Monday, September 24, 2012

Fashola to tackle Omo Onile next

The gale of laws to sanitize Lagos will next sweep all ‘omo-oniles’ off the face of the earth (sorry, I got carried away there, insert Lagos). This will be one very popular law when it comes into effect.

In case you don’t know, ‘omo-oniles’ (children of the land owners) are members of the families who sell land in Yoruba land.  There is a long held tradition that requires anyone who buys land from a family to pay the ‘omo-oniles’ a token when laying foundation or otherwise commencing construction work on the land.

In essence, after you have successfully bought the land off the family owning it, the children of the family will emerge when you are laying foundation and demand to be paid a token before you commence any work. In the past what was demanded was so small that people complied without any qualms.

Over the years, this tradition has been bastardised by the ‘omo-oniles’, who have largely become lazy, fraudulent and violent. They have progressively increased the token to a sizeable percentage of the land purchase price. In addition, they show up not only when you are laying foundation, but also when decking, when roofing or carrying out any renovation on your property.

The amount collected from hapless land buyers for laying foundation range from N50,000 to N500,000 depending on the location and size of the land.

Apart from the money they collect from the new land owner, they also collect money from the artisans such as bricklayers and carpenters employed to work on the property. The working implements of those who refuse to yield are seized and some workers are beaten.

Many people have lost their lives in the hands of ‘omo-oniles’ in Lagos and environs. Many others have been forcefully dispossessed of their pieces of land or forcefully relocated to less desirable areas after the ‘omo-oniles’ have collected higher money from another land buyer.

If Fashola can effectively regulate this aspect of Lagos life, as hinted by the Chairman, Lagos State Taskforce on and Special Offences enforcement Unit, Mr. Bayo Sulaiman, recently, many people will applaud him.
It may also be a major step in boosting accommodation in Lagos.

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