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£2bn fund for building low-cost homes, Theresa May declares

Prime minister to call on associations to help end social housing ‘stigma’ that sees tenants treated as ‘second class citizens’

Housing associations will be handed £2bn in new funding to help them build low-cost homes, under plans set to be announced by Theresa May tomorrow.

The prime minister will tell associations they will be allowed to apply for money for the next decade in a bid to give them greater financial security.

Ms May will also call on housing providers to help end the stigma around social housing that, she will say, sees many politicians “look down on” people who live in low-cost homes.

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She will tell a conference of the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, that “the most ambitious” providers will be able to bid for government money to last them until 2028-29.

The money will come from housing budgets in the next spending review period – the details of which are not expected until next year.

Ms May is expected to say: “You said that if you were going to take a serious role in not just managing but building the homes this country needs, you had to have the stability provided by long-term funding deals. Well, eight housing associations have already been given such deals, worth almost £600m and paving the way for almost 15,000 new affordable homes.

“And today, I can announce that new longer-term partnerships will be opened up to the most ambitious housing associations through a ground-breaking £2bn initiative. Under the scheme, associations will be able to apply for funding stretching as far ahead as 2028-29 – the first time any government has offered housing associations such long-term certainty.

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“Doing so will give you the stability you need to get tens of thousands of affordable and social homes built where they are needed most, and make it easier for you to leverage the private finance you need to build many more.”

Ms May will demand associations “achieve things neither private developers nor local authorities are capable of doing” and call on them “to take the lead in transforming the very way in which we think about and deliver housing in this country” by “taking on and leading major developments themselves”, rather than simply buying properties built by developers.

She will also ask associations to help end the “stigma” around social housing, admitting that too many people, including politicians, “look down on” people who live in low-cost homes.

“For many people, a certain stigma still clings to social housing. Some residents feel marginalised and overlooked, and are ashamed to share the fact that their home belongs to a housing association or local authority”, she will say.

“And on the outside, many people in society – including too many politicians – continue to look down on social housing and, by extension, the people who call it their home.”

She will add: “We should never see social housing as something that need simply be “good enough”, nor think that the people who live in it should be grateful for their safety net and expect no better.

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“Whether it is owned and managed by local authorities, [tenant management organisations] or housing associations, I want to see social housing that is so good people are proud to call it their home… Our friends and neighbours who live in social housing are not second-rate citizens.”

Ms May used her speech at last year’s Conservative Party conference to announce £2bn of new investment in low-cost housing – enough to build 5,000 new homes per year – although this was criticised as being significantly less than is needed.

No 10 said the new £2bn was in addition to the amount announced last year.

However, Labour said the latest cash injection would not be enough to reverse the impact of previous cuts to housing budgets.

John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, said: “Theresa May’s promises fall far short of what’s needed.

“Any pledge of new investment is welcome, but the reality is spending on new affordable homes has been slashed so the number of new social rented homes built last year fell to the lowest level since records began.

“If Conservative ministers are serious about fixing the housing crisis they should back Labour’s plans to build a million genuinely affordable homes, including the biggest council house building programme for over 30 years.”

Benjamin Kentish

AREGBESOLA GIVE HOMES TO RESIDENTS AFFECTED BY ROAD CONSTRUCTION

 

As part of his commitment to peoples’ welfare, Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has paid the sum of N40 million as compensation to persons affected by road construction in the rural areas.

The compensation payment and resettlement of the Project Affected Persons, PAPS, was done in conjunction with the Osun Rural Access and Mobility Project, O’RAMP.

Aregbesola who noted that his government is the first to do such compensation, urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the money.

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Some of the affected persons were also given keys to new houses.

“It is only our party that you can trust, since we have been in power, since Awolowo’s time, we have always been the peoples government. Before now, we have used N60 million to compensate people under RAMP, now we are using N40m and this is only for those in the rural areas. For those in town, we have spent N1.58 billion. This is unprecedented in the State of Osun.”Aregbesola added.

