We’re failing in real estate planning –Adetiba

Segun Adetiba is the President, Furniture And Allied Products Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (FAPMAN).

In this interview, Adetiba spoke about social housing with cheaper locally-made building materials adding that it depended on the seriousness and acceptability of those materials by the private and public sectors. He felt that there was need for the public sector to have a new mindset on the creations of the Nigerian architects, calling on the sectors to look inward and embrace inward integration. Adetiba also spoke on the challenges facing the Nigerian real estate industry as well as issues about home furnishings, and housing.

Excerpts:

Slums in cities

I wouldn’t say we were failing in our real estate planning. Overtime, we didn’t have patriotic leadership that would set the pace. We failed to have trailblazers, coaches and trendsetters – those to look up to. It was the beginning of our failure. And it happened immediately after the days of the Azikiwes, Awolowos, Sardaunas, Okparas, Mbadiwes, and Okotiebos. We failed to take from them, and embrace their legacies. I don’t want to say that they failed to deliver to us what they knew.

Design

Truth is that if you don’t plan, you would fail. This is attributable to high spate of failures among young people. But we have taken to re-materialise this through championing of skills acquisition. In my factory alone I have graduated more than 550 Nigerians on various fields in carpentry, upholstery; machinists, painting, carpet laying and spray painting and they are in various towns and cities doing great works in home furnishings and automobile especially in Abuja. Most of them have their own factories. There is need for skills in our thought, planning, environment and the future. Every man or woman is the architect of his/her fortune. So, we are all architects. On the area of transfer of technology in the construction industry, I would say; it is not a difficult thing rather a matter of mindset of who you are and what you want to be. If you know who you are and what you want to be, there are people who would take you there. So, it is your planning that would make you to torchlight those who would lead you to success. It is what is lacking in our today’s young artisans.

Read More: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

Real estate development

It still boils down to leadership and followership. The leadership is supposed to set the pace, be patriotic enough to set agenda for the followership. The kind of leadership we have today does not know anything other than how to acquire money and stash in foreign banks, whereas money is supposed to run after our leaders especially if they have creative ideas on how to solve problems in the housing sector. In setting the pace, the leadership should create the enabling environment for the followership to participate. This accounts for the huge gap between the government and private developers in housing delivery; there is no patriotism and outlook in the sector that could specifically say; ‘this is what I want to do to create the kind of building I want for the future,’ a research into the future. Instead of copying the Western idea, we should create from African setting and arrive at something new. In fact, we need to settle down to create the kind of environment we want rather than copying. Nonetheless, Nigerian architects are learning and changing fast especially in the area of creation. Our roofing system is different from what is seen in other parts of the world. Even our façade are quite different and they are creations by Nigerian architects. My son is an architect and he is now busy organizing Made in Nigeria home furnishings exhibition.

Outlook

We have arrived at the starting point. The current Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) is busy designing local building materials, manufacturing door and windows. Today, when government awards contracts to build, the contractor goes to government owned factories to collect doors and windows. So, the housing industry is becoming versed. Fashola has turned it into success and it will soon show. I’m not propagating activities of his ministry because I’m not a politician. Since I grew up, the Buhari-led administration is the only government I have seen to fight and confront Nigeria challenges head-on. He has been busy about the challenges of the country in different sectors of the economy including education in some states of the federation. There are some states that are picking up economically, though not in the majority. And Governors are beginning to learn lessons that before you can become popular, you have to embark on social and populists programmes including social housing. That is why they are engaging the media for more awareness. It was not like that in the past. Every governor now wants to complete some social and people oriented projects before his tenure elapses. There is hope for the versed and untapped real estate industry.
Today, it is treated as an industry because there are various sectors and sub sectors. And all of them have a correlative effect in the industry. The federal government today has an agency that manufactures bespoke doors and windows in large quantity and there are a lot of building materials being produced locally. There are also various estates being created nationwide and the buildings in some places have started. It is easier today for builders to build because all the structures have already been cast and ready made and can be purchased and fixed: lintel can be purchased and fixed, ditto roofing sheets and windows. There are slab formwork, you just assembly them and a house is ready. So, the rudiments had begun the silent revolution going on in the industry.
Price retailing

There is a gradual response to that. It is on the increase because you learn fast by the Internet. It is the general norm now. So, architects should take advantage of it and create their own product online instead of marketing other people’s products. When you want to sell your product to the people, sell from your creation. It might take time for people to accept you but you can be rest assured you would be accepted. I attended home furnishings exhibition organized by GTbank on Victoria Island and saw that Nigerian architect and interior designers have gone far on what they are making out of Ankara and Adire fabrics; how they are using them to design and display as partitioning panels; Aso Oke being used for doors. It is a beautiful sight to behold.

