Why Nightclubs, Worship Centres, Others Shouldn’t Be in Residential Areas

There has been so much conversation since the recent spate of nightclub police arrests started in Abuja.

Recently, with the help of police and a taskforce team, the Federal Capital Development Administration (FCTA) invaded a popular night club, Caramelo, located at Utako district of Abuja, demolished part of the structure and arrested over 30 nude dancers. A similar raid also followed about a week later.

On their part, The Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Mallam Umar Shuaibu, in a media report, said that operators of the night clubs contravened the law by converting residential buildings for other purposes. Shuaibu said the Department of Development Control had to demolish the fence of the compound as another form of warning to the owners of the club, while the arrested dancers would be handed over to the Social Development Secretariat for rehabilitation.

He said: “It is a flagrant abuse of the city plan and violation of the relevant clause (Viii ) of the building plan approval granted, and clause No.2 (ii) of the letter of Offer of Grant on this plot. The contravening activities will cease henceforth and the allottee will revert the use of the building to the health clinic so designated and approved.”

He further said: “In response to security reports and complaints from the residents of area adjoining the location of Caramelo Night Club on plot 630 Cadastral zone B05, along T.O.S Benson Street, within Utako District , the authority deployed its officers to carry out surveillance in order to validate the complaints.

The outcome of the surveillance revealed that the complaints are genuine and real. The reported complaints include noise nuisance from loud party music, nude/strip dancing club activities, intractable traffic challenge resulting from uncontrolled patronage to the commercial nightclub within the residential precinct.

“You may wish to note that the plot under reference is zoned as health clinic on the Utako District Land use Plan, and in line with this plan, the building plan approval granted was for the development of the health clinic. Accordingly, the property was developed as a health clinic.

However, the use of the building has been changed to a commercial night club.” Shuaibu noted that the authority has repeatedly engaged the operator of Caramelo and other operators across, on the need to quit the operation of night club within residential precinct, to no avail.

He vowed that the administration will not renege on its duty to protect and maintain the sanctity of the Abuja Master Plan, and will continue to ensure that the city remain a safe place for living, working and recreating for all its residents and citizenry.

Also, the Acting Secretary, Social Development Secretariat (SDS), Hajia Safiya Umar, said the owner of the club would be punished according to the law, considering the calibre of girls arrested.

While there were complaints about the security handling of some of the ladies who were arrested, and of which we are also aware that the police has promised to investigate, it is important that businesses and organisations whose activities will pose as a source of discomfort to the environment, especially residential environments abide by the rules.

Apart from clubs, there are also a lot of complaints about the disturbances from churches, mosques and other businesses that cause air and noise pollutions.

According to Shuaibu the council is set to remove lounges and clubs in residential areas to curb the menace of noise pollution in the territory.

He said that they have also ordered the demolition of Lounges located at Kampala Street Cadastral Zone A08, also at Wuse 2 District.

“As a follow-up to this, and in order to ensure inclusionary governance process to address this city management challenges, a meeting was convened on the instruction of the FCTA with majority of the night club operators.

“The operators include Messrs Caramelo Lounge, Utako, Jorany/Passport Lounge, Xtacy Lounge, De Point Lounge, House of Freeda, Neiverder Lounge, and Midnight Lounge all at Wuse 2.

“The meeting was to enlighten the operators on how their lounge/night club activities amount to contravention of the city’s Master Plan.

“Also, the meeting is to discuss the need to revert the use of the premises to its designated residential use,’’ he said.
All concerned bodies are encouraged to be abide by the rule in order to prevent such issues in the future where their properties will have to be demolished.\

By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja

Construction of Ghana’s biggest power bulk supply point begins

Construction of Ghana’s biggest power Bulk Supply Point (BSP) at Pokuase in the Ga West district has commenced. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cut the sod to mark its beginning.

The President described the project as a “major mile stone in the country’s quest to develop a robust, resilient and reliable electricity supply system that is comparable to top quality networks around the world.”

Power bulk supply point

The project aimed at at improving the quality of power supplied to the northern parts of Accra, will be undertaken by a Spanish company, Messrs Elecnor S.A. It is estimated to cost US $33.5m.