 

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In his speech, the Special Adviser to the Governor at the Office of Water Resources, Rural Development and Community Affairs, Hon. Babatunde Ibirogba lauded the infrastructural legacy of Aregbesola.

According to him, “I will not finish this address without reiterating the acknowledgement of the unquantifiable support of the Government of the State of Osun for accepting and approving the payment of the compensation to all project affected person’s, PAPS, both on the corridor of the 308 km rural roads and resettlement of the family whose houses were affected by Aato-Ilawo Pilot roads. Mr Governor, we appreciate your kind gesture and human consideration given to our people.”

Nofisat Marindoti

 

Mortgage penetration in Africa: Nigeria ranks low

 

Nigeria has been ranked low among countries in the area of mortgage penetration and depth for home-ownership in Africa.

According to a report by Senior Advisor, UN-Habitat, Dr. Xing Guan Zhang, out of 31 countries ranked for the exercise, Nigeria took 27 position, scoring 0.3 per cent in mortgage penetration ahead of Guinea, Senegal and Burundi.

In the report, Malawi, Djibouti, Chad, Mauritania, Mauritius, Tanzania, South Africa, Angola, Liberia, Ghana, Togo, Rwanda, Botswana, Zambia and Cameroun took first to fifteen positions.

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In the area of mortgage depth, Nigeria was also scored low, ranking 10 with 0.4 per cent among 17 Africa nations considered for the exercise.

Countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Botswana, Senegal, Rwanda, Algeria, Uganda and Cameroun were ranked 30 per cent, 20 per cent, 2.5 per cent, 2.3 per cent,2.0 per cent, 1.2 per cent, 1.2 per cent, 1.0 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively ahead Nigeria.

In his report on “Financing and Developing Affordable Housing in Africa: What We Have Learned and How We Can Do Better,” Zhang noted that mortgage penetration and depth were much higher in wealthy countries.

He said: “When inflation is high, the interest payment is high in real values in the beginning, but this declines over years, if it is a fixed-rate mortgage.”

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Nigeria’s mortgage market has remained in slow growth due to plethora of reasons, some of which are now being addressed by major stakeholders in the mortgage industry.

The Nigeria Mortgage Guarantee Company (NMGC), Model Mortgage Foreclosure Bill and the Uniform Mortgage Underwriting Standards for both the formal and informal sectors of the economy are the most outstanding of the new initiatives in the industry.

Also, partnership among the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) and the Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN) is more than enough comfort for both investors and home seekers.

To address the problems associated with land processes, the CBN is partnering with NMRC, which spear-headed the drafting of a Model Mortgage Foreclosure Bill, as well as MBAN and other strategic partners, to encourage the passage of a model mortgage foreclosure law in every state of the nation.

The apex bank has also provided states with the draft MMFL, and has held an MMFL workshop with their key representatives to ease their task to passage of the law.

Meanwhile, the nation has a housing deficit of about 17 million units and its mortgage rates ranging between 7-10 per cent for the National Housing Fund (NHF) and between 15-25 per cent for commercial mortgage institutions, which is considered by industry experts as one of the highest in the world.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, real growth rate of the real estate sector, real GDP growth recorded in the sector in first quarter (Q1) 2018 stood at -9.40 per cent, lower than growth recorded in Q1 2017 by 6.30 percentage points and lower by 3.48 percentage points relative to Q4 2017.

Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by -30.57 per cent in the Q1 2018.

It contributed 5.63 per cent to real GDP in Q1 2018, lower than the 6.34 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2017 and lower than the 7.03 per cent in the preceding quarter.

 

Dayo Ayeyemi

Egypt Seeks Bilateral Cooperation With Nigeria On Power, Housing

The Republic of Egypt has expressed interest in cooperating with Nigeria on power and housing development.
Former Prime Minister and currently Special Assistant to the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Engr Sherif Ismail made this known recently when he, led by the Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria and the MD of Arab Contractors, Assem Hanafi, visited the Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola in his office at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

Speaking on his mission, the Egyptian Presidential aide said he was in the country to discuss further cooperation between our two countries in the areas of power and housing.
“We have some mega national projects in the power and housing sector, and have come to Nigeria, our long time partner to explore areas of cooperation,” he said.