The current government is providing an enabling environment for this kind of creativity to thrive and it is almost going big wheel. Youth are beginning to look inward and those who are reaping it are no longer thinking of leaving the field because they are now more passionate about it. The various governments are always hammering on skills acquisition and they have so simplified the culture that everything is based on skills; what one can do with his hands. The youth are being engaged such that even dropouts from schools are now returning to short classes. Forty-eight hours, 10 days and three months skills acquisitions programmes are all over the place. And when you acquire skills for three months, you go into the profession and start to develop your own business, and furnish the sector you belong.

Competition

The Furniture and Allied Products Manufacturers Association, (FAPMAN) under the umbrella of the furniture sectoral group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has counselled government through the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment. Good enough, we have a minister that is ready to listen and always coming to us for seminars, meetings and workshops. And we are always letting him know the programmes that would embrace the artisans mostly the youths, not only to focus on big factories but cottage industries.

How to access opportunities in housing sector

The real estate sector provides huge job opportunities for citizens in most economies. But in Nigeria, the sector has yet to stand on its feet let alone giving job to a reasonable percentage of the populace.

Although the real estate sector is still evolving in Nigeria, there are stringent roles it is expected to play wherever it is established. These roles come with opportunities that could be accessed and which directly or indirectly also could add to the nation’s GDP. Such opportunities include construction works that beget artisan engagement, materials’ supply, and food sellers at construction sites.

There are also opportunity for trade on building materials that range from cement, rods, woods, paints, among others, which can provide source of livelihood for many. Those who supply rods, woods and paints are sure that if construction work continues, their palm will continue to be greased. There will also be those permanently employed by construction companies and entitled to monthly salaries. These are some of the opportunities open to Nigerians in the real estate sector.

Whether you are an entrepreneur or plan on working for an established company, the real estate industry indeed offers a wide variety of career opportunities, including those in brokerage and leasing services for homes, office buildings, industrial properties and farmland, as well as property management, appraisal and counseling. And there are also other career paths in real estate, which demands acquiring relevant professional designations and certifications.

There include the residential real estate sales agents who help people throughout the process of buying and selling homes. In addition to showing homes to prospective buyers, these agents help clients with property valuation, financing, mortgages and government programmes. Agents and brokers must be licensed in the state in which they work (there is no national license). Each state has its own licensing system and requirements that include some type of pre-licensing course and a state-specific licensing examination.

Read More: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

There is the Commercial Real Estate. The commercial agents and brokers specialise in income-producing properties, such as retail stores, shopping centres, office buildings, industrial parks and apartment complexes. Commercial Real Estate professionals help clients evaluate a property’s income potential and offer guidance regarding local zoning and tax laws. Some states require a specialised license for commercial transactions, while others cover residential and commercial transactions under the same license.

The Property Management is part of the career in real estate that fends for the family. Property managers maintain properties that produce financial returns for the property owners and are responsible for the maintenance and management of the property, including budgeting and leasing. Residential property management involves apartment buildings, condominiums and vacation rentals. Commercial property management entails properties such as office buildings and shopping centers. Property managers often work for real estate firms. Most states require a real estate license for property managers who collect rent, list properties or negotiate leases.

There are Real Estate Appraisers who determine the value of properties to help people and businesses find the assessed value for tax purposes, investment value, present value for potential investors, book value for accounting purposes, rental value and insurable value. Appraisers must know acceptable appraisal principles, have practical experience and some knowledge of mathematics, accounting and economics. Often, appraisers work for banks or for appraiser firms. Appraisers must be licensed by the state in which they work. You must first become an Appraiser Trainee by completing state-specified coursework. With additional coursework and experience, you can go on to become a Licensed Residential Appraiser, a Certified Residential Appraiser and a Certified General Appraiser.
One can also eke a living through real estate counseling. Real estate counselors give advice about property and help investors make decisions about how to select properties that are likely to appreciate in price in the future. Rather than selling real estate, counselors focus on each client’s unique needs to offer solutions that address those needs. Counselors (also called real estate advisors) must know many facets of the real estate business. Often, real estate counselors have a background in real estate valuation, development, investing or property management. The real estate industry is robust, with numerous career opportunities. Only a few of the many career paths currently available are mentioned here. Other real estate career opportunities include construction, farm and land brokerage, investment, land development and research.

There is also the Real Estate Portfolio Management where the training and experience gained by real estate equity managers is similar to that of other fund managers. However, it is dissimilar in the manner in which they use those skills to ensure portfolio performance. Portfolio managers are often rated by their ability to ensure appropriate risk-adjusted returns and portfolio diversification through superior asset allocation and selection.

