Every day, intending land buyers have the opportunity to learn new information about intricacies of land scams and escape being victims, yet many fail to take advantage of it. They are afraid, assuming they know it all, reluctant to ask for advice and request for land verification exercise. They fail to ask professional advice and they end up making “the stupid mistake”.
The activities of land scammers have continued unabated and nothing has been done to checkmate them. As the day goes by, they continue to develop new skills and schemes to defraud unsuspecting land buyers. Their primary target is nothing, but your hard earned money. Taking advantage of your pure and deep ignorance on land issues. You must realize that, they are in a desperate pursuit of survival; they have no means other than to feed on your emotional attachment to properties and lands.
For years, I have been warning people never to buy property without a proper land verification exercise .For those that are obedient ,they have nothing to worry about, and for those that assumed they know it all , who eventually became victims , are now living in nightmares.
Recently I got a call from a client asking me how much is it to do a survey for 2 plots of land in Okun Ajah.As a professional ,feeling the need to probe further, I asked him to give an idea of what exactly he is about to do. He said, he is about to buy the land and the land seller (omonile) suggested that they can allow him do the survey using their omoonile(seller) surveyor and thereafter, verify the land in government agency.After that, when he is convinced that the land is genuine, then he can pay for the land. Then I explained to him, that when buying lands or properties here in Lagos, he needs to verify the ownership and also to verify the status of the land with government. The first one can be handled by an experienced property lawyer and the second by a registered surveyor. And I emphasized that, given the prevalent land scams in Lagos, it is risky to let seller (omooniles) surveyor to prepare his survey documents (he was a little bit repulsive ) and that it is important to ensure he gets value for his money and that how would he know if the size of the land is actually 2 plots and to ensure that he is not been cheated, if his (client) surveyor is not allowed to measure and confirm the land.
After going back and forth, he told me I should assist him only to inspect the land to know whether it is inside government acquisition or it is free from government acquisition ..
On site inspection, the seller came with a survey plan and gazette, bragging that the land is (free) inside Okun Ajah village excision and that he can even show me the extent of Okun Ajah village excision on ground. And that he sold some of the lands in that area and the new buyers have long since processed their titled documents (governor’s consent) .Personally, I don’t get carried away with those stories, I am, in fact, tired of hearing them.
Upon verification, guess what? The land is not only within a government acquired land, it falls within the stretch of land designated for proposed East –West coastal road. The coastal road, estimated to be over 704 kilometers and spanning along the Nigerian coast from Calabar down to Lagos. It passes through nine states— Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Ogun and Lagos .It is expected that the road will pass through about 1000 communities. The East-West Coastal Road will link the Western flank of the Trans-African Highway Network from Lagos to the Eastern axis through Ikom in Cross River State to Mombassa in Kenya.
You can’t just imagine your property situated on a coastal road. It is just like a time bomb that is waiting to explode. When I sent the survey inspection report to him, he can’t just but thank his lucky stars. Thanking me for saving him from losing his hard earned N8million to land scammers.Omooniles are on the look for the unsuspecting land buyers.Land speculators in this area know that there is a proposed coastal road and they are selling off the lands quickly to unsuspecting land buyers. Beware of cheap lands at this time.
Taking a closer look at the survey plan, I noticed the information picked on the site is far way different (about 1.9 kilometers) ,from that written on the survey plan. The survey plan has been deceptively designed to mislead the buyer, such that when you check it in survey department using the fraudulent information written on it, it will indicate that the land is okay. Meanwhile the land is actually seating right inside a coastal road! This is a warning for those intending buyers relying on “FAKE INFORMATION” and “FREE FROM GOVERNMENT ACQUISITION” written on survey plans provided by sellers. Fraudulent land sellers have used and are using still using these tricks, using fake and fraudulent land documents to deceive unsuspecting land buyers. I have seen enormous fake surveys used to illegally process governors consents and C of Os.
And if you have bought a property and it was an omoonile agent or quack surveyor that prepared the survey for you. Sorry, you better order for a land verification to confirm the actual status of that land, before you realize too late, that you have built on a committed land and you have to verify those papers before Lagos state government serves you a demolition letter.
Years back I warned people not to buy lands or properties along Lagos-Badagry expressway, and I also emphasized the need to give a setback when building along an expressway for road expansion because of the proposed Blue Line Rail Project. The Blue Line is a 27 km rail road with thirteen stations from Okokomaiko to Marina. Many didn’t take the warning. Now we are reading about demolition of their buildings in that area. The pictures below are the ugly remains of demolished properties along Lagos-Badagry expressway for the purpose of LAGOS RAIL MASS TRANSIT. Just in case you are in doubt, take a visit to Lagos –Badagry expressway and see the massive demolition of properties along the right of way of the Blue Line Rail Project. It is a devastating nightmare for the owners.
Mr. Folarin N.O is a registered surveyor in private practice in Lagos.