Responding, his host, Fashola commended the Ambassador for his tireless efforts at strengthening the diplomatic tie between the two countries, and the MD of Arab Contractors, who also accompanied the Presidential aide, for being a committed long term partner in the area of construction around the country.

The Minister told his guest that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is focused on infrastructure development, and as such, the visit of the Egyptian envoy was most welcome. Having acknowledged the long relationship between Egypt and Nigeria, Fashola noted: “Trade is also an area of common interest between our two countries, symbolised by many points of interraction.”

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Fashola who briefed his guest on the success so far recorded by government regarding housing through the National Housing Pilot Scheme executed in all states of the federation, urged the Egyptian government to rekindle her business interest in the Nigeria power sector, noting that the sector is full of opportunities for investment, especially in the areas of meters, cables and other electrical accessories.

The Minister said due to the huge investment by the government in power, tangible improvement is being witnessed in the sector currently.
“Our average power generation now increases by 1, 000 yearly. The problem now is distribution, and we need a lot of investment there.
“We have a 10-year transmission plan, and now there are about 90 transmission projects at various stages of completion. “We will be available to work with the government and people of Egypt, “ he said.

Abah Adah

 

FLOODING: CAUSES & PREVENTIVE MEASURES

 

Have you ever experienced the agony of living in a flooded community? Within few hour of heavy rain; lives are lost, properties are gone, heavy traffic jam, the frightening of destructing

Flooding is a common natural disaster in Nigeria, both in the rural and urban areas which affect millions of people around the globe.

WHAT IS FLOODING?

Flooding is the excess of water on the surface of the ground when it rains, normally such lands are dry lands, except there is rainfall particularly, when there is small portion of land to absorb the water.

How it works

Soil types/land has a specific water holding capacity. If the rainfall exceeds the water holding capacity of a land, it results to flood. Water holding capacity is the amount of water a land can absorb, contain or hold without surface runoff. One the land water holding capacity is filled, water starts to rise above the ground level resulting to surface runoff.

Loamy soil has the highest water holding capacity followed by sandy soil and finally clay soil. These characteristics accounts for the ability of loamy soil to absorb a lot of water and nutrient.

CAUSES OF FLOODING IN NIGERIA

Most times houses buildings are submerged, people’s properties are destroyed. This is unfortunate. Some may ask, what are the causes of flooding particularly in urban cities

Poor Drainage System

Some of the drainage system in Nigeria are not constructed and maintained well. Rural and urban dwellers misuse the drainage by dropping refuse, sewage; reducing its effectiveness and capacity to allow flow of water. When there are no proper and adequate drainages in the urban cities or towns and sometimes, there could be these drainages in the urban cities but poor planning when building drainages in the cities, of course, we know that in urban cities, there is very small portion of land to absorb rain water when it rains. Flooding can also be caused b y dumping of refuse into drainages

Heavy Rainfall

Another cause of flooding is heavy rainfall

Improper planning of building structures

Moreso, if someone builds in the water way, the possibility that he will block the waterway during rainfall thus, causing flooding.

HOW TO PREVENT FLOODING IN NIGERIA

Flooding can be prevented in many ways, but much more important is that, while wanting to prevent flooding, the first thing that should come to mind should be effective mitigation measures and proper planning. You can prevent flooding when proper planning is taken into consideration. Much of these measures should be taken in areas that are prone to flooding.

Construction of Dams

A dam is a barrier that stops or restricts the flow of water or underground stream. It is an effective way of flood control. Dams were originally built especially for flood control in developed countries. Many large dams have flood control reservation in which the level of a reservoir must be kept below a certain point before the rainy season. During the rainy season, flood water is allowed to fill the dam restricting them from destroying lives and properties. If we consider the dam as an open tank filled with water. Before the rainy season, tank is emptied in order to create space for rain water during the raining season; reducing flood in the community

Building Dikes and Levees

Dikes and levees are flood-control structures built to fight river flooding and water surges. Dikes and levees restrain rivers during floods by providing artificial water channels that prevent runoffs from bursting floodplains. Floodplains are natural waterways that carry excess river water during heavy rainfall. Dike engineers/constructors alter and develop floodplains by building dikes and levees to boost flood-prevention when floodplains well up.