In addition, Real Estate Portfolio Managers provide value to clients by ensuring the most efficient use of investor capital, and by keeping clients informed through superior performance measurement, and even cash flow forecasting.

With the exception of real estate investment trust (REIT) and fund of fund managers (whose performance is judged by the ability to gauge other managers’ ability to design and execute strategy), the Real Estate Equity Fund Manager is in essence the CEO of his or her own company, creating and executing property-level strategies for the assets under his or her charge.
Real Estate Portfolio Managers conduct asset allocation and asset selection, not by understanding the market dynamics and companies in specific industries, but by being experts in real estate property fundamentals. They study within local regions and in the different commercial land uses: office, industrial, hotel, retail, and single and multifamily residential). To beat the market, ensure diversification and produce adequate risk-adjusted returns, Real Estate Portfolio Managers must make bets on regional or local property markets and, in the case of multiple-asset portfolios, the correct property mix.

For this reason, many fund managers focus on specific regions or property types; some larger real estate asset managers organise their senior employees and support personnel by region or land use.

The rationale for organising in this way is to ensure that market opportunities can be identified and then translated into the correct property selection and asset origination.

The manner in which properties are acquired is one of the most significant ways that real estate funds differ from more traditional investments. Like traders on the stock market floor, real estate funds use acquisition specialists to uncover and execute property transactions. These acquisition personnel usually work for a specific fund or are organised regionally or by asset type.

BY Maduka Nweke

Access Bank partners Taraba on housing

The Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, has said the bank will collaborate with the Taraba State government in the provision of housing, infrastructure and poverty alleviation.

Wigwe made this known during his visit earlier in the week to Governor Darius Ishaku in Jalingo, the state capital. He said that in a couple of months, the bank will build between 200 and 500 housing units for the state’s civil servants in a couple of months.

“The houses will be cheap, with low interest rate, and affordable. It is necessary that civil servants should be able able to peacefully plan their retirement,” the bank chieftain noted.

He also stated that Access Bank will also invest in infrastructural development in Taraba, with focus on road construction.
“We shall work with the Taraba State government in providing the appropriate structures, for contractors to do the work.

“The third area is to provide general welfare for the civil servants, by providing them loans to be able to pay their children’s school fees, buy cars and improve their living condition.

“By doing that, we shall be investing in the educational sector of the state too. Already, we are working with the World Bank on that.”

Governor Ishaku said with the visit of one of the five top commercial banks in the country, something good was about to happen to the state.

Read More: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

“With the coming of Access Bank, Taraba has begun to rise; it is good news to us.

“With the support of Access Bank, we are going to tear all the roads in the state and make them admirable by all.
“We shall also make housing available and affordable to all our civil servants, to avoid them the temptation of graft in office, so that they will enjoy their homes during retirement,” Ishaku said.

LASBCA goes tough on building contraventions

•Agency prosecutes defaulters

Relief, albeit temporarily, came the way of the 12 people arrested at various building construction sites in Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State on Saturday, when a Magistrates’ Court granted them bail in various sums on Monday. The presiding magistrate had ordered their detention in prison custody until they were able to perfect their bail conditions.

The 12 were arrested during an enforcement exercise carried out by the officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), led by the General Manager, Lekan Shodeinde, an engineer.

One of the defaulters, Mr. Obina Akabor, owner of the property on No 6, Chidi Street, Ajegunle, was released upon depositing N500,000 and two sureties. He was charged with a four-count charge of breaking government seal, no approval and no building permit, among others. Prior to his arrest, Akabor had caused confusion at the scene of his arrest, threatening to break the seal placed on his property under construction by LASBCA.
Akabor, upon sighting LASBCA officials, let all hell lose, accusing them of wickedness. “I have paid over N4 million to government for approval, yet they keep sealing my house. I will break this seal again and finish building my house; I will not stop except I die,” he threatened.

Shodeinde, however, said while Akabor had applied for building permit, he, however, had no approval to build. Besides, he explained that what Akabor had built on his parcel of land was at variance with the drawing plan he submitted.

“Government is not stupid. There is no sane building authority that will approve what he has built here (pointing to the house). Akabor initially put up three buildings on the land, contravening building laws; we pulled down one and asked him to stop work on another, then we sealed the premises. But what do we see here? He has two buildings standing on the land when he has no approval. There is no way we will approve this kind of construction to stand, he has to take down one of the two buildings, and then wait for approval,” Shodeinde said, adding that on more than four occasions, Akabor had broken the government seal on his house.

