are to pay post transaction and you knock down the fees till its reasonable or you threaten them that you are no longer interested in buying. They would plead with you and restructure the cost.
If you can pay for it then, do it and obtain a receipt from the right source after you have negotiated properly for it. If not look for an influential member of the family, buy him drinks and package something small for him in an envelope and plead with him to beg on your behalf to reduce the fees. In most situations it works.
Land scam question 5
"Pls sir, i bought a plot of land at idowu egba for 1million after doing the foundation, suddenly another owner came that she as bought the land before 6yrs back for 70thousand and Now she want to develop on her land, but the person that sold it for me took me to the oba and the oba say i should pay another 200thousand to him so he can back me, which i did. but now the lady that bought the land formally has taken us to court, pls what are my Chances pls"
This is more of a legal question than Ethics and it boils down to evidence. If the Woman said she bought it 6 years ago, who did she buy it from? What documents does she possess that makes her the true Owner of the land. Did she buy it with the consent of the Oba and other community members or from an Unknown person?
You need to do your own background due diligence to obtain this fact to aid you in court so that you can dispel her claims if need be. On your own part did you buy the land validly from the true owner? Did you get the consent from other family members that they own the land? How did you confirm ownership? Did you conduct any due diligence etc.
As regards the Oba, he is a thief plain and simple. Demanding N200K to distort to support facts is criminal. He wasn't there when the transaction took place now he wants to benefit at the end. Before the case went to court, what steps did he take to support you and give you the land?
That's obtaining under false pretext. You should make the Oba know that for him to go scot free, he must act as a material witness in court on your behalf since you have paid him to do so or report him to the police for fraud.
Land scam question 6
Is this real estate company owned by Adron in Ibeju lekki after free trade zone, is it also a good buy?
Adron Homes to me is a reputable company and has it office at Omole Lagos. I have done so many searches with them and the results have been mixed. I strongly believe the company has good intentions but atimes some of their properties run afoul of bad marketers and agents that try to cover up different issues to effect a sale. The last search i did with them wasn't at Ibeju Lekki but one of their treasure park homes and it turned out to be a good property but i have also had issues with them with respect to how they obtained the documents from the families and the C of O they are processing. It usually turns out inconclusive and i have to knock on their door tirelessly to open up these documents for investigation. There are days we are lucky that everything flows properly and i approve it and times when we meet stiff resistance and i have to shut the transaction down till they comply. All in all, i would advise that you conduct due diligence before you buy any land from them but i rate them as one of the good real estate companies that we can expect something positive at the end of the day if you are lucky.
Land scam question 7
Hello Barrister, I must say you are doing a wonderful job in revealing the scams around land purchase. I recently acquired a plot of land at Cornerstone Estate with PWAN homes. To be honest, something doesn’t sit right with the whole deal.
They are not responsive and I just don’t know. What is your sincere advice on these guys ? I see a lot of people have asked and you have sort of evaded the question. Could you be kind enough to answer this question ?
PWAN Estate is a victim of its own success. They started out well but i guess a lot of bad agents and marketers infiltrated their system. Previously PWAN Estate was regarded as a PERSONA NON GRATA in my office.
Almost all their searches turned out inconclusive because they were unwilling to show us proper documents, how they obtained the lands, their excision processing at the land registry was filled with stories and the documents they intended to give subscribers were dodgy at its best.
When you go to their office you see hundreds of agents there only interested in selling these lands without bothering about the title whether its good or not. Even the lands they showed to people had issues and alot of people complained seriously to me. Early this year i decided to take matters into my own hands and visited their office.
I was able to meet the Manger and told him what was going on in their company and the feed back from subscribers was extremely negative. I told him i have shot down so many transactions from PWAN and would continue to do so until i see signs of improvement.
I was reasonably informed that they did their own in house investigation and found out that they had a lot of people working for them sabotaging their deals and name and a massive restructure was on going.
I explained we hardly had access to documents to verify and the stories were getting too much and i would not allow anybody risk their money to buy their lands if there was no assurance. He told me that they usually opened up all their documents but some people deliberately hid or prevented people from seeing these documents and anytime i had a search i should come directly to them and they would be extremely transparent with me.
I was told they would show me anything i want and if i wasn't satisfied they would do anything to make the subscriber happy. They gave me a Carte Blanche to investigate anything i want concerning PWAN and they would be happy to assist me. I also told them a lot of people have complained to me that they bought lands previously from them but till date they have issues with allocation or documents and they were worried.
They promised that i should refer all complains directly to them and they would sort it out personally. I was told to by pass most of the people giving me stumbling blocks and they would treat their cases urgently. I also got a call from the executive director after that and he promised to sort and handle any issue from subscribers if any and if we want to investigate anything he would give us unfettered access to their documents and tell us how it is.
