Kogi landlords like ‘Yahoo’ boys as tenants, residents allege

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A recent Arewa PUNCH investigation has revealed the sad reality of the times we are in the Kogi State housing and property sector.

Among others, it has been revealed that Kogi landlords prefer dealing with Yahoo boys instead of genuine tenants.

A renowned estate manager and property consultant, Hon. Peter Suleiman who also confirmed this fact to Arewa PUNCH decried the rate at which landlords prefer to rent out their houses to tenants who are known for advance fee fraud, (yahoo boys) crime instead of residents who are into genuine businesses.

While speaking with our correspondent on Monday, in Lokoja, Suleiman disclosed that this development is encouraging crime and criminalities in Kogi State.

According to him, many houseowners have hiked the price of their yearly house rent without doing any renovations.

Hon. Suleiman, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Good Trust Estate Management Limited, admonished the State Government to urgently check the excesses of these landlords as their continued exploitation of genuine citizens, he observed, will spell doom for the state.

His words, “It is quite unfortunate that landlords in Lokoja and environs prefer to rent their houses to Yahoo boys instead of law-abiding citizens.

“Just recently, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission apprehended some Yahoo boys in Lokoja. Since they now know that staying in a hotel will expose their nefarious activities, they now prefer renting houses.

“When they approach these landlords, they can pay for a single room or room and parlour self-contained for two or more years at a high amount. Can you imagine that?”

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“Such has the ugly trend become that if you approach these landlords to rent their house, they will open up to you that if you are not a Yahoo boy, they won’t give you their house, because they are not sure if you will be able to pay the next rent.

Also, they will insist that you pay for two years.

“The essence of them insisting on Yahoo boys is because they know that these guys will not stay fully in the house before exiting. What is now the hope of the common man who is into genuine business on the street?” Suleiman queried.

Continuing, he noted, “The actions of these landlords is further promoting cyber fraud. Everybody can not be cyber fraudsters or  Yahoo Yahoo as they all call it.”

Thus, he called on the state government to stem the ugly tide.

“The Kogi State Government should as a matter of urgency come up with a policy to checkmate the excesses of these house owners in Lokoja, and other parts of Kogi State before all our children, including our young generation see advance fee fraud as the best line of making money,” Suleiman stressed.

The property consultant also expressed worry over the prevalence of the army of fake house agents now operating in the state.

According to him, “These fake house agents masquerading around are the people deceiving these landlords by bringing Yahoo boys who will pay heavily for house rent. Kogi State is a civil servant state and does not deserve this level of exploitation amidst this harsh economy.

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“Recently, I was managing one house, and the landlord called me that he had increased his rent from N150,000 to N600,000,” he narrated to Arewa PUNCH.

“I now asked for the reasons for this sudden increase when there is no new renovation in the house. But he told me openly that, in the next compound, an agent brought some boys that paid N700,000 for house rent. As such, do I expect him to still remain with the old price?

“This is barbaric, satanic, and should be stopped. If not urgently addressed, Kogi State will be snowballing into a hub of cyber fraud simply because of the mindset of landlords who are in this category and want to amass quick wealth for themselves without considering the implications,” Suleiman pointed out further.

Meanwhile, Lokoja-based journalist Fredrick Odimayo concurs with Suleiman as he too also attributed the high cost of rent in Lokoja to the robust influence Yahoo boys exert on landlords.

In the estimation of the journalist, “Since they have the money to pay whatever amount demanded, coupled with the fact that the past administration of Alhaji Yayaha Bello did not embark on a mass housing project.across the state.”

Arewa PUNCH reports that since the creation of the state in 1991, every successive administration that ruled the state had made mass housing projects, one of the cardinal points of focus of their governments.

Not a few housing sector analysts who spoke with our correspondent readily noted that the Bello administration was the only one when compared to others before him that did not bridge the housing deficit in the state.

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They added that the implication of this is what has made houses grossly inadequate within the Lokoja metropolis.

According to Odimayo, “A one-bedroom self-contained apartment currently goes for N200,000 per annum and a three-bedroom flat goes for between N300,000 and N400,000

“However, this is a chicken change to the Yahoo boys as they are ever ready to part with such amount and even more,” he disclosed.

But Jimoh Otuoze, a Lokoja landlord, would not agree totally with the view that landlords’ preference for Yahoo boys is the reason for the high rate of house rent in the state.

Rather, he attributed the high cost to the astronomical increase in the cost of building materials, ranging from cement and roofing sheets to electrical, plumbing materials, and other materials used for housing construction.

Aside from the high cost of building materials,  Otuoze too stressed that the inability of the immediate past administration to embark on mass housing projects contributed largely to the housing deficit being experienced in the state.


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