Food, fuel and housing push inflation to 15.13% in January― NBS

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INCREASE in prices of food items, fuel, transport, accommodation, clothing among others pushed inflation to 15.3 percent in January 2017 against the position one year earlier according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released on Wednesday by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The Bureau, however, explained that the figure was 0.24 percent points lower than the 15.37 percent recorded in December 2017 making it the twelfth consecutive month that headline inflation has slowed down year on year inflation since January 2017.

“The Food Index increased year-on-year by 18.92 percent in January, down from the 19.42 percent recorded in December.
“On a month-on-month basis, the Food sub-index increased by 0.87 percent in January 2018, down by 0.29 percent from 0.58 percent recorded in December.

Read More: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

But that was not the only property sealed in the community. Five buildings on Ojo Road were equally sealed. Included in this is the zonal headquarters of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). The owners of the RCCG building, a massive three-storey structure, were said to have broken the government’s seal many times after it was served ‘stop work notice’ and sealed. The Nation gathered that notice of stop work order was served the developer on November 3, 2015, followed by another on April 29, 2016. Three labourers found working on the structure were arrested.

A shopping mall on Owokoniran Street, opposite Access Bank, Coker Bus Stop, in Ajeromi, was also sealed. Although the first and second floors of the mall are already occupied by traders, the third floor is still under construction. LASBCA officials maintained that the entire build had no approval. It was gathered that the structure had been sealed several times, with the shop owners breaking government seals; two people were arrested.

Also, De-Golden Guest Hotel, located at 98, Opebi Street, Ikeja, was also sealed, for what LASBCA called “illegal conversion from residential building to hotel” without approval.
A livid Shodinde told The Nation that although Opebi area had been upgraded to a mixed use area, the building in question didn’t have the requisite approval.

“It was an existing building – residential now converted to hotel. The side is residential terrace building. The owner broke our seal several times. They started like they were renovating the house, and later paid for the renovation permit. To our surprise, when we came, we saw a hotel, the structure has been converted to a hotel without government approval. We sealed the property, but the owner unsealed it again. That is why we are shutting it down now for illegal conversion,” the LASBCA boss explained.

Shodeinde warned that it would be a different ball game this year for building construction defaulters.

“This year, we will come down hard on defaulters who remove our seals. We will prosecute anybody found on site. Once a building contravenes, anybody found on it will be arrested and prosecuted. To unseal a sealed site is a criminal offence and the penalty is N500,000,” he said.

Food, fuel and housing push inflation to 15.13% in January― NBS

INCREASE in prices of food items, fuel, transport, accommodation, clothing among others pushed inflation to 15.3 percent in January 2017 against the position one year earlier according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released on Wednesday by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The Bureau, however, explained that the figure was 0.24 percent points lower than the 15.37 percent recorded in December 2017 making it the twelfth consecutive month that headline inflation has slowed down year on year inflation since January 2017.

“The Food Index increased year-on-year by 18.92 percent in January, down from the 19.42 percent recorded in December.
“On a month-on-month basis, the Food sub-index increased by 0.87 percent in January 2018, down by 0.29 percent from 0.58 percent recorded in December.

Read More: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

“Average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending January 2018 over the previous twelve-month average was 19.62 percent, 0.07 percent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in December 2017 (19.55) percent.

“The rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of imported food in general as well as bread and cereals, milk, cheese and eggs, vegetables, fish, coffee tea and cocoa, meat, potatoes yam and other tubers and oil and fats”, NBS reported.

Headline index increased by 0.80 percent in January 2018, 0.21 percent points higher from the rate of 0.59 percent recorded in December 2017.

The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the twelve-month period ending January 2018 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve-month period was 16.22 percent, showing 0.28 percent point lower from 16.50 percent recorded in December 2017.

The urban inflation rate rose by 15.56 percent (year-on-year) in January 2018 from 16.78 percent recorded in December 2017, while the Rural inflation rate also eased by 14.76 percent in January 2018 from 15.02 percent in December 2017.
On the month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 0.83 percent in January 2018, up by 0.17 from 0.66 percent recorded in December 2017, while the rural index also rose by 0.77 percent in January 2018, up by 0.23 when compared with 0.54 percent in December 2017.

The corresponding twelve-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index is 16.55 percent in January 2018.
This is less than 16.92 percent reported in December 2017, while the corresponding rural inflation rate in January 2018 is 15.89 percent compared to 16.10 percent recorded in December 2017.

The report added that the ”All Items Less Farm Produce” or Core sub-index, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural in January stood at 12.10 percent, similar to rate recorded in December 2017.

“On a month-on-month basis, the Core sub-index increased by 0.68 percent in January 2018, higher from 0.51 percent recorded in December.