Improve Flood warning system

Flood warning system is a way of detecting threatening events in advance. This warns the public in advance so that actions can be taken to reduce the adverse effect. Properly conveying advance warnings of impeding storms and floods will not only give people the opportunity to be proactive in preventing damage to their property, it will save lives. Warning signs should be indicated in areas prone to flood; preventing interested buyers from falling victims of such area. It also warns drivers to avoid that route.

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Flood Resilience

Flood resilience is the capacity to recover from flood. This is an efficient method compared to river defence. Buildings and other urban infrastructures should be designed or structured strategically; making it easier to recover from flood. For example, water proofing homes and businesses and moving electrical sockets higher. Green roofs can be implemented. This is the process of building houses with vegetative roofs. Vegetative roofs contain soils: which absorbs rain water reducing flood. However this is expensive to build and maintain.

Create Flood Plains

Flood plains are lands that have the capacity of absorbing large amount of water. It diverts water from flooded communities; reducing the flood. This is a method of conservation as flood plains are used as natural reservoir; where communities can fall back on during drought. In some countries, wilderness and deserts have been re-engineered to act as flood plains. This should be looked into in Nigeria. Flood plains also serve as natural habitat for aquatic animals.

Preservation of wetlands and planting of trees

Reforestation should be encouraged in Nigeria. Reforestation is a term for planting of trees which reduces the impact of flood. The trees absorb water, slowing down the overflow of rivers to neighboring communities. Wetlands will soak up moisture and wooden areas: slow down flood when river overflows. Creating wetlands and reforestation is a good environmental practice

Building Diverting Canals

Canals are artificial water channels that can be crucial to flood prevention. Canals facilitate control of water levels passing through, and form linear reservoirs and water locks. During flooding, excess water is channeled through canals to non-risk areas further downstream or to other areas with high demand for water, such as arid and semi-arid areas. Canals can also be used to lock excess flood waters in its linear reservoirs to prevent flooding and store water for future use. Canal delivers water from flooded communities to a city where water is needed. Canals can link several cities together i.e. Canal can lead Abuja and Kaduna state; crowning it’s efficiency. Floods can be controlled by redirecting excess water to purpose-built canal. Canal is also used to confine or lock water.

Harvesting Rain Water

Harvesting rainwater involves collecting and storing rainwater and can not only prevent floods; it can also curb urban water scarcity. Harvested rain water can be cleaned for human consumption and distributed to people in rural areas, as well as urban areas in times of water scarcity. Rain water harvesting is carried out in different ways, including building ponds, storm drains, water retention basins and flood-control dams.

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Flooding can be prevented with improved drainage

Like I mentioned earlier one of the causes of flooding is dumping refuse into drainages. With such fact in place, flooding therefore can be prevented through improved drainage. When drainages are improved, there will be easy access for water during rainfall. Flooding can be controlled and prevented when the drainages are improved because it will help ensure that there is a way for easy flow of excess water during and after rainfall. This type of measures should be taken in the urban cities, where there are many cases of flooding problems. The efficacy of drainage may be improved to control flooding. This could be achieved firstly through rehabilitation of drainage system in the urban cities. Next is that the drainage system has to be cleaned, this is done by removing refuses, including solid wastes that may have blocked the drainage systems.

Environmental Sanitation

Refuse and sewages block the drainage system and canal pathway, preventing the flow of water making them inefficient. Canals, drainages should always be cleaned regularly, removing debris etc. people should be warned against indiscriminate dumping of refuse and sewage in the community, drainage or canal. This is the cheapest way of preventing flood in Nigeria

 

Legislative reform and drive towards model mortgage

 

To mortgage sector stakeholders in Nigeria, the need for a functional mortgage system cannot be over-emphasised. This is why the drive towards a model mortgage is receiving all the attention that it requires.