According to President Nana the development fell in line with government’s objectives of ensuring reliable supply of power to industry “so as to diversify our economy and help realise our vision of moving Ghana to a situation beyond aid.

“It is the expectation of Government that consumers at all levels would benefit from improved availability, good quality and reliability of supply within the areas that the project would serve,” said his excellency.

Compact Two

Upon completion the set to be fourth bulk supply point in Accra will be one of the major infrastructural projects in the US $498.2m Ghana Power Compact funded by the United States government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, popularly known as Compact Two and implemented by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA)

The 330kv Pokuase BSP is the first among a number of compact-funded interventions that would supply vital infrastructure required to improve the distribution of electric power and to support the realization of the financial and technical turnaround of the operations of the utility power distributor, PDS.

The project would significantly enhance PDS services to customers in Pokusase, Kwabenya, Legon, Nsawam and surrounding towns and villages. Construction works is projected to take 24 months.

“I am informed that there would be reduced outages, cost effective delivery of service and reduced aggregate technical losses, following the addition of the vital input to the assets of our distribution utilities. These are the hallmarks of a country that is in a hurry to develop.” said President Nana Addo Dankwa.

The President urged the contractors working on the project to ensure that Ghana got a well-designed system, comparable to any such facility in the world. The ceremony was jointly performed by the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare; the Ambassador of the United States of America (USA) to Ghana, Ms Stephanie Sullivan, and the Vice-President for Compact Operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Mr Anthony Welcher, at Pokuase.

Source: By Kenneth Mwenda

U.S. housing agency wants new rules to attract mortgages from banks

The Federal Housing Administration announced on Thursday it was seeking to streamline and clarify its rules in a bid to entice traditional banks to rebuild their FHA loan business, as the agency seeks to give consumers a greater choice of lenders.

The FHA provides mortgage insurance on loans created by approved lenders, helping borrowers with less money for down payments or lower credit scores qualify for home loans. The FHA insurance protects the lender in the event of a borrower default.

Some academics and policymakers have expressed concern about the growing presence of nonbank lenders in mortgage lending, such as online lender Quicken Loans, given they are not as strictly regulated and lack a deposit base to help weather downturns.

Traditional banks made a significant exit from the FHA mortgage business in recent years, citing costly and complex rules. But now the FHA said it wants to more clearly explain what lenders and what types of mortgages qualify for its programs in an effort to bring them back.

“We are proposing a new, more transparent, plain-English set of requirements that preserves our enforcement authority without scaring lenders away from doing business with the FHA,” FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery said.

Depository institutions now make up just 13 percent of new FHA loans, with nonbank institutions originating the rest, he said.

According to the FHA, it was estimated in 2018 that one out of every five mortgage loans originated in the United States is an FHA loan. Such loans require a downpayment of only 3.5 percent, compared with the 20 percent required for most conventional mortgages.

Specifically, the FHA is proposing providing more clarity around what a lender needs to do, both in general and on a loan-by-loan basis, to qualify as an FHA-certified lender. The agency also wants to provide more clarity around how it identifies certain loans as defective and how lenders can address those deficiencies.

The FHA had sparred with some large institutions in the past, charging some with misusing the program and obtaining insurance on loans that did not qualify.

Source: By Pete Schroeder

Property stokvel buys its first 5.8ha piece of land

After only launching in May last year with a membership of 30 potential investors, the Rustenburg Property Investment Stokvel has grown to 90 members and has already purchased a 5.8ha piece of land worth R5m that is ready to be serviced.

The property stokvel is the brainchild of investment pundit Lebo Ratema, who brought most of her clients – people that she knew – under one roof to get their buy-in to start investing in property.

“As an investor I have the information and the data. I then talked around most of my friends and people that I knew were interested to put our heads together and create wealth,” explains Ratema.

“Many of my clients had been declined by the banks. Some had made mistakes and had been taken advantage of because of their lack of knowledge and know-how to get into the property investment business.”