“Average 12-month annual rate of change of the index was 13.01 percent for the twelve-month period ending January 2018; this is 0.45 percent points lower than 13.46 percent recorded in December 2017.

“The highest increases were recorded in prices of fuel and lubricants for personal transport and transport equipment, vehicle spare parts, accommodation services, maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, appliances articles and products for personal care, hotels and restaurants, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, clothing materials and other articles of clothing, garments, nondurable household goods and solid fuels.”

Lagos Govt Reiterates Commitment To Reducing Housing Shortfall

Mr Gbolahan Lawal, Commissioner for Housing, Lagos State, on Wednesday reiterated commitment of the state government to creating enabling environment for economic growth through massive housing construction across the state.

Lawal gave the assurance during an inspection tour of some housing estates in Odo Onasa/Odo Ayandelu and Agbowa, both in Ikorodu division.

He said that Odo Onasa/Odo Ayandelu Housing Estate comprised 660 housing units which would soon be completed.

Read More: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

The commissioner said that two water treatment plants and a general sewage disposal were also being constructed to serve the estate.

He said that the ChoisCity Estate in Agbowa had been completed and would soon be allocated to the homeowners at an affordable price.

Lawal said that more housing units would still be constructed in the estate in future.

According to him, many housing units in other estates across the state will soon be ready for allocation to first-time homeowners under the Rent-To-Own or Rental Housing Policies of the state government.

“Our target is to construct 20,000 housing units in the state by the year 2020.

“The major focus is to ensure that Lagos residents have access to affordable housing units that are convenient, safe and within employment areas.

“It is also to reduce the housing deficit of the state which stands at about 2.5 million,” he said.

Lawal attributed the inability to meet the housing needs of Lagosians to the daily influx of people into Lagos.

He enjoined residents to always pay their taxes regularly to enable the government to meet its target in the provision of housing and other essential infrastructure in the state.

PCNI donates building materials to rebuild local government areas in Borno state

PRESIDENTIAL Committee on North-East Initiative PCNI and Victims Support Fund VSF has donated building materials worth millions of Naira to Borno state government to support the reconstruction of communities destroyed by insurgents.
Making the presentation to Governor Kashim Shettima, last weekend Vice Chairman of the PCNI. Tijjani Tumsah said a total of 298,000 pieces of timber, 59,710 ceiling boards and 20,865 bags of assorted nails were handed over to the government for use.

READ: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

He said that the state was further assisted with 4,100 bundles of zinc and 2,400 bags of cement also as part of the PCNI’s intervention to the state to prepare homes for the internally displaced people IDP’S to return.

The distribution of the building materials was made particularly to nine local governments of the state where reconstruction works are ongoing to ensure that the people return as soon as it is safe.

According to Tumsah, ‘the distribution was based on populations of the local governments and damage assessment’ in council areas like Gwoza and Monguno which got 50,000 pieces of timber, 2,275 bundles of zinc, 2,650 ceiling boards and 350 bags of cement each.

Also, 48,000 pieces of timber, 2,275 bundles of zinc, 2,650 ceiling boards and 350 bags of cement were donated to Damboa local government because of the enormous damages were done to their residences.
Similarly, PCNI handed over health care facilities meant to furnish a hospital in Bama local government to the governor. Alh. Tumsah noted that the facilities, including x-ray machines and a total of 240 adult beds, among other items which will fully furnish the hospital.

Receiving, the items, Gov. Shettima thanked the presidential committee for the intervention, noting that it will help fast-track the ongoing reconstruction works and subsequent resettlement of internally displaced persons.

He further explained that his government is determined to resettle all displaced persons by May 29, 2018, having failed to do that last year.

‘Our government is determined to see that by May 29, we have resettled all displaced persons to their communities’, the governor said.

He called on the committee to extend similar interventions in its next tranche to other local governments of the state where reconstruction works are ongoing, including Askira Uba, Chibok, Konduga and Marte, among others.

Since its inauguration in 2016 by the federal government, PCNI has made several interventions across various sectors particularly in areas of reconstruction, education, healthcare and peace-building in the North East region.

Alh. Tumsah had re-echoed recently that 6 billion Naira has been spent in various intervention programs in the six states of the northeast region of Nigeria since the inception of the Theophilus Danjuma led committee.

RECOVERED LOOTS SHOULD BE DIVERTED TO HOUSING SECTOR- ADEBAYO

Barrister Festus Adebayo, is the President of Shelter Rights Initiative and the convener of Abuja International Housing Show. In this interview with TOPE SUNDAY, He bares his mind on some critical issues in the housing sector.