At the fore-front of this drive is the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) which is riding on the relative successes it has achieved in the past couple of years of its establishment and pushing for the adoption of a model mortgage and foreclosure law by the states.

As part of efforts at growing a mortgage system that will drive affordability, the company is presently driving a legislative reform in the mortgage sector by proposing a model mortgage and foreclosure law by key pilot states including Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Kano and Ogun states.

What the company is driving at, according to one its directors whose primary mortgage bank is a major shareholder in the company, is to get various states houses of assembly to pass foreclosure laws as a prelude to mortgage-backed affordable housing delivery.

This is good news for home seekers who may need mortgage facility because foreclosure law, upon adoption, aims to fast tract the process for creating legal mortgages, ensuring timely resolution of disputes and creating an efficient foreclosure process.

According to the authorities of the mortgage refinancing company, the model mortgage and foreclosure law is in its final form for engagement with 21 pilot states committing to the implementation of an enabling environment for the development of the mortgage market.

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The company hinted that it would be focusing on building capacity and completing outstanding operational activities. “We will be embarking on an aggressive drive towards the procurement of an ICT infrastructure for the mortgage industry, the completion of our second tranche equity capital raise, and most importantly the completion of our first round of mortgage refinancing; we will work hard to meet our mandate to revolutionize the Nigerian mortgage landscape”, an official of the company hinted.

The company has demonstrated uncommon resolve to live out its mandate with refinancing of some mortgage banks. Mortgage operators have described this refinancing as a milestone and, according to Ben Akaneme, Imperial Mortgage’s managing director, “this is an outstanding achievement in the march towards the realisation of affordable and single-digit interest rates for mortgages in Nigeria. He assured that his bank would continue to strive to achieve its mission of enabling easily accessible and affordable mortgages to Nigerians in order to ensure housing for all.

NMRC seems to be conscious of the demands and obligations inherent in the Nigerian business environment as it assures that it will continue to anchor all its services on global best practices, good corporate governance and strict risk management practices.

By now, the company might have got from its shareholders the approval to, among other things, increase their capital base for three main reasons including capital adequacy, mortgage refinancing and procurement of necessary infrastructure.

As at the time when this request was made, the shareholders who saw the need for capital adequacy for the company, especially for its mortgage refinancing function, could not, however, come to terms with the management‘s explanation on the issue of infrastructure and, therefore, insisted that the capital raise be put on hold until the management was able to spell out those items of infrastructure that made the capital raise necessary.

NMRC came into the Nigerian mortgage market on a very high pedestal, promising a major shift in the interest rate regime in the market. But the authorities of the company have said that, though it is a partnership between the government and the private sector, the company operates as a private sector-led institution, relying on the market to determine interest rate on mortgage loans, meaning that the rate that applies to commercial loans also applies to its mortgage.

“The desire of NMRC, the Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is to achieve single digit interest rate, but we are not there yet because the market does not allow single digit interest rate”, the official said, adding, “as it is today, we cannot meet the single digit interest rate until we are able to reach that point where the market allows it”.

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Right now, the company is working under market conditions hoping that, over time, as the market deepens and grows, the issue of single digit interest rate will be expected. Whatever the rate is today, the desire is to drive it down to single digit.

Chuka Uroko

Ogun community panic as gully ‘swallows’ 50 houses

• Eight landlords reportedly died from shock
• We are helpless – Ogun govt

Owakurudu community in the Ijebu Ode Local Government Area of Ogun State is becoming deserted due to a gully that is eating into the community.

It was learnt that no fewer than 50 houses had fallen into the gully reportedly created by an abandoned water channelisation project of the state government.

About eight landlords, who owned houses in the area, reportedly died from shock after their houses fell into the gully.

When news men visited the community on Tuesday, he observed as some tenants packed their belongings, preparing to vacate another house under threat of falling a prey to the gully.

it was noted that parts of a few houses had fallen into the gully, while their owners rehabilitated the remaining part to make them habitable.