I found this to be very encouraging because 80% of real estate companies i investigate in Lagos are extremely uncooperative and their motto is " Pay now, ask Questions later". Since then PWAN has improved tremendously and most of the lands i investigate through them since have come out good with the assistance of the Owners.
My advise is that although they sell lands on a plot basis, you must investigate every plot through the right channel and don't pay until you get proper reassurance from the owners not agents or marketers. They also buy these lands from Omoniles and they might not know which land would give them headache and cause you pain but they are willing to do the right thing if it turns out to be defective .
So get in touch with me sir and they would be responsive to you when i link you up with them directly.
Land scam question 8
"Pls i asked someone how much is it going to cost me to obtain Governor Consent & Approval.
He said, i have to pay N30k and 5k for those Staffs that will come and do Examination of d Site as Transport fee.
He said, within Two weeks d consent will ready and i will pay N80k after, and d Approval will Follow it.
What i mean now is Immediately i got d Consent, would the Approval follow?
Hope the person is Real?"
The person has told you the lie of the century and you are just one step away from being scammed in Donald Trump's words "BIGLY". Firstly the only way you can know the cost of your Governor's consent is when you present 4 copies of your deed of assignment and survey plan to the land registry for assessment.
Its your survey plan and the location of the property copupled with a lot of side charges that would make you know how much you are to pay for your governor's consent. If you have put the location here i would have given you a sample estimate. Also you are to present your taxes for the year and taxes of the seller before your consent comes out.
The person who told you that a consent comes out after 2 weeks is Drunk. Even Ambode cannot issue a consent within 30 days because it takes months to process so many things from the validity of the survey plan, obtaining Land Information Certificate, payment of charges and fees, moving from room to room to process it till it gets to the commissioner and finally registration. Minimum it takes 6 months to 1 year minus queries.
So those that told you it takes 2 weeks to get the Consent are planning to use your money to do Sallah and stories would follow it. Any 30k or 5k you are to pay the Alausa staffs to go there to examine the location of the land comes out of the professional fees you are playing the lawyer or Agent representing you. Its not you that should pay it again.
It is after the consent comes out that you can obtain your Building plan approval but these days once proof of payment of the consent fees are evidenced, the approval can come out. So my advise is for you to run away from those crooks. They are not genuine.
Look for credible and experienced people to tell you the truth and help you process it not road side touts.
Land scam question 9
"Hello Lawyer, thanks for the information you are providing. May God bless you. I have a problem, i bought 3 plots of land at Ogombo Village and i perfected my papers by obtaining Governors consent but to my surprise, a company called lekki gardens, fenced my lands trying to build estate there. My land has Global C of O. What is my option now? please advice"
Lekki Gardens???? No comment. My stance against this company is well known since they were involved in the death of over 30 people for failure to follow simple town planning rules and violating the planning laws deceitfully and they are not genuinely remorseful.
I don't like them because they are not genuinely remorseful. If your land falls within the Ogombo global C of O and you have a Governor's consent in place, what are you waiting for? Sue them. I heard about the land grabbing some time back but kept mum but now i know that they violate state laws arbitrarily please go to court to reclaim your land if it truly falls into the valid Ogombo C of O.
Land scam question 10
"I have a parcel of land which i’m paying land use charge on but i’m in the process of getting a deed of assignment after submitting all other documents to the lands registry. Does this confer any rights on me?"
I am abit confused sir as regards the question. Are you asking if the Land Use charge confers title on you? Well a land use charge is a fee every land owner irrespective of proof of ownership must pay to the Government yearly. Government is the owner of all lands and we are its tenants.
So see the Land Use charge as your yearly rent to Government. Ownership legally is only established when you have a C of O or Governor's Consent from the Government. So it doesn't necessary grants you ownership of Land if a dispute arises among 2 people.
Also why have you not gotten you deed of assignment? Its a foolish risk not to have one and i would like to know the documents you submitted to the land registry without a deed of assignment. The deed at least even though it may not be registered gives you the comfort that the land has been transferred to you properly.
Try and get the deed of assignment and if you are financially stable proceed to obtain your C of O.
Land scam question 11
"Good day sir you well done for the great Job that you are doing. But how can I claim my money from Surveyor who sold a government committed land after showing you the survey plan and some other document but the land is under processing"
This complaint is getting very rampant. A surveyor is not a land agent or land owner. Surveyors selling lands are treading a Thin line and looking for wahala. Only very few ones follow the due process. I know what the surveyor did.