As a Lawyer, what led you into advocacy for housing development?
The situation is not interesting, if you go from Lagos to Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, you will see the way people are living. In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), many empty houses are not occupied. During weekends, the traffic is less congested, which points to the fact that people move to the outskirts from the city; because they can’t afford rents in the city. A situation where a civil servant can’t afford to own a house after 25years in the civil service is very pathetic. As a lawyer, it is the poor condition of living by many Nigerians that’s made me an advocate for housing development in Nigeria. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria demands that government should provide shelter for its citizens, but when government is not living up to its responsibilities, some of us have to rise and remind the government of this particular duty. It is the importance of housing that has led me to the position I find myself today- an advocate for Nigerians to be housed.

Read More: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

With the efforts you have put into organizing the annual Abuja international Housing Show and your advocacy work, are you satisfied with housing development in Nigeria?
My objectives have not been achieved. Alhaji Lateef Jakande the former governor of Lagos state built 30,000 low cost houses during his tenure. He is still alive and will not be happy that no government has come near since he built those 30,000 low cost houses. He was the first and last to have ever done that in the history of Nigeria. So, my objectives have not been achieved.

However, we’re creating the awareness every day and we’re sending signals to the local, state and federal governments. We’re engaging government agencies in charge of housing every day, the National Assembly members, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Mortgage Bank, primary mortgage institutions that are in the system. As I speak with you, the only thing we’ve been able to achieve is the engagement and awareness we’re creating that is bringing some of them to respond. Today, we can boast of the Ministry of Housing in some states in Nigeria. It was never the case before.

The only set back we have is at the federal level, where we used to have Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, but all of a sudden, the APC government changed it to Ministry of Works, Power & Housing. All the ministries were merged under Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN. But states like Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Enugu, Rivers and many other states in the northern part of the country have specialized ministries whose responsibility is on housing because they see it as important. So with this we can say we have achieved something in that regards. The advocacy will continue until the appropriate authorities do the right thing by providing affordable housing and affordable mortgage system to Nigerians. We won’t stop until a graduate can walk into the nearest mortgage bank and get himself enlisted to own a house.

What is your assessment of the APC led government at reducing Nigeria’s housing deficit?
I score them average. There is no pass mark for them. As the APC government plans to return to power 2019, Nigerians are interested in what the government has done in the area of housing. It promised and failed, so the government should go to the drawing board and tell Nigerians why it failed and proffer solutions because a lot of Nigerians are living in slums and need better houses.
But what is the way out of this huge housing challenge that Nigeria faces?

The housing deficit in the country is more than 17million housing deficit, but the factor responsible is the lack political will by successive governments in Nigeria to give the housing sector the desired attention. If there is a political will on the part of the government, it would have demonstrated what it did or what it is doing in Agricultural sector too.


The Anchor Borrowers Scheme policy was formulated and implemented for farmers to get loan at nine percent to make accessible and affordable and stress free for farmers. If it is extended to housing, it will therefore be easier for a developer to take a loan and build at a lesser rate. Developers building at nine and 23 percent respectively will have different results. So, if the government has the political will, it would have told CBN what to do. It is just to send letters to the commercial banks for every unused fund, pension money or money recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to be diverted to the housing sector at six percent or single digit interest. Any developer that has evidence of financial capability should be given access to land. Development control should stop granting building approval as a source of making money. Instead they should facilitate housing development. The money people pay for building approval, interest rate etc. are some of the reasons houses cannot be afforded by the people who need them.

Experts in the built environment are now advocating for subsidy for the sector. What is your take on this?
Maybe they are talking about intervention fund. Subsidy is a scam, as we see in the petroleum sector with queues everywhere in our filling stations. We are clamoring for intervention funds for the housing. It must go beyond the level of National Housing Fund. The latter is a deduction of 2.5 percent of basic salary of workers every month and that is what Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria is managing. What we are saying is that government should be committed so that people can have access to a pool of funds to borrow. The money could come from one percent of our budget or from pension fund or from the unclaimed money in banks or billions being recovered by the EFCC. They should be made accessible to Nigerians for affordable housing. For Nigerians to benefit from the anti-corruption regime of buhari, the government should divert the recovered money to the housing sector.

What other problems would you say is confronting the sector?
The cost of building materials is also creating problems for developers. When cement is sold at #2,400 per bag, how is it possible to talk about affordable housing? Can’t we search for an alternative to cement? What is our research Centre’s doing? Do you mean that after many years in the established research Centre’s our Professors can’t provide alternative to cement, that we can’t build a house without cement? That’s the reason Abuja Housing Show every year brings people all over the world, especially countries that are doing very well in the area of housing, like Malaysia, Singapore, Canada etc. We bring them to Abuja Housing Show to rub minds with them on how to do it better.

