There is this myth that Nigerians can’t buy land in the South East because landowners are allegedly hostile. We use Enugu, the beautiful old Capital City of Eastern Nigeria, as our guide. The old Eastern Region comprises the five states of the Southeast and four states in South-South.

So, is it true that non-Igbos cannot buy land or house in Enugu and, by extension, other cities in the South East?Enugu Metro checks however show that big cities in the Southeast have thousands of buildings bought and owned by non-Igbos. In most of the major cities, land property and houses are allocated, bought and sold without asking where potential buyers come from. One needs to know where and when to find and exploit the opportunities.

Here are seven best ways that non-Igbos have bought land or house in Enugu and other Southeast cities without stress.

The market keeps expanding and getting more sophisticated as aku rue ulo call and diaspora funds pour in.

1.    Fed. Govt. Sites & Services Scheme

Two vast estates, known as Republic Layout, coexist near the upscale Independence Layout. One of them is a federal government estate. The Federal Ministry of Lands and Housing sold the plots in the late 1980s under its Sites and Services Scheme. Expectedly, more than 50 percent of the property went to federal civil servants who were non-Igbos. Many of the owners grabbed the property for future sale at margin. And they have been smiling to the banks. A 1,200m2 plot of land, bought for N20,000 at that time, now sells for N40million and more. Sites and Services Scheme still exists and is proof that non-Igbos can buy land and own houses in the South East.

2.    Old Federal Govt. Residential Buildings

Enugu has commercialized federal institutions and industries pre- and post-independence. The State Government granted the agencies rights of occupancy for vast tracts of real estate. Ready examples are the Nigerian Coal Corporation and the Nigerian Railways. Both corporations developed big estates that were given out to the workers, many of whom were non-Igbos. The Obasanjo Administration used its privatisation policy to sell off these properties under the owner-occupier scheme. Many of the estates thus passed to the hands of Igbos and non-Igbos alike. There is a brisk real estate business that thrives on the sale of land and houses by non-Igbos. And there is a small but growing list of Nigerisns who are retiring to the comfort that Enugu offers. Expectedly, the state of origin of a buyer is a non-issue in buying land or house.

3.    Government Corporate Approvals

Even as late as last year, 2019, the Enugu State Government has continued its policy of giving special approvals for estate land to staff of key federal institutions. The latest is the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Staff Estate at Emene Industrial Layout which the State Government okayed its acquisition. The project is a multimillion solar city estate and is owned by CBN’s Staff Multipurpose Cooperative Society. Needless to add that it will be owned by staff of the agency, a great many of whom may not be Igbos.

4.    State Government Estates

To the best of our knowledge, there is no government policy to sell government developed estates to people with a pre-determined surname. Ministry of Housing and the State Housing Development Corporation were the responsibile agencies for sale of land and houses. The Ministry has been scrapped. Since May 2019, the Corporation has been solely in charge of estate development. The estates are sold on a first-come-first-served basis, and there are dozens of such estates dotted over the Enugu landscape. Check out these estates from the website of ESHDC.

5.    Private Estate land and buildings

In addition to government developed estates, the Enugu State Government routinely partners with private developers to build estates. She also grants Certificates of Occupancy for independent private sector development of estates in Enugu and Nsukka urban areas. Needless to say, many non-Igbos have taken advantage of the opportunity to move into Enugu. They love the quality of life, the serenity, the cost-effective standard of living, and the security. Check out the fast-developing Heliu Estate, and the adjoining Lifestyle and Golf City being developed by Prof. Pat Utomi and partners (after they resolve their current legal troubles, of course).

6.    Land and buildings in the Open Market

In putting together this report, we spoke to a number of real estate developers in Enugu. All of them said the same thing – that they buy property for anyone from anywhere in the world who has the money to pay for it. As you will read from the conclusion below, buying in the open market outside the city center may be where the those who say that non-Igbos cannot buy land or houses in cities of the South East got their “proof.”

7. Executive Discretion

Many of those who got plots of land to build houses in Enugu exploited their “old boy’s network.” They appealed directly to the Governor of the State and got it by the stroke of the pen. The Governor can make anyone a landlord in the Coal City as long as they are not from the moon. This policy fuels arbitrary decisions that disadvantage residents and indigenes. But is is an easy road to land acquisition, and many have taken advantage of it.


It is clear that non-Igbos can buy land and houses in Enugu City. Many non-Igbos actually own landed property in Enugu. Where then did the perception that Igbos do not sell land to “outsiders” come from? Apparently, said one of them, those who have had this experience went far into the hinterland to look for land that they can buy for cheap.

Land, of course, is a very scarce commodity in this landlocked enclave. Many families either do not have or make do with tiny potions after sharing the community of family land. “They don’t have enough for themselves and their children, how much more selling the little they have to outsiders,” one said. “But land is available for anyone who is willing and has the capacity to buy,” he concluded.