Collecting commission and agreement fees from intend tenants, is unlawful and unacceptable. We see this acts as exploitations, deception and wickedness, we call on the appropriate authority to look into this practices as a matter of urgency.
Ikpe: Good morning my dear friend
Ekpe: Good morning ooooo! How was your night (on the move as he was responding to his friend’s greetings?)
Ikpe: My friend! You seem to be in hurry! I hope all is well this morning. Are you running to the station to catch a train?
Ekpe: Please my friend, don’t mind me. I want to quickly see someone I had an appointment with this morning and I don’t want to miss the person.
Ikpe: We were together last night and I can’t remember you telling me of any appointment with someone this morning.
Ekpe: I am very sorry for that and please let me go quickly.
Ikpe: No problem! I was going to your house to listen to the morning news. Since we are retired from Nigeria Railway Corporation, we always listen to the news together almost every morning.
Ekpe: My son is at home, he will put on the radio for you. I will not waste time with the person I want to see.
Ikpe: Ekpe, I thought, I’m your only best friend in this town, after spending 34 years together in Nigerian Railway Corporation and you are running to somewhere with the speed of someone escaping from the arrest of Anti- Special Squad that replaced the notorious SARS. Your friend is not aware of the place you are going and if something terrible happened to you, I will be forced to be looking after your wife and children.
Ekpe: Ikpe! I never say you are not my best friend. I’m going for a business deal with this person and I will come back within 30 minutes.
Ikpe: And, is your new business partner can’t be introduced to me as your right-hand man of many years.
Ekpe: My friend, I must confess. Is like someone send you after me this morning because you are delaying me from rushing to I’m heading.
Ikpe: No problem. Nobody sent me to prevent your rush. But one thing is for sure. Every secret move would one day come to light.
Ekpe: I have asked you before, if someone sent you to me, this morning, to put sand in my garri.
Ikpe: My brother, before I let you go. I must advise you as your friend. Be very careful in your dealings, you have refused to share with me. And now, you were asking me, if I want to put sand in your garri. I’m going back to my house. But, there was this event that happened when we were was growing up. And I always use the incident to console myself, when a situation like that occurs.
Ekpe: What does that your growing story has to do with me?
Ikpe: Nothing! But it has to do with everybody. just listen to my story.
Ekpe: Okay! If that would make you happy this morning.
Ikpe: There was a very good friend of mine then, nicknamed Robin Hood. Because no woman passes him, he will desire to date the person. He was staying in the North, until they came back home as a result of killings in the region. As we were in the village, moving around like sheep without shepherds. Any lady that enters our town, we compete with each other, who to wow the person. One day, a lady who is also based in the North came to her grandmother’s place. As usual, we rushed the lady, like where lion rushes its prey.
Ekpe: I hope your story will not take the whole day.
Ikpe: It will take long, if you keep on interrupting me.
Ekpe: Radio Nigeria!
Ikpe: Wooing new ladies in the town as like fun and way of life for the boys in the village then. We went for the lady and visiting her house. Sometimes we will accompany her to the stream to fetch water. We will also carry their jerry cans, to assist to get water. None of us do fetch water in our houses, because we believe big boys don’t carry jerry cans on their heads. Also, we follow the lady to go to the farm to fetch firewood for her grandmother. Just to win the lady but she refused our advances, later accepted Robin Hood, who always speaks the Hausa Language to her. The lady likes speaking Hausa with my friend.
Ekpe: My friend, don’t forget I have an appointment to catch up with?
Ikpe: Unfortunate for all the boys going after the lady, Robin Hood was able to woo her. She fell for him. Ask me, how does he achieve such fate over us?
Ekpe: Is your story! How would I know!
Ikpe: Robin Hood defeated us with his understanding of the Hausa language. One day, he was speaking Hausa to the lady and her grandmother was watching our faces that, we are not comfortable with them speaking the language, we don’t understand. The lady grandmother called us by the side and advised us to be patience with our friend and her granddaughter.
