Wednesday, 26 December 2012


The costliest place to live in, in Nigeria now apart from Abuja, is Lagos state. Based on the history of the past, we were made to know that it used not to be so. We even heard that there were times in the past, when people were winning houses in Lagos state, irrespective of your tribe. I can attest to that because my uncles won houses in Akerele and another in Festac town and these uncles of mine were Igbos. Till this present that I write this, those houses still belonged to them.

At that time, things were easier and life was beautiful. It was so beautiful you can decide to pack out of the present place you are living or doing your business and move to another one in another location with ease, without the fear of the exorbitant amount of money you will be paying to landlords and agents, as house rents, agent and agreement frees and all those shits they are using now to defraud innocent and stranded persons. My uncle said that before, these were not so as everything was orderly and as much as stressing Lagos has always been, you can still secure an accommodation in the places you desire, so long as you can afford it.

At that time, there were not even many opened estates as you have them now. So it is either you are living in Festac or Ikoyi or Victoria Island or Amukoko, or Surulere, or orile, you know, these places are limited yet, you can always find a place to live within a limited time that you might desire to move from your present location to another of your choice. But now, “you no fit try am”.

Now people don’t move, not because they don’t want to, but because when you think about the huge amount of money you are going to pay out as house rent, agent and agreement fees, the heat it will generate in your groin will tell you to sit down and do something better with your money or your life. Or better still, you can please move into the developing areas of Lagos and go and form local big boy there. And if you are passing through this kind of problem presently, do not blame it on the Yorubas who own most of these houses, but rather blame it on the Igbos. You will have to vent your spleen on the Igbos…na dem spoil Lagos Landlords…Sorry, na we spoil Lagos Landlords. After all I am one of us. Why do I say this? I will tell you.

My uncle said that before, it was not so. It was not hard to secure a new place and even when you are moving into a new location and your money is not complete, the Landlord of the new place you are moving into, will allow you to pack in and within the first two or three months, you can pay the balance. Then, it was only one year house rent and nothing more than that.

Then all of a sudden! We entered into a time when some first set of “Nwa-boys” has finished serving their “Ogas” and they have been settled with money…more money than they expected. Most of them rushed straight away and bought cars and rented flats so they can be as large as their masters and be on equal levels. By that time, if they house rent were N100, they will tell the Landlord that they want the house by all means and that they are willing to pay N150 so that you can refund the first N100 to the other tenant who was the first to pay for it.

Initially the Yoruba Landlords were not willing to accept it as they see such as abnormal, but after a while, people began to look at these modest and honest Landlords as fools. So they changed and they started accepting it. The housing business began to boom and so renting & leasing cost skyrocketed. Slowly and slowly, agent fees crept in and finally, agreement fees followed. But the charges was still on the moderate side even when people were beginning to complain that it was abnormal.

The last straw that brought the Lagos house rent over-blown saga came when the “Yahoo-Yahoo” Igbos too began to “hammer”. Remember the Igbos were not the first Yahoo guys to hammer o. The Yorubas had long, long time made money from “Yahoo-Yahoo” and coded the whole stuff and opened companies with their proceeds and kept quite and no one heard anything from anyone. No noise, no boasting at beer parlours, no convoys! Please bear with me…I am not glorifying yahoo-yahoo. I am only telling a story.

But when we the Igbos hammered…wow! Na another stupid things enter the matter. It affected nearly everything in the life of everyone in Lagos. The yahoo-yahoo Igbos where the first set of people to pay for house rents 5years to 10years in advance. Wow! The Yorubas were like “kini ele yi” (na wetin be this). Lots of Igbo yahoo-yahoo guys were competing with “Nwa-boys” who will pay more in advance to Landlords in Lagos that after a while it became the norm. If you then go to a landlord in Lagos, and offer him a one year rent…he will tell you “orie da fue” or “Orie Oda a”. Your head is not correct or it will not be well with you. (I might not be correct with the wordings).

As the more in house payment advance money continued, so also did the rent continue to get higher. So it was no longer just you having to pay in advance, you will have to pay higher too. Till this present time, this finally became the norm. The painful part of this all is that, sometimes a very humble Igbo boy with limited resources will pay for a shop or house rent, another fellow Igbo boy will go behind his back and offer a higher price to the owner of the house and not only that, he will also pay more too in advance, like 3 to 6years in advance. It was terrible!!! Cases of these abounds from mandillas, to idumota. From idumagbo to trade fair, from alaba international to suru-alaba. Its same one igbo guy stabbing another in the back so he can take over his business place or pay more for the rent the other has already paid for.

And the Yorubas were building more houses with these Igbo men’s stupidity. Not only that, one Igbo man will buy a Land, and four to five other Igbos will go behind his back and offer 10 times the amount he is paying for it and this affected the land costs in Lagos state too. This so went bad that you will hear of 8 igbos guys fighting each other because 8 of them had paid for just one same plot of land to a yoruba man and be killing themselves while the seller rakes in millions 10 times for the price of just of piece of land. We try for mumu, no be small.

The Lagos state government tried to curb this madness last year when it introduced one year payment, but the other part of it they could not change or curb is the high cost of same rent. This became a tetrahedral wahala that could not be controlled and now we are entering into a new sphere that is very scary and alarming as the housing issues is forcefully out of the control of the state government and there is nothing anyone can do about it. The Landlords are now charging you One year house rent to an equivalence of what they used to collect in all for three years. That is to say. Now a flat in surulere now goes for N450,000 to N600,000 a year which used to be N150,000 or N200,000 a year because they have been forced to collect only one year. So what they used to charge you for three years, they now charge you same for one year. E gud no be small…

So when next you are complaining of house rent in lagos and the increase of it and the high cost of it and you are an igbo guy like me blaming it on yoruba Landlord, make that your mouth just shut up and check the history of the house rent increment! Our greediness reflects in everything we do.

How many housa men in Lagos are paying N600,000 a year in that same area you are living where you are paying that much….may not more than one or two persons and if you check it, the housa guy is either tied to the government purse or his is a full time money ex-changer with over 1000 boys working for him.

How many Yoruba men are paying N600,000 a year in that same area you are living where you are paying that same much…the answer is ONE or NONE. The rest have gone to Shibiri or Ilogbo to buy land to build their own houses which they also are expecting to rent to another Igbo Boy who will help him pay the money to complete the upstairs of the house. So if you are an igbo man like me and you are reading this and causing Yoruba Landlord….if I hear fim, you go hear wi !!!

Samuel AB