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Contesting for space in an urban centre: The Omo Onile Syndrome in Lagos

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the subject of land ownership in historical perspective. The Omo Oniles are the rightful and legitimate owners of a given piece of land or the indigenous landowners in a given community. Omo Onile syndrome in Lagos is rooted in Yoruba land tenure system, shaped by the dynamics of inter-group relations at the early stage of Lagos history and modified later by the British idea of private ownership in a rapidly changing urban environment. The Awori subgroup has laid primordial claims to Lagos on the basis of being the first arrivals. In Lagos and Accra, the co-existence of the Western notion of private ownership with the indigenous system of land control and administration has created tension. Omo Oniles have perfected the art of exploiting the village excision clause in the Land Use Act, which gives them control over their settlements and the immediate environment to their own advantage.

Keywords: Accra; Awori; British; Lagos; Land Use Act; Omo Onile syndrome; urban; Yoruba



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