Some landlords, who spoke to newsmen, said the state government was responsible for their predicament.

One of them, Alhaji Tunde Agbonmabiwon, who took news men round to see the damage to his bungalow, said he had been living in the area for about 27 years.

He said, “I have been living in my house since 1991. There was no problem then. I have all my documents intact, including the certificate of occupancy, survey and building plan.

“When I moved in, the pit was just about two feet wide. But the government, during a road rehabilitation, decided to channel all the water of Ijebu Ode through our community.

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“Whenever it rains, we become afraid because the water pours in torrents. For about two to three hours after it must have stopped raining, floodwater will still be pouring through here.”

A 74-year-old landlord, Adesanwo Maseka, whose tenants had vacated his building, said he was losing hope.

Maseka noted that promises made by government officials had gone unfulfilled.

He said, “We called the attention of the Federal Government to it in 2008; a minister and the Awujale of Ijebuland, accompanied by other traditional rulers and chiefs, came for an on-the-spot assessment. We went to the house of former Governor Gbenga Daniel when he was still in charge of Ogun State and he asked us to weed the bushes and consider the job done. We called all kinds of people and government agencies, including the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority and their officials, came to survey and have meetings with us. Nothing came out.

“What we are suffering is no fault of ours. The state government diverted water into our community. When I came here in 1985, I used to cross through this space to other streets. But now, see what has happened.

“All the houses on this line that have caved in, their landlords died from this problem. There are eight of them, including Odunaya, Eshin Funfun, Badejo, Baba Nepa, Baba Nubi and Ogunjirin. Look at what has happened to me as well, is this not enough to kill me? I am 74 years old. What other work can I do with my life? All the things I gathered in my lifetime are falling apart before my eyes.”

Another resident and community leader, Tola Ogunbanjo, said although the erosion damage extended to Imoru Road, the community was the worst hit.

“About 50 houses have fallen into the gully. A large poultry farm owned by a retired principal of the Ijebu Ode Grammar School, Mr Oluwole Kujore, had also gone into it,” he added.

The chairman of the landlords, Adegbesan Adeshina, said the state government should take responsibility for what had befallen the residents and remedy it.

He said, “I bought my land in 1984 and I packed into my house in 1987. As of then, there was no gutter, except that rainwater passed here until the government diverted the water to our area. The water came in through Logun Filling Station, where the government stopped and abandoned their channelisation project. We are victims of the haphazard job of the ministries of works and the environment. This is pure government negligence. And we have written to both federal and state governments since 2002 without any result.

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“In 2016 when Governor Ibukunle Amosun held a budget briefing, I told him to help us and that six landlords had died as of then due to the problem. He said he had seen some officials at Abuja and they were coming to address it. Nothing has been done till today. I lost N3.5m fish investment here last year, including a pond worth over N2m.”

Our correspondent obtained copies of letters sent to the state Governor, Amosun; the Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency; the Managing Director, Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority; the Permanent Secretary, Ogun State Ministry of the Environment.

The letter addressed to Amosun and dated July 24, 2018, was written by a group, Justice Development and Peace Commission, Catholic Diocese of Ijebu Ode, on behalf of the community.

The group, in the letter signed by its Deputy Director, Disu Ireti, said after it visited Owakurudu in January 2015, it wrote the state ministry of environment and called its attention to the plight of the residents.

It said that in October 2015, a team from the ministry visited and promised to provide a “lasting solution to the sufferings of the community,” adding that nothing was done.

“On behalf of the community, we, however, request the following measures/interventions to mitigate the sufferings of the people:

“Provision of a drainage for Owakurudu erosion and such other professional intervention that would provide a lasting solution to the sufferings of the people; dredging of Owa River and provision of a drainage on the left and right sides,” the letter read in part.

The Ogun State Commissioner for the Environment, Bolaji Oyeleye, said the matter had been taken to the federal level, adding that it was beyond the state government.