‘ARCON dissolution case: We never took ARCON to court – NIA President

The president of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, NIA, Festus Adibe Njoku, an architect, has disowned recent publications in Nigeria’s newspapers that the institute took its regulatory body, Architects Registration Council of Nigeria, ARCON, to court.

Making the clarification in Lagos at the weekend, Njoku, who was elected president of the institute in November last year, explained that four individuals, namely: Arc. Tonye Braide who is the immediate past president of NIA, Arc. Abimbola Ajayi, Arc. David Majekodunmi and Arc. Dike Emmanuel, in their individual capacity, went to court, challenging that the regulatory body, having been dissolved, according to them, does not have the power to invite them to a disciplinary hearing, insisting that at no time, between last year and two years ago, did NIA take ARCON to court.

According to him, as citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, they have a right to go to court as individuals, but that at no time did the Council mandate them to go to court and that there was no time they stated that they were representing NIA.

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“Even the judgment did not say NIA but only mentioned these four people. The story in itself is correct, but the headline is what is not correct and I would want this corrected. If you are saying four officials of NIA took ARCON to court, then you have a correct heading. NIA never took ARCON to court, neither did it say that ARCON has been dissolved.

“Rather, four members of NIA went to court to say that ARCON has actually been dissolved and they lost the case. So, kindly correct it that NIA at no time took ARCON to court. The judgment you are talking about is with four members of the institute that took ARCON to court and they lost it. Putting it under a general NIA is very wrong,” Njoku clarified.

He narrated that “It all started when the immediate past president, Tonye Braide, set up an education board that introduced people who just did their exams in 2014 to be in examination board in 2015. The regulatory body in turn, faulted the act and requested that the people be removed from the examination board. This, however, was not granted, leading to the regulatory body not recognising the examination.”

He stressed that it affected the September 2016, March 2017 and September 2017 sets. “The regulatory body now said, we want to see all the documents pertaining to the exam; their registration and project. Since, I came in as president on November 25, those documents were sent to the regulatory body by December 22nd for them to go through the process of qualifying them for the exam. The moment they finish, they will register the candidates who are found qualified.”

Responding to whether the action of the regulatory body does not constitute a bottleneck to candidates, he remarked that you don’t say because somebody is suffering too much and go ahead to pass him. ARCON, he maintained, would be the one to register those candidates as well as be the one to give them a number that qualifies them to practice.

He stated further that henceforth, the body will not be conducting two exams, but one, adding that after the clearing of the backlogs that caused the problem, the exam would take place anytime within the year (2018).

ARCON, he said, has not finally come up with registered candidates, pointing out that they cannot go further until they are registered. He said that is the process of reuniting the institute, he noted.

NIA president stated that they would reposition themselves as the pacesetters of the profession within the continent, having suffered credibility setback recently. “Once we have done that, we would regain the respect that the country commands,” he noted.

KUALA LUMPUR DECLARATION ON CITIES 2030

We, the participants of the Ninth session of the World Urban Forum — representing  national, subnational and local governments, parliamentarians, civil society, older persons, women, youth, children, persons with disabilities, grassroots groups, indigenous peoples and local communities, private sector, foundations and philanthropies, international and regional organizations, academia, professionals and other relevant stakeholders — gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to localize and scale up the implementation of the New Urban Agenda as an accelerator to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Led by a strong spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation, we share our aspirations for the future of Cities 2030 as the Cities for all where no-one and no place is left behind.

To this end, we call for the deployment of all efforts, means and resources available towards the operationalization of the concept of cities for all, ensuring that all inhabitants, of present and future generations, without discrimination of any kind, are able to inhabit and produce just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements to foster prosperity and quality of life for all.

We believe that global, regional, national and local implementation frameworks of the New Urban Agenda being formulated since its adoption should be supported by key enablers capable of unlocking positive transformation, such as:

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  • Strengthening the role of subnational and local governments, urban governance systems that ensure continuous dialogue among different levels of government and participation of all actors, and increasing multilevel and cross-sectoral coordination, transparency and accountability.
  • Encouraging sharing of creative solutions and innovative practices which enable a shift in mindset necessary to drive change.
  • Building inclusive partnerships and strengthening age and gender responsive environments to ensure meaningful participation and engagement at all levels.
  • Adopting integrated territorial development, including through appropriate urban planning and design instruments, to ensure sustainable management and use of natural resources and land, appropriate compactness and density, diversity of uses, and revitalization of cultural heritage.
  • Deploying monitoring and reporting mechanisms, including assessment of impacts, that encourage best practices for effective policy making.