Ratema is ecstatic with the progress made as Rustenburg Property Investment Stokvel has grown from 30 to 90 members in less than a year.

Each member holds 100 shares sold to them.

Every member has a choice of three investment options. The first option is over three years, the second over four and the last over five years. If you opt to invest over a three-year period you contribute R5,500 monthly, over four years R4,125 and over five years R3,300.

“We have different voluntary contribution and payment plans to suit every member to be able to purchase shares.

“This is not a one-man initiative. I must emphasise that we have a 10-member-strong committee in charge of running the whole project. All of them have signing powers.”

Ratema said the land they are ready to develop is where they are based, in Rustenburg, but the whole project of servicing the land costs R19m, before the actual building of the housing units.

“The rezoning of the land will be completed within a year as we are now busy with proclamations and servicing the land.

“The development of infrastructure like roads, electricity and water must be factored in.”

Ratema and other stokvel members have been liaising with property experts and property management companies who will help manage the properties.

She said the stokvel is open to everyone who aspires to invest in property.

Ratema warned that the project was not a get-rich-quick scheme but a long-term investment. She said members would start getting dividends from their investment once the first house is sold and would share the profit, depending on the number of shares a member has bought.

“Once the last house has been sold and every member has been given their share dividend, we will dissolve the investment stokvel and start all over again.”


To make Nigeria’s foreign policy significant

As we noted yesterday on this page, the expediency of restructuring Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives today cannot be over-emphasised. But some questions are still germane, in this regard. What is Nigeria’s foreign policy thrust today? What is our national interest? What purpose does our foreign policy serve? The colonial masters who cobbled the diverse people of the West Coast of Africa into today’s Nigeria ostensibly had a motive. According to James Robertson, the last colonial Governor General of Colonial Nigeria who wrote “Sovereign Nigeria” in the African Affairs of 1961, the motive for creating Nigeria was to build a country that would play a significant role in global affairs.

Given the reality that the country is the most populated black nation in the world, it was evidently seen as being tied to the fate of the black race. The inheritors of the scepter of power, going by the rhetoric of the period were deemed moderates but acted in ways that put the country at the vanguard of the defenders of the black race and its interest. It severed diplomatic relations with France over the latter’s testing of the Atomic bomb in the Sahara Desert and also followed a non-aligned position in the charged global environment of ideological contestation between the then Soviet Union and the United States.

Besides, there was indeed an abiding consciousness of an independent country. The clearly articulated anti-colonial goal of freeing the continent from colonial rule demonstrated in the aforementioned struggle against Apartheid South Africa, Portuguese colonial rule in Angola and Mozambique as well as Ian Smith’s gamble in Zimbabwe underscored the country as a veritable black power in the making. In spite of the obvious failing in the international relations of Nigeria, Africans elsewhere easily concede the leadership of the continent to it.

Today, those heroic deeds of the past have faded away and are of no significance due to mis-governance of the country by a warped, self-serving and unpatriotic governing class. Truly, it is difficult to comprehend the country’s foreign policy. It is as though the country had no one and its foreign minister mainly exists to fulfil the virtue of filling up an available cabinet position.

However, we do know that in the prevailing political milieu of cluelessness the extant 1999 Constitution as amended ought to be relevant. Section 19 of the 1999 Constitution fully engrossed the country’s foreign policy objectives thus: “promotion and protection of national interest; promotion of African integration and support of African unity; promotion of international cooperation for consolidation of universal peace and mutual respect among all nations and elimination in all its manifestation; respect for international law and treaty obligations as well as the seeking of settlement of international disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and adjudication and promotion of a just world economic order.”

Despite these fine lines of the basic law, the present administration barely knows what to do with the country’s foreign policy. Diplomatic postings are driven by political considerations rather than the interest of the country. Such warped inclination could explain the posting of an octogenarian to represent the country’s interest in Washington, the confluence of global diplomatic activities. Besides, the anticipated pruning of diplomatic missions betrays lack of understanding of the country’s national interest and the purpose, which diplomatic missions should serve.