He used his position as a surveyor to convince you that he has surveyed the land, conducted due diligence at the surveyor general's office, charted the land and due to his profession and expertise he can validly tell you that the land is a land free from acquisition.
Firstly a good surveyor must give you proof in a written form that he has conducted a physical land search and has charted the land at the land registry. He must show you the coordinates of the land he charted and show you the base map of the land indicating the good and bad sides. If he is now selling the land to you, understand the capacity he is operating under.
Is he the owner of the land or an Agent? The moment he places himself as one, its your duty to hire your own surveyor to conduct due diligence and re chart the coordinates. The selling surveyor would not tell you whether the land is good or not because he is now acting as a seller.
If he used his position as a surveyor to sell a land to convince you to buy, then that a different matter entirely. In the absence of documentary evidence from the surveyor, you should never buy it. Now that he has sold a committed land to you without any remedy, report him to the Nigerian Institute of Surveyors and the police for fraud.
He owes you a duty of care to get things right. I can also bet my last dollar that that surveyor is not a licensed surveyor. He must be a draftsman or one of those quacks claiming to be surveyors. No surveyor worth his onions would sell a COMMITTED LAND to a buyer.
When he was even drafting the survey plan, didn't he see it? Please take action. Also withdraw your documents for processing because it would be queried at the Land registry.
Land scam question 12
"Can I buy a plot of land from U?"
No sir. I don't sell lands for now. I concentrate on Land Verification and transactions because of the conflict of interest involved. I want to be independent and do my job properly for the Buyer. Besides i have been a victim selling and buying for people at the same time previously and it almost landed me in EFCC.
The wahala is too much. I don't bite more than i can chew. When the time comes for me to start selling land i would revise another format to make it easier for me and easier for the seller. But i can recommend you to other agents while i verify the Land they have shown you.
Land scam question 13
"Please sir,i am about to purchase a land at ibese ilaro from shalom shelters solutions.the land is part of others which is to be an estate.we are allowed installmental payment.i need your advice in knowing whether to go ahead with it"
Please read this sir: It answers all your questions as regards buying lands through installments:
Land scam question 14
"Is the land at unilag estate behind magodo authentic? Going for 6M"
Some of those lands advertised for sale are scams. We have conducted searches there and if you buy there you are definitely purchasing a Law suit waiting to happen. The stories from the owners are incoherent at best and the people marketing it are desperate to rip off people's money.
The first time i went there was last year to see the lands in the question. Its a large expanse of land in the midst of built up properties. They claim the land belongs to a specific family selling but these families or owners cannot substantiate it.
Also there is another portion they are selling that falls within the Magodo government scheme itself but they are claiming it belongs to them. Most of the good lands there have been sold and you have to investigate properly to know the good and bad one. Just be very careful before you part with your money. That place is a red hot zone for fraud.
Land scam question 15
YOUR LEGAL ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED, I OWN LAND IN OGUN STATE. I HAVE THE DEEDS OF ASSIGNMENT IN MY
POSSESSION, FROM 2002. MY WIFE WHO IS DECEASED DIED IN 2007. WE STARTED BUILDING A HOUSE BEFORE MY WIFE PASSED ON.
THE LAND LEGALITIES WERE PROCESSED BY MY WIFE'S COUSIN WHO IS A PRACTICING ATTORNEY IN NIGERIA. I WISH NOW TO SELL THE PROPERTY AND LAND BECAUSE OF MY AGE. I WAS MARRIED IN LAGOS AND ALSO IN THE UK TO MY LATE WIFE. WHAT STEPS DO I NEED TO TAKE TO RECLAIM MY PROPERTY AND SELL IT? YOURS SINCERELY"
Do you have copies of the documents that prove ownership of the property to you? Can you trace the Receipt and Deeds of Assignment? Is there a Survey Plan in your name? If you have these accompanying documents then there is no reason for your late wife's cousin to hold on to your property.
Besides can he show proof of purchasing the land? Who did he buy it from? If he is holding your documents because he wants to protect his cousin's interests, as a lawyer he should know the law of succession of property. It has nothing to do with him. From the little you have said, the land validly belongs to you.
You can sell your land even though you are not in possession of the documents. If you can reestablish contact with the original sellers, let them issue you a new receipt, draft a new deed of assignment and make them execute it and obtain a new survey plan.
If your sister's cousin has registered the land in his name, that is fraud and it can be reported to the police for further actions and petition the Nigerian LPC Legal Practice Committee.
Thank you very much for the above questions and please keep your questions coming. Follow me on Twitter @Omonile_Lawyer for more land related solutions or You can email me at email@example.com for more pressing land issues.