We draw attention to the persistent challenges faced by our cities and human settlements, such as:

  • Limited opportunities and mechanisms for youth, women and grassroots organizations, as well as other civil society organizations, local, subnational and national governments, international and regional bodies to work together in planning, implementation and monitoring;
  • Inequitable access to the city, including to decent jobs, public space, affordable and adequate housing and security of land tenure, safe, efficient and accessible public transport and mobility systems, infrastructure and other basic services and goods that cities offer;
  • Insufficient protection from human rights violations, including forced evictions, and inadequate inclusion of people living in poverty, persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups in urban planning, design, and legislation processes;
  • Gender inequalities in urban economic and leaderships spheres.

We recognize that today we face emerging challenges that require urgent actions, including:

  • Recognizing that crises are increasingly urban, which calls for inclusive urbanization tools adapted to local contexts and to the nature of natural and human made disasters and conflicts, as well as to guide humanitarian assistance, fast track recovery, and contribute to building and sustaining peace.
  • Managing the complexities of increased migration into cities, at all levels, leveraging positive contributions of all and using more inclusive planning approaches that facilitate social cohesion and create economic opportunities;
  • Understanding the impact of new technologies and potential of open and accessible data, which require governance and design models that help to ensure no one is left behind;
  • Addressing growing social and cultural inequalities, lack of access to economic opportunities, that are increasingly manifested in cities.
  • Responding to environmental degradation and climate change concerns.

Actionable recommendations

We, the participants of the WUF9, leveraging the advantage of the Forum, which convenes thousands of decision makers, key actors, stakeholders and communities, generated a wealth of ideas.

We encourage the acceleration of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda through:

Frameworks

  1. Encourage the formulation of implementation frameworks for the New Urban Agenda at all levels, including monitoring mechanisms, providing a coordinated space for an effective contribution from all stakeholders, aligning to the efforts and actions of the 2030 Agenda and other international, regional, national, subnational and local development frameworks.
  1. Support the creation and consolidation of inclusive platforms and agendas for dialogue among all levels of government, decision makers and stakeholders such as regional, national and local Urban Forums and committees that can strengthen policy review and assessment of impacts. These can also foster exchange of experiences and cooperation, as well as scaling up voluntary commitments and actions from all partners.
  1. Further develop and advocate for integrated territorial development, which includes integration of sectoral policies, institutions and investment; integration among the different spheres of government; spatial integration across the urban-rural continuum; improved coordination across actors; and enhanced alignment of national, subnational and local policies with international agendas.
  1. Adapt innovative and robust mechanisms for the diversification and expansion of the means of implementation, to cater for complex and integrated approaches promoted by the New Urban Agenda. Technological innovations and improvements, research, capacity building, technical assistance and partnership development, among others, may require enhanced resourcing.

Governance and partnerships

  1. Adopt multiple collaborative governance mechanisms that actively engage national, subnational and local governments, all groups of society, including youth, women and grassroots organizations and particularly the excluded, vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. This work in solidarity is critical to promote more buy-in and co-responsibility in the activities towards sustainable urban development, and to ensure the sustainability of the results.
  1. Promote multi-stakeholder constituency-based coalitions to use the implementation of the New Urban Agenda to better prevent, prepare, and respond to urban crises.

Innovative solutions

  1. Foster a culture of creativity and innovation to be embedded in the way cities and human settlements operate.
  1. Develop monitoring and data collection mechanisms, including community generated data, to enhance availability of information and disaggregated and comparable data at city, functional urban areas and community levels. This would promote informed and evidence-based decision making and policy formulation, assessing progress and impact at all levels.
  1. Create an enabling environment and develop capacities for scaling up of good practices including municipal finance, sustainable private and public investments in urban development and job creation, and generating value while advancing the public good.
  1. Adopt accessibility and universal design as core principles into national, subnational and local action plans for implementing the New Urban Agenda through inclusive, accessible and participatory processes and consultations.

We, the participants of the Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum, recognize the value of the Forum convened by UN-Habitat as an inclusive platform to collect inputs from a broad range of stakeholders and to feed these into annual and quadrennial reporting on progress in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

We call to further develop the role of UN-Habitat as a focal point in the United Nations system to support all countries and mobilization of stakeholders in the implementation, follow up and review of the New Urban Agenda, including through scaled up normative support.

We thank the Government of Malaysia, the City of Kuala Lumpur, and UN-Habitat for organizing the Forum, and commit to provide continuous cooperation to the next hosts, the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the city of Abu Dhabi.

Kuala Lumpur, 13 February 2018

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