He said, “We have approached the Ecological Funds Office in that regard and we have also reached out to the Federal Ministry of the Environment to come to the assistance of the state. It is a project that we at the state level cannot face head-on; we need some form of intervention at the federal level. Even the last time we had a council on the environment last year, the council visited the site and took note of what was there. The council took it up to reach out on behalf of the state to the federal government.”

Oyeleye said the state had yet to get anything from the federal government.

The Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Raji Fashola, did not pick his calls and had yet to respond to a text message from our correspondent as of press time.

Samson Folarin

31 people killed, 10,000 houses destroyed by flood in Kano

 

The Kano State government has confirmed the death of 31 people and destruction of more than 10,000 houses during the recent flood disaster in 15 Local councils of the state.

Alhaji Ali Bashir, Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation Agency, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano yesterday.

Bashir said the cost of the disaster, which wreaked havoc on more than 10,000 houses in the affected areas, was estimated at over N5 billion.

“Most of the affected houses were either totally or partially destroyed,” he said.

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According to Bashir, some of the farmlands were ‎submerged by water while others were completely washed away by the flood.

“The farm produce destroyed include maize, cotton, white beans, onion, rice, groundnut, millet and other cash crops,” he said.

The executive secretary said the agency was compiling reports from the eight local government areas hit by the disaster to ascertain the value of the 35,000 farmlands destroyed.

It would be recalled that the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria recently disclosed that its members in Kano lost over 5,000 hectares of rice farms to flood in 10 local government areas of the state.

In another development, a 15-year-old boy, Mohammed Basa, has drowned while bathing in a pond at Kuka Bulukiya community in Dala Local Government Area of Kano.

Spokesman of the Kano State Fire Service, Mr. Saidu Mohammed, disclosed this in an interview with NAN in Kano yesterday.

Mohammed said the incident happened on Sunday when the deceased went to take his bath along with his friends.

“We received a distress call from one Malam Auwalu Dala at about 12:40p.m. that Basa’s body was found floating on a pond.

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On receiving the information, we quickly sent our rescue team to the scene. Basa was found dead and his body later handed over to the police,’’ Mohammed said.

The spokesman, however, advised parents to prevail on their children and wards to stay away from water bodies to prevent harm coming to them.

Meanwhile, Governor Yahaha Bello of Kogi State yesterday in Abuja updated President Muhammadu Buhari on the flood disaster that submerged more than 200 communities in 10 local government areas of the state.

Bello, who spoke to State House correspondents after the closed-door meeting, said he briefed the president on the happenings in the state.

He commended the Federal Government for its interventions but expressed regret that the magnitude of the disaster was such that required government to supply more relief materials for the victims.

“As usual, I came to brief Mr. President about the situation. I am sure you are all aware of the flood problem that is happening all over the country and Kogi is worst hit being the confluence state, confluence of the two rivers.”

In Delta State, leaders and the entire Polobubo community in Warri North local government area have called on government at all levels, as well as oil and gas operators in their area to rescue them from the flood that has almost submerged their community.

The people of the community, also known as Tsekelewu, sent out the save-our-soul message when a team from Warri North council visited the remote Ijaw community.

The people lamented the lack of concern by oil multinationals operating within their vicinity to their recurring predicament.

It was gathered that the entire community has been flooded as all hitherto open lands, fields and playgrounds have been covered up by the flood, while all schools, though in session, have since ceased normal academic activities as all classrooms and staffroom have been taken over by water.

While some houses have virtually been submerged, residents of all other houses were having to either scoop water out into the stream all around them.

A leader of the community, Dickson Asoki, called on the Federal Government to immediately evacuate people to safer locations as well as provision of relief material before talking of the long-term solution to the perennial problem.

Another community leader, Elder Silver James Gbalubi, said the community had over the years done its best to contain the effect of the shallow waterways around them, but they seemed to have reached the limits of their human efforts and called on government to rise to their aid.