Ekpe: God will forgive you if I miss my appointment! And I hope this story is not leading to what I’m thinking!
Ikpe: I don’t know what you thinking. As I was saying, all three of us were not happy with Robin Hood for winning the girl’s heart with the language we don’t understand. Then, we all stopped talking to him or related to him as friends. we heed to the lady grandmother’s advice, that the Hausa language her granddaughter and our friend always speak, will one day be translated to the Igbo language and we all will hear all they have been discussing in the Hausa language for a long time.
Ekpe: But my friend, you haven’t told me what brought about this your Mike Ijeagha story this morning.
Ikpe: You’ll find out later. Just keeping on listening. Not too long. One Sunday morning, I was heading to church, I saw crowd at Robin Hood’s compound. As a friend, I need to find out what was happening. Getting closer to the place, I sighted the Hausa speaking lady standing straight like a palm tree, with her grandmother, arguing with my friend’s parents. I went further, I saw my friend, stood like a duck, they poured hot water.
Ekpe: My brother, you never stop amusing me.
Ikpe: Listen first! In that place, my friend’s parents asked him, do he know the girl. He said yes and it only was ones, he sleeps with the lady. The lady, behind her grandmother, was running her mouth like a parrot in a cage. ‘Robin! my god would punish you. We did it in the brush! in your room! In uncle Eke’s uncompleted building.
Ekpe: Hahahahah! You will never kill me!
Ikpe: I believe! You understand my story now. What two of them were speaking in the Hausa language was translated into clear Igbo language. Not in the hiding place but in the general public.
Ekpe: Must I tell you everything, I am doing.
Ikpe: I never say so. I’m going home.
Ekpe: Don’t go yet!
Ikpe: No problem. Go, so you will come back in time.
Ekpe: Are you angry with me?
Ikpe: I will never be angry with you. You are a very good friend. I will never forget all the good times, we had in the railway corporation.
Ekpe: Okay! Mmh! There was this man who comes into the town and he needs accommodation. I spoke with Chief Kanu about it and he called me this morning. That there is vacancy accommodation in his house.
Ikpe: Are you now, a house agent.
Ekpe: It is not about being a house agent. But to make money through collecting the commission and agreement fees from the man.
Ikpe: Why would you collect commission and agreement fees from the man who is looking for accommodation? You are very wrong my friend. you are to get your commission fees from the landlord whom you helped to get a client. It is the landlord who pays you the commission fee, for bringing someone to rent his house.
Ekpe: Nooooooo! Please don’t go there! In Nigeria, the person who is renting the accommodation pays the commission and agreement fees to the agent.
Ikpe: My brother, that’s exploitation and wrong practices. In the business world, when you bring clients or customers, the owner of the goods or services, pays the agents the commissions. The owner pays the commission from the money, paid to him or her. It also applied to the accommodation renting too. Let me ask you when somebody buys land, do they as well pay commission or agreement to the agent who introduced them to the land or landowners? No! they don’t. Rather, if you buy land through an agent, the landowner pays the commission fees him or her. If you are paying for land, you are requested to bring someone who will stand as your witness and the person will sign in the agreement documents provided by the land buyer.
Ekpe: I know very well of the land deals, because I have sold all the lands my father left for us as the first son in the family.
Ikpe: My good friend! then, what is the difference between buying land and renting accommodation? That required people to exploit their fellow in the name of renting accommodation.
Ekpe: I asked you early if you want to put sand in my garri. I have already planned what to do with the money I will get from the business and you are here, telling me about international practices. This is Nigeria, where anything goes and international practices exist in the international book.
Ikpe: I’m telling you the practices all over the world. It is only a wicked country, everything goes. our government doesn’t see anything wrong with people been exploited every day in my country.
Ekpe: Every agent does it and that’s why many people are going into agent work. Even, lawyers have abandoned their legal job to go into property agents. I heard in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and other cities, all the lawyers there are property agents.