National interest is a product of domestic conversation influenced by the external environment. It has to do with those things that are beneficial to the country’s wellbeing, namely, socio-economic and political values. As Paul Seabury once noted, national interest refers to some ideal set of purposes which nation seeks to achieve in the conduct of its foreign relations. Of course these are projected in the international system to be bought by other international actors. This is why Adam Watson defines diplomacy as “a means or process, which helps states to realize their set goals.”

While it is possible to talk about the past, today there is no clearly defined national interest and this is due to harrowing and debilitating contradictions of the Nigerian state, which finds vivid expression in ethnocentric policy output of the present administration.

The prevailing divisive policies of the present wielders of power have rendered inconsequential the provisions of the constitution al a foreign policy goals. Overtime, we have argued for restructuring of the polity to achieve national cohesion. It is important for the country’s capacity to be able to communicate effectively at home and abroad. Without it, the search for a national interest over which our foreign policy would be woven around will remain a fantasy.

It is to be noted that in the past, the protection of our national interest was always the permanent focus of Nigeria’s foreign policy while strategies for its attainment varied according the regime in power. It is not sufficient to have ends in foreign relations but the means to achieve them are equally important.

It is pertinent to note that today Nigeria is not a good brand. Therefore, the country needs to rethink its foreign policy, deploy professional diplomats and experts to achieve its national interest in the international arena. That interest must be re-articulated through a fresh national conversation. Through prioritisation, the means to realise our foreign policy goals would avail much. In the main, the hope of a continental leadership must not be buried on the altar of ineptitude. This is what the authorities in Abuja should bear in mind at this and all time.

Source: The Guardian

Senate confirms Lemo, Rafindadi as FERMA chair, MD

The Senate has confirmed the nominations of Mr Tunde Lemo as the chairman of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and Engr Nurudeen Abdurahaman Rafindada as the Managing Director. The Senate also confirmed six others as Executive Directors of the agency.

Those confirmed were Buba Silas Abdullahi, Babagana Mohammed Aji, Engr Shehu Usman Abdullahi, Lorreta Ngozichukwu Aniagolu, Mujaidu Stanley Dako and Vincent Oladapo Kolawole,

Similarly, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Elias Mbam as the chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

Senators also confirmed the nominations of 29 others as national commissioners of the commission.

Source: By Musa Abdullahi Krishi

Power grid collapses, causes outage across states

The national electricity grid crashed on Wednesday afternoon, significantly reducing bulk power available for distribution across the 11 Distribution Companies (DisCos), Daily Trust reports.

The collapse is coming a day after the national grid rose to 5,114 megawatts (MW) on Tuesday, a feat not reached for over two months.

Although this is the first collapse recorded this month, there are at least two major collapse in April, with one reducing the grid to 180MW. As at Wednesday morning, the grid was 4,212MW before the collapse occurred, a daily report from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said.
Reacting to this, the spokesman of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Oyebode Fadipe said the grid challenge reduced its allocation to 20MW. “In the circumstance, we are unable to service our customers.

We apologise for the inconvenience this may be causing our customers,” it told customers across Kogi, Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger States in a statement. Equally, Kaduna Electric said the collapse of the national grid interrupted power supply in Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states where it operates.

Its head of Corporate Communication, Abdulazeez Abdullahi in a statement said, “At about 2:33PM today, 8 May 2019 the national grid suffered system collapse, consequently, power supply to all our franchise states was interrupted.”

“Normal supply shall be restored as soon as the grid is back up. We regret any inconvenience this may cause all our customers,” it added.

Source: By Simon Echewofun Sunday & Hassan Ibrahim

Hope dims on housing roadmap as Buhari’s 1st tenure nears end

A very robust roadmap on housing was one of the early policies and programmes of the Muhammadu Buhari administration that Nigerians, especially those in the low-income class and still in the housing market, welcomed with high expectations. But as the clock ticks for the end of Buhari’s first tenure, these expectations are waning.

The roadmap, which focuses on home seekers who are in the majority and those who are most vulnerable, places much premium on planning which, the government reasoned, was key to successful execution, requiring a clear understanding of those for whom houses are to be provided.