Tinubu’s firm stops work on roads over rift with Ambode

• Hitech withdraws workers, equipment from sites
• Projects ongoing, state official affirms, blames rains

The ongoing road construction in Lagos State could be the latest casualty in the political battle between Governor Akinwumi Ambode and All Progressives Congress National Leader Bola Tinubu.

Ambode’s ambition to retain his seat in the next election has come under attack from powerful interests affiliated to the leader and former state governor. Two former commissioners, Mr. Femi Hamzat and Jide Sanwo-Olu, have obtained nomination forms to contest the party’s ticket in the coming direct primary scheduled to hold September 25.

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Sanwo-Olu, a former commissioner of commerce and industry, is said to be enjoying the backing of Tinubu and the Mandate Group. At his formal declaration, yesterday, Sanwo-Olu praised the achievements of former military governor, Brig. Mobolaji Johnson, and former governor, Babatunde Fashola, saying their strides contributed to the prosperity of Lagos.

While the conflict within the ruling APC in Lagos plays out, work at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Road and Pen Cinema Bridge in Agege has come to a suspicious halt, as the contractor, Messrs Hitech Construction Company Limited, has left the sites.Sources close to the firm, though, blamed the development on the non-payment of fees by the government. About N20 billion is said to still be outstanding. Tinubu allegedly owns substantial stakes in the construction company and wields great influence over it.

An investigation by The Guardian showed that major equipment has been removed. At Airport Road, specifically, some of the workers were seen moving out their luggage. Following their withdrawal, many miscreants yesterday filled the void, controlling traffic along the unfinished stretch. The Guardian learnt that the state government has scheduled a meeting with Hitech today .Efforts to speak with the managing director of the firm were unsuccessful.

The assistant director, public affairs, of the Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Shina Thorpe, however said, “We were there two Fridays ago for inspection and you would see that the service lane has been finished to a point. And don’t forget that with the rains, there is no way they can work. The rains have to subside. If they do any work in the rain, they would have to do it over again. So, work has not stopped on the project.”

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On the alleged non-payment of the contractor, he explained: “There are payment schedules and the state government is working with those schedules. You don’t expect the government to pay everything without the work completed. Government is working with the payment schedules.”Both reconstructions were expected to end notorious gridlocks and scale up property in the area. The Lagos State government had promised to deliver the Oshodi-Airport Road in 15 months. It was to be upgraded from four to 10 lanes. Work commenced on September 2017. The Agege Pen Cinema Bridge had a December 2018 completion date.

Victor Gbonegun

Union Bank takes over firm’s property over alleged N5.2b debt

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and its appointed receiver/manager, Gbenga Akinde-Peters have taken over landed property belonging to A-Z Petroleum Products Limited over the firm’s N5.2 billion debts.

The take over of the property situated at Plot 3508 Cadastral Zone A06, Maitama District, Abuja, covered by a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), dated September 7, 2005, with registration No. 3586, Vol. 18, at Abuja Land Registry, followed a Mareva injunction granted Union bank by a Federal High Court, Lagos.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Temiloluwa Adamolekun, filed the application before Justice Chuka Obiozor, who granted it.

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Adamolekun had asked the court for an interim order to grant the second plaintiff, Akinde-Peters to take over possession of the property, together with any building and appurtenances thereon, by virtue of the Deed of appointment dated July 18, 2018, pursuant to the duly registered deed of legal mortgage dated September 1, 2018.

He also asked the court for an order restraining A-Z petroleum Product Limited, Chief Alex Chika Okafor and their agents from interfering with or obstructing the receiver/manager from exercising all powers in performing his duty as receiver of the property.

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The counsel also asked the court for an order of Mareva injunction restraining the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Ministry of Finance, Debt Management Office (DMO), Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who are third to seven respondents or their agents from releasing any funds in form of Sovereign Debt Notes (SDN) or any other instruments belonging to the oil firm amounting to N5.2 billion in their custody, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

He further asked the court for an order directing the third and seven respondents to disclose on oath within 14 days the company’s total money, funds and SDN within the purview of Petroleum Subsidy Scheme in their custody.

 

Joseph Onyekwere

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