Ikpe: As my good friend, I should tell you the truth. Have you asked yourself, what the meanings of commission and agreement are? Google is your friend. the commission fees is an amount of money that is paid for selling goods or services. It is not the amount of money the client or customer paid to you for the good or service they acquired or rendered. Have you heard that someone paid a commission for acquiring land? Capital NO! rather the owner of the land, you assisted to sell, gives you commission for bringing someone. If the payer wishes, the person gives you what he or she wants. So, therefore, it is a very wrong practice to collect commission fees from the person paying for accommodation. The landlord is to pay the agent commission for assisting in giving out the accommodation.
Ekpe: My brother! You should be in university lecturing, than coming to lectures me on what only exist in the book and is not practicable in Nigeria.
Ikpe: On the agreement fees! I don’t know how that one becomes a money-spinning machine for the agents. An agreement is a settlement between two or more people. Asking Nigerians paying agreement fees is unlawful and an act of exploitation. When I was in the United Arab Emirates, no agent requested commission or agreement fees in getting accommodation for me. Or would I say that in all the places I rented apartments, nobody asked me to pay commission or agreement? When I made the payment, they brought an agreement document, which I signed and they too signed. Nobody asked me to pay any kobo for the agreement and I have also made inquiries from other countries of the world, they don’t understand how people paid for commission or agreement fees for accommodation.
Ekpe: That’s was aboard!
Ikpe: Aboard or not! There are high levels of wickedness in the land just for the sake of making money. Are you aware some agent does ask of electricity bill advance payment? And if care is not taken, they will be asking of suck away clearing advance payment, coming back late to house payment advance. Security dues payment in advance and on. That’s how the start is. Today are told to pay caution fees, refuse fees.
Ekpe: Government should do something about it.
Ikpe: I must not forget former Lagos state governors, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode, made efforts in reducing the during of rent in the state, from two to three years payment to one year. While other southern states live at the mercy of the agents and property owners.
Ekpe: You are not the only Nigerian that went to Cambridge University. Many educated people in Nigeria pay the commission and agreement fees. I don’t see any big deal about it.
Ikpe: You don’t need to see any big deal about it because you and your co-fraudsters are benefiting from the unlawful practices. The educated Nigerians paying for it, are doing that as an act of ignorance. It is only in Nigeria, you will see educated illiterates. people who just follow trends without questioning the action behind unlawful practices.
Ekpe: My brother, you should blame me because I don’t start and governments are not doing anything about it. Are you telling me that government is not aware of such practices and kept quiet about them? You want to be the one to put a stop to it.
Ikpe: You are right and correct. The government is not helping the matter. And I am not blaming them because the change begins with you and I. Let each one of us begin to do the right thing when we have the opportunity.
Ekpe: My brother, the Federal Housing Estate along the Uzuakoli road, built under the Minister of Housing and Roads, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, a bungalow is N11 million and two-room detached goes for N6 million in a town where lands are sold for N300,000. If I have N6 million, I will build a storey building of about 8 flats.
Ikpe: You are correct on your observation. You and I know that the government of the days doesn’t have the interest of the people at heart. However, that doesn’t mean that the citizens should contribute to acts of wickedness against each other.
Ekpe: All, your story is that I shouldn’t go ahead with my agent business deal.
Ikpe: I don’t say so, but I’m trying to let you know the level of an act of wickedness in the land and the government wouldn’t do everything for the people. Are you aware that in some of the Northern region states, property owners still collect six months and nobody asked you to pay commission or agreement fees? A friend who was transferred to Adamawa state got three bedroom flat in Yola, the capital city, for less than N100, 000.
Ekpe: Let go to my house. I have fresh palm wine, I brought this morning. I have heard what you said.
Ikpe: Are you not seeing the person again? Please go and call me when you are back.
Ekpe: Leave that one and let go home.