Nigeria’s housing market is populated by an army of low-income earners which explains the wide housing demand-supply gap estimated at 20 million units. Again, the clan of people considered to be vulnerable – people that are generally incapacitated one way or another – is large in the country.

This was why the roadmap raised much hope, but with a few weeks to the end of Buhari’s first term in office and little or nothing done to cater to this class of people, hope on the roadmap is dimming with each passing day.

“The roadmap was well conceived and conveyed by the minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, but like anything in Nigeria, it is always easier said than done,” said Yemi Madamidola, a real estate manager. “Here, government finds it hard to walk its talk and this is why we don’t get anything done.”

Madamidola noted, however, that since Buhari was coming back for a second term in office, there was need to follow through the roadmap in order to deliver housing to those in that class who would never be able to afford what was on offer in the open market.

Though Johnson Chukwuma, a structural engineer, applauded the roadmap, saying government’s intervention in the housing sector was long overdue, Adetokunbo Ajayi, MD/CEO, Propertygate Development & Investment Company plc, warned that government should trade cautiously with the roadmap.

“Government should avoid the temptation of getting into housing construction in its zeal to accelerate housing delivery. That will lead to regression and breed corruption,” Ajayi advised. “Government should rather focus on helping to build strong housing and mortgage systems with the private sector serving as the engine of execution.”

But Fashola insisted that government must lead the change that was needed in the housing sector, recalling that over the years, Nigeria had embarked on a series of housing initiatives but not one of them had been pursued with consistency or any measurable sustainability.

“We are convinced that this change must be led by government and subsequently driven by the private sector,” Fashola said.

He cited the public housing initiative of the United Kingdom which was started by government in 1918 and, as of 2014, had recorded 64.8 percent of the people who were home-owners.

Fashola also cited Singaporean initiative in housing which, he added, was started by government in 1960 and has provided housing for 80 percent of its people.

He pointed out that what was common to both models was that there was a uniformity of design, a common target to house working class people and not the elite, standardisation of fittings like doors, windows, space, electrical and mechanical, and also a common concept of neighbourhood.

Re-emphasising the focus of the plan on the low-income earners and the most vulnerable, the minister also recognised that there were people who wanted just land to build for themselves, and also those who wanted town houses and duplexes, whether detached or semi-detached.

“But this class of people is not in the majority and so, they are not part of the target of the plan. The people who we must focus on are those in the majority and those who are most vulnerable,” he stressed.


The Journey Leading to Launch of Real Estate Data by REDAN

On the 7th of May 2019, the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) launched the National Real Estate Data Collation and Management Programme (NRE-DCMP), which is designed to help tackle housing problems in Nigeria, including that of deficit.

NRE-DCMP was initiated by REDAN, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company, The German Society for International Cooperation, National Bureau of Statistics, National Population Commission, Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria, World Bank, Growth and Empowerment in States, Pison Housing Company, Building Materials Producers Association of Nigeria, Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria and FESADEB Media to collate property price index nationwide to solve housing problems in the country.

According to the body’s President, Ugochukwu Chime, the data, collated from national land administrators on pre-construction, construction and post construction activities nationwide would be hoisted on the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC)’s website for public usage.

According to a presentation by Dr Michael Mba, who spoke on behalf of the Technical Working Group, the journey began in October 2017 with the programme launch during a national conference to sensitize stakeholders and the public on the programme.

Regional workshops in the 6 geopolitical zones with developers and states land admin officials followed in February 2018. This led to the first data collation from developers and states land admin agencies.

Then from August to December 2018, they began a pilot off-takers and business surveys. The pilot survey was to collect information from housing off-takers in the 36 states and the FCT. The business survey was incorporated into the CBN QES.

In 2019, advanced works began with stakeholder agencies to improve the data collation effort. The also began and completed a national housing conditions survey.

Off-takers Pilot Survey Outcome

A total of 19,398 off-takers have been captured into the portal, with Enugu state having the highest numbers with 812 off-takers.

The lowest number was from ondo with 292 off-takers.

Challenges of the Pilot Survey

One of the major challenges was the non-existence of a national housing programme to align with the data collation.

