Navigating the Omo Onile Issue: 4 Effective Strategies for Land Buyers

Omo onile is a popular term across south western Nigeria especially for land owners in Lagos. The love-hate relationship between the land grabbers popularly referred to as omo onile has been ongoing for decades. While they are notoriously popular in  Lagos state,  some cities in the South Western Nigerian are also  experiencing the menace of these miscreants. 

These land grabbers expect You to pay them when you want to start building your house (foundation fees), when you’re about to start roofing the building you are expected to make a payment for that too, there’s also payment for plastering, flooring, Plumbing , window installation and offloading  of building materials.The activities of these group of people have gone unchecked for decades except when met with  serious force.

Omo Onile in Lagos

In Yoruba language, “Omo onile” simply means land owner, which is the actual truth in many cases. These Omo oniles usually (but not in all cases) inherit the lands from their fathers, grandfathers, or ancestors. These lands have been in their families for generations, long before any significant development happened in those areas. When these areas start to develop, with industries and residential areas coming up nearby, the family may decide to sell the lands.

However, there can be problems when the family is polygamous(which is the most common trend in the olden days), and some members get left out in the sale of the land. Sometimes, the family members left out may even be the ones who have the original land documents. In such cases, we hear stories about land owners being asked to buy back their land at a higher price than before or, in some cases, being told to leave the land completely.

Apart from the omo oniles who claim to be original owners of the land, there are also jobless thugs who parade who parade themselves as omo onile. They hide under the guise of being “a a member of the family” or being a Lagos state government representative approved to collect fees. These thugs do nothing but demand exorbitant fees anytime you’re about to get anything done on your land. These guys have taken it as a duty to frustrate hard working Nigerians when engaging their building project.

The menace of the omo onile is not limited to a particular area of Lagos, although you may find them more in some particular areas, they are generally everywhere in Lagos. The areas with the worst hit in Lagos are Ikorodu, Ogudu, Idimu,Ejigbo,Oko Afo in Badagry, Ibafo (this area isn’t entirely Lagos, but a lot of Lagosians live and own property here)

How To Deal with Omo Onile

Avoiding “omo onile” issues in Lagos requires a level of patience, careful consideration and strategic actions. By being cautious, proactive, and strategic, you can minimize the risks associated with “omo onile” troubles and safeguard your property investment.

 Here are some effective ways to handle the situation:

Don’t buy from them

Yes, don’t buy from them.To steer clear of omo onile troubles, it’s best to avoid purchasing land directly from them. Instead, opt for a reputable real estate company who offer verified titles. Although this might be costlier, it guarantees peace of mind as your property remains secure and cannot be resold or taken away.And even in any case of any “wahala” happening, the real estate companies usually have the knowledge and resources to best handle them.

Reach out to the head of the community

If you encounter any problems with “omo oniles” after you’ve bought your land, approach the local community leader, such as the King or Baale. Explain your situation and offer some financial compensation to resolve the matter. The community leader can intervene and ensure that they  do not disturb you again

Engage Force

These thugs and land grabbers often have informants scouting for ongoing projects or new buildings in the area. To protect your interests, consider enlisting the help of security forces like civil defence, military or police. Having them on-site during your project can deter potential disruptions.


In some cases, especially if the land is in a prime location and you face significant challenges, negotiation might be the most viable option. Be prepared to negotiate with the “omo oniles” and find a middle ground to resolve any disputes or issues that arise.

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