Why “Omo Onile”, “Ajagun Gbale” Syndrome Will Persist in Nigeria and How It Should Be Handled – Realtor Max Property CEO
The Omo Onile syndrome, referring to customary landowners in Nigeria, presents a persistent challenge for the real estate industry.
Dr. Michael Adeyemi, CEO of RealtorMax Property Company in Lagos, sheds light on this issue and underscores the need for businesses to navigate it effectively.
He also revealed how he managed the nagging issue while Realtor Max was acquiring the 500 acres Urban Max Estate, located at Owode Egba, just before Obafe area in Ogun State, off Sagamu Interchange. Buyers can pay as little as N1250 daily to get the land.
He added that despite the complexities associated with Omo Onile, it is crucial for land owners and all players in the real estate space to understand and manage this aspect of Nigerian landownership.
The Unyielding Nature of Omo Onile
Dr. Adeyemi acknowledges that the Omo Onile phenomenon cannot be eradicated; it is deeply ingrained in Nigerian landownership practices. These customary landowners demand monetary settlements, regardless of whether the land is government-owned or not. Even when the government allocates land, the involvement of the family is inevitable due to the historical significance of every piece of land. The Omo Onile issue cannot be dismissed or overlooked in Nigeria. To avoid potential chaos and conflicts, it is essential to identify the rightful landowners and make payments accordingly. Dr. Adeyemi advises that all parties involved should be present during payment negotiations to ensure transparency and accountability. While it may not be possible to eliminate Omo Onile, it can be effectively managed.
He explained: First, you can’t get rid of them. They’re like the veins in your neck. Sometimes it aches but you can’t remove it. You have to settle Omo Onile with money, either the land belongs to government or not. When government gives you allocation, you still have go to the family because every land has a history. Even at the point of CofO collection, they will demand for the history of the land, meaning Omo onile issues can’t be pushed aside in Nigeria. look for the rightful owner and pay to the right person otherwise there will be chaos. Remember the man I told you had to re-buy? it was because he paid to a family faction and others later surfaced. So insist on meeting all the parties together before paying. We can’t eradicate Omo onile but of course we can manage them. Now, there are another set of people called ‘ajagun gbale’ (land warriors). Omo onile is different from ‘ajagun gbale’ (land warriors). Omo onile are rightful customary land owners while the latter are mercenaries.
The Significance of Omo Onile in Real Estate Transactions
When purchasing land in Nigeria, it is imperative to engage with the Omo Onile. They are the rightful customary landowners who provide critical documents such as deeds of assignment and family receipts. Furthermore, when registering surveys and obtaining Certificates of Occupancy (CofO), the history of the land, as documented by the Omo Onile, is required. This recognition by the government solidifies the importance of the Omo Onile in the real estate industry. However, it is crucial to differentiate between Omo Onile and “ajagun gbale” (land warriors). The former represents rightful landowners, while the latter are mercenaries hired by families to enforce their claims. Understanding these distinctions is vital for smooth real estate transactions and avoiding conflicts with land warriors.
He added: If you are buying land, you must buy from them they are the one will give you deed of assignment document and family receipts. And when you are going to register your survey and CofO, you will need documents from them that capture the full history of the land which in effect means government recognize the family.
Now when there is a dispute within family, families now hire the people called ‘ajagun gbale’ . These are paid thugs and touts that are put on sites to beat, shoot or kill anybody who comes on top of the land. If you encounter such just go and resolve with family. It’s always issues of money, greed, disunity and politics. It can be managed. As long as customary land owners are recognized by government, these people will exist.
When we were going to buy our 500 acre property in Aje we realized the land belonged to many family branches. so we insisted on seeing all families without exceptions before paying. They all came from different parts of the country and everything was settled smoothly.
RealtorMax’s Unique Approach
RealtorMax, under the leadership of Dr. Adeyemi, aims to distinguish itself through its commitment to quality, sustainability, affordability, integrity, excellence, and timely delivery. The company has specific plans and packages tailored to different projects. While the Aje project has limited units and higher prices, the UrbanMax project offers more flexibility in terms of design and construction options.
The allocation of land in UrbanMax is based on different architectural designs, with separate areas designated for specific structures such as bungalows, commercial buildings, and multi-story residences. Therefore, RealtorMax ensures that buyers are aware of the designated structure for each plot of land during the purchasing process to prevent any future disputes or misunderstandings.
RealtorMax sets an example by prioritizing transparency, inclusivity, and clear communication with all parties involved in real estate transactions. By understanding the significance of Omo Onile, businesses can navigate this complex aspect of Nigerian landownership and build successful, sustainable enterprise.