Lack of awareness on the benefits of providing the information by the off-takers was also another challenge.

Other Facts

Most of the respondent of the survey were full-time government employee. There were also other respondents from the private and public-private partnerships.

Almost 70% of the off-takers captured earn less than N100, 000 monthly.

The Business Survey Outcome

A total of 191 developers responded for Q2-Q3 2018 from 29 states with a response rate of about 51.6%.

There were no responses from Anambra, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Kduna, Kebbi, Kogi, and Sokoto.

Challenges of the Business Survey

First was the lack of cooperation from real estate developers in most states to provide data.

Also most developers complain of inactivity due to lack of finance to execute projects.

Other Facts

Most of the houses sold were for the middle income group.

Outstanding Issues

Having launched the data on 7th of May, a data dissemination workshop for further interaction with stakeholders will follow immediately.

From April to June 20129, the mission will be to align with relevant collaborating agencies for a full scale nation-wide off-takers survey.

Within the same period, REDAN will conduct a national housing conditions survey to establish the housing deficit figures.

Then from June to July 2019 will be the compilation of national residential property price index (RPPI) to track price movements.

By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja

Multigenerational households are on the rise, according to new data

The real estate and construction industry will increasingly have to grapple with an older population and consumers who want homes that can house extended families

The United States is currently experiencing sustained, decades-long growth in multigenerational households, according to recent research, though nearly a century of focus on single-family housing means this transition also raises challenges.

Today, up to 41 percent of Americans who are buying a home isalso considering accommodating a family member from another generation, such as an elderly parent or adult child, according to research first reported by Fast Company from John Burns Real Estate Consulting. That figure stands in stark contrast to the middle decades of the 20th Century when only a small minority of Americans lived in multigenerational households.

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that in 1950, 21 percent of Americans lived in a multigenerational household. That number continued to fall over subsequent decades, eventually bottoming out in 1980 when it hit 12 percent.

Since then, however, the number of Americans living in multigenerational households has been rising, eventually hitting 20 percent in 2016. And, as the research from John Burns Real Estate Consulting suggests, even more, people are apparently considering a multigenerational living arrangement.

Though multigenerational households are still in the minority, Fast Company argues that there are some significant drawbacks to the single family households that dominate the U.S. Those issues include social isolation, a lack of community and cities that are forced to allocate vast resources for moving around people “who want to live conspicuously apart.”

“There’s been so much emphasis on independence and on privacy that we really designed community right out of our lives without knowing it,” architect and housing consultant Katie McCamant told Fast Company.

There are significant challenges when it comes to accommodating the growth in multifamily households, the largest of which is perhaps — as Fast Companypoints out — that much of the housing in the U.S. is comprised of single family homes. This type of housing tends to require a car to get around and can be especially challenging for seniors who eventually lose the ability to drive.

A Lennar Next Gen floorplan. Credit: Lennar

However, the market is beginning to adapt to an older population that wants to age in place — and potentially live with family. Homebuilder Lennar, for example, currently constructs houses that are designed to accommodate multiple generations. The homes are part of Lennar’s “Next Gen” program, which the company says “opens the door to an array of financial and logistical benefits, while providing the opportunity to share the comfort of your home with loved ones.”

The program is currently active in 14 states.

Families that can’t or don’t want to build a multigenerational house from scratch are turning to other strategies, such as adding onto existing homes or building an apartment in the backyard. Fast Company describes this as a more common option. And indeed such add-on spaces are often referred to as “mother-in-law” apartments, a moniker that speaks directly to their role in housing extended family.

Other options exist as well. McCamant, the architect who spoke to Fast Company, works with communities to build co-living housing geared specifically toward seniors. There are also various home-sharing options, such as seniors renting out rooms to younger people and college students.

All of these options, however, point to a clear trend: both attitudes about housing and the type of housing that is available is shifting. As a growing number of baby boomers reach old age, then, the question is what exactly the future of real estate will look like.

“It’s really about a proactive approach to: What do I want to do with this last third of my life and how do I set myself up for that?” McCamant told Fast Company.


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