HOW TO MAKE SURE THAT FAMILY AND FRIENDS YOU TRUST DON’T STEAL THE MONEY YOU SENT FROM ABROAD TO BUY LAND
This kind of Land Scam is aimed at our brothers and sisters abroad who work hard to send money back home to their family members to help them buy land or build houses on their behalf, only to come back home and find that the money they sent back home was either wasted or spent carelessly, and the land or house was never built.
Most of the time, when this kind of family theft happens, the family member who was sent money to help buy land does not end up buying any land. Even if the land was bought, no due diligence was done to make sure it was real, or the description of the land that was given to the person living abroad was very different from what was bought.
I’ve heard people cry when they got home and saw that the land that had been bought for them was in a bush where only monkeys could live. Some people are upset that their families buy very wet land that will cost a lot of money to sand fill. I have also heard that if someone owns one of those kinds of lands, the Omo-oniles will keep taking money out of their pockets through silly community fees that they don’t understand until they give up the land.
If you’ve been a victim of something like this before, I’ll try to help you avoid it happening again. If you’re about to do something like this, use these tips to keep your money safe from family or friends you don’t trust who want to help you with a project.
POINTS TO KEEP YOU SAFE
- Know what you want to buy at all times. Don’t buy land based only on what you see on the Internet. We live in a digital age. Tell the family member to force the vendor or agent to make a video recording of the WHOLE AREA IN QUESTION. Don’t be satisfied with just the Video of the Land. Let them take a video of the surrounding streets, easements, nearby houses or landmarks, etc., so you can decide if you want to buy the place or not. In this case, the first sign of any kind of fraud is not knowing where the land is and what it looks like. I’ve heard a lot of people tell Nigerians living abroad that they should send money to buy land in Nigeria because the country is getting better and better. They tell them about the beautiful houses in Lekki and try to convince them to buy land there. However, the land they want them to buy is in Ibeju Lekki, which is a different area from Lekki itself. The suspicious family member ends up convincing the person abroad to just waste money on a bushy area that won’t change in the next 20 years. Please be firm and know what you want to buy so that your relative doesn’t try to get you to buy something you don’t really need.
- Also, if you want to send money to that family member or friend, you should always use a well-known registered courier who can prove when, where, and how the money was sent and received. Most of the time, people from other countries send random amounts of cash, like $3000 here, $5000 there, etc. There is no proof that these funds were received, which makes it easy for the money to be stolen because there is no record of the money being received. When the person collects the money, always ask for proof that the money was received.
- Remember this: When it comes to land and money for YOUR OWN PERSONAL USE, there’s no such thing as being too polite, staying quiet, or assuming that just because you share the same blood, you’ll let them decide everything. It’s your money and your land or house, so you should have complete control over how it’s spent and how the house turns out. Put yourself in this situation as if you were there to keep an eye on it. Would you wait for your Auntie in another country to tell you how to spend your money? Or aren’t you going to do something about your business? Do not be afraid to ask about your money or how it is being spent at any time. If you don’t say anything, you can be sure that some of your money is moving around in a pepper soup place in Nigeria.
- Another important thing to remember is that you should always bring in people who have nothing to do with the person you sent money to. Tell them you sent money to that person so they can keep an eye on them and give you updates from time to time. If you gave money to your sister, ask a trusted co-worker or friend to check on it and remind her of the day she is going to see the land on your behalf. Even though they don’t know each other well or have a blood pact, they won’t plan behind your back to split the money or use a Cock and Bull story to steal your money.
- Also, talk to a Lawyer and a Surveyor ahead of time about the transaction and let them know what their jobs are. They will handle the transaction legally for you by making sure the land is a good one to buy first, giving you all the legal paperwork, and making a proper survey plan. Trust me, if the lawyer or land surveyor hasn’t been paid or doesn’t know what’s going on, they will scream at the top of their lungs and let you know.
- You should know the date and time of the transaction so that you can be on a conference call with everyone and know what’s going on. Don’t act like you don’t know or say “Uncle Sule” will take care of it. Make sure you talk to all of the parties and the Vendor in person, congratulate them, or promise to take care of any problems when you come. If money hasn’t been sent to the right places, they will tell you, and you’ll be able to figure out where the problem is.
- Make sure that when they buy the land on your behalf, they take physical possession of it by taking pictures and putting themselves in the middle of all the people involved in the deal so that your land can be identified. Before Omo-oniles comes back and says they didn’t get any money, make sure the vendors are there and the set of pictures showing they got the money are there as proof.
- After everything is said and done and the land has been bought and all holes have been closed and your money has not been stolen, please try to put up a small fence or something and put one MAI GUARD there to watch over it until you come. Make sure you do the same thing each time you send money to fence the place. Don’t assume that because the last transaction went well, the next one won’t be stolen by a family member or friend. If you let your guard down, you might come to regret what you did.
To all of our brothers and sisters living abroad who are working hard to give their families a better life, may you never have to deal with bad family members or co-workers who you trust to buy land in Nigeria for you.
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