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Indigenes rush to dispose off family houses to beat recession
‘Why we’re migrating to villages’
From Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
There is a strange development currently holding sway in Ekiti State. It is the fact that some indigenes are selling off their ancestral homes located in the city and other highbrow areas to beat the current economic hardship plaguing the nation.
Investigations by Daily Sun revealed that in such areas as Mathew Street in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Odo-Ado, Ikere, in Ikere Local Government Area, Iworoko and Ifaki in Ekiti North LGA among others, many ancestral homes have been secretly put up for sale so that unsuspecting buyers would not outsmart the owners if the adverts for sale of the property are made public.
When the Reporter got the hint from a resident of one of such areas, he made efforts to contact some estate agents who confirmed the development and took him to some of the homes allegedly put up for sales.
One of the agents, who however craved for anonymity to protect his business, said: “It is true some indigenes have handed their ancestral property to us for sale. Whether they are doing that to beat recession or not remains their own opinion. I cannot categorically confirm that. But I have some properties in several locations in Ado-Ekiti which were recently handed to me to sell. I can show you some of these houses if you are interested.”
Another agent in Odo-Ado, Sunday Ajani (not real name) also confirmed that the recent selling of ancestral property is becoming alarming in the state. He added that although the development might have been caused by rapid development occasioned by modernity coming to some parts of the state due to the road and street lights project that the current government under Governor Ayo Fayose is providing the communities, the recent upsurge in the sale of ancestral homes is disturbing:
“It is true that there is recession and everyone is finding things very difficult economically but the recent up surge in sale of ancestral property in Ekiti is quite disturbing. We cannot really blame those doing it but I would advise them not to sell off their ancestral properties entirely. They may sell parts of it but not the entire property for God’s sake because that is their heritage.”
However, to some residents and indigenes, those selling off their homes in the city to relocate to rural areas where living is relatively cheap, are wise and helping to boost rural development.
Mrs. Alice Aina, said: “Life is simple, interesting, and very warm in the villages. If I have my way, I would relocate to the rural areas and live a quiet, good life but I am stuck here as a civil servant working at the state secretariat.
“I cannot blame people selling off their ancestral homes and relocating to the villages to use the proceeds from the sale to farm and live a quiet , good life. If I am in their shoes, I will gladly do same.”
Many old buildings in areas such as Mathew Street, Odo-Ado and Oke-Ila all in Ado-Ekiti, have since been put up for sale. According to some agents spoken to in an undercover effort, a three-storey building on Mathew Street is currently put up for N25 million. Another building of about 10 rooms, a boys quarters and few shops, built on a full plot on the same street is being currently but secretly offered for sale through an agent for N5 million.
Already some of the properties already bought have been demolished by the buyers who are planning to erect more modern structures on the spots.
“The families putting up the homes for sale are not accepting payment by installments, they want instant, whole payment so the children who inherited the property can share the proceeds all at once,” a resident of the area, Saliu Amuda, told Daily Sun
…Elders condemn selling of family houses
Some elders advised families who have chosen to sell off their houses to cushion the economic hardship, to have a rethink. Chief Odofin Agabi in Iworoko:
“The families who are selling off their family houses because of hardship may have their reasons but it is not a right thing to do. The great forbears who struggled to build the houses left a legacy and wanted such legacies preserved. They would not be happy with their younger generation who sell such property off and that may incur curses on the prodigal generation who sell off the property.”
Pa Babare Aladelokun, a retired mechanic with the Ekiti State Water Corporation some 34 years ago, though agreed that those selling their family houses are justified for doing so considering the precarious situation occasioned by biting economic hardship, but advised that they should not sell off all of the property:
“Things are very hard these days and that is why you see many odd things happening. One of such odd things is the recent development of selling off ancestral homes in the highbrow parts of the state.
“Such property that has become the heritage of the family which every one has identified the family with. It is indeed sad to just wake up one day and sell it off.
“While I would not actually condemn those doing it, I advise they apply wisdom if you must sell your family property to cushion the effect of hardship, don’t sell off everything you have.”
Titilayo Aduloju, a resident said: “Those selling off their family houses are lazy people. They can’t work or are not creative enough to find some other things to do.”
Madam Kikelomo Ajani: a resident of Odo-Ado in Ado-Ekiti: “Why blame them? Things are very hard now. If they sell the ones in the city and relocate to the villages, they can still live and would not suffer in the city. What is the use of a family house that you boast of when you have no means to develop it well to fit modern taste?
“Many of the houses are in bad shape because it has been long they built them. So, if they sell at exorbitant prices to people who would rebuild it to modern taste, why not? That would further beautify the city. And those families would have enough money to get another property in the rural area and live a good life there. It is just a matter of wisdom.”