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SunTrust Bank Appoints Jibril Aku, as Board Chairman

The Board of SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited (SunTrust Bank) has appointed Mr. Jibril J. Aku as Board Chairman, succeeding Chief Charles Onyema Ugboko who retired upon attaining the retirement age.

According to Muhammad Jibrin, CEO of the bank, in a statement obtained yesterday by THISDAY, “The Board and Management of SunTrust Bank most sincerely thank Chief Charles Ugboko for his astute leadership and contributions to the Bank.

“Under his guidance, the Bank defined its strategic direction and made significant strides in executing its Fintech vision. We wish Chief Ugboko well in all his future endeavours.”  

Commenting on his successor, the outgoing Chairman, Ugboko, expressed delight at the appointment of Aku as Chairman saying: ‘Jibril Aku is a seasoned banker who has also had significant Board experience in the banking and financial industry generally.

“This combination will significantly benefit both management and the Board. I worked with him at Afribank and I have no doubt that as Chairman of the Board of SunTrust he will ensure that the Bank continues to execute and actualise the defined strategic initiatives which we began.”

Aku has over 34 years banking experience with 24 years spent in senior management levels.

Prior to joining the board of SunTrust Bank, he served as Group Head, Strategy at Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, in Lome, Togo and, was also Managing Director/CEO of Ecobank Nigeria Limited from 2010-2015. He is on the board of FMDQ OTC PLC as Vice Chairman.

Prior to joining the Ecobank Group, he was the Executive Director Operations and Information Technology at Former Afribank Nigeria Plc.

Before joining the former Afribank, he was at Citibank Nigeria where he served in various capacities and departments and attained the position of Vice President and Country/ Regional Treasurer.

Aku graduated from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, with a Second class (Upper) bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and holds an MBA degree from the University of Benin.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and various professional bodies. He was awarded Doctor of Science in Business Administration (D.Sc.) Honoris Causa by Achievers University, Ondo State.

Group Hails  Umahi’s Developmental Strides

A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the Centre for Reform Education Initiative (CREI) has applauded what it termed ‘excellent developmental strides” of Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. Dave Umahi since assumption of office, especially in  critical sectors as education, health , massive road  network construction and agriculture .

The group in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Hon. Chinwe Ugwu, and made available newsmen in Enugu noted that  “Governor Umahi has within a short time turned Ebonyi State into a huge construction site, thereby placing the once ‘obscure state on the world map.”

Ugwu who expressed satisfaction with Umahi’s administration’s policy of achieving positive results where others fail to make impact added that the Governor’s trademark was setting targets and attaining within record time.

 The statement read thus: “As a developmental organisation, we have been following developments in Ebonyi state since May 29, 2015 and I must say we are not disappointed because Governor Dave Umahi has proven that he is an embodiment of knowledge and paragon of excellence by the massive infrastructural development in the state.

“We are impressed with the achievements the Governor has recorded so far with Ebonyi now becoming an el dorado of the South East region and a reference point to good governance in the entire country. The road network in Abakiliki and other towns as well as provision of potable water in most communities by this government must not go unnoticed”, she stated.

Ugwu, also applauded  the Governor for improving the welfare of civil servants in the state especially in the prompt payment of salaries adding that the agricultural revolution currently on going is unprecedented.

“Unlike other states where civil servants have been working without pay for many months, Governor Umahi has instead placed a high premium on the welfare of workers in the state and salaries are paid as and when due. Strikes have now become a thing of the past.

“Again, it is commendable to learn that the state government is paying the counterpart funding of about 12,000 Ebonyi civil servants to enable them benefit from agriculture. For those who are not indigenes of the state, the government provides land. This cuts across all civil servants both at the federal level.”

CREI applauded the agricultural policy of the Umahi administration, which, according to the Executive Director, had etched the name of the Ebonyi in the Guinness Book of Record as the state with the highest number of rice milling centres in the whole of West Africa in addition to being the biggest rice-producing states in the federation. 

Ugwu equally  pointed  out the agricultural programme of the administration tagged ‘one man, one hectare’, whereby every inhabitant of the state is encouraged to be a farmer with at least a hectare of land.

 According to her, it was gratifying that Ebonyi State boasts of over 250 hectares of arable land particularly for rice farming. 

In the area of job creation, Hon. Ugwu noted that the effort of the Umahi administration in creating jobs especially for the youths and women was innovative. She particularly acknowledged the recent programme, which targeted over 3,000 women and youth who were mentored and funds provided for them to set up small scale businesses to enable them eke out a living.

The group also  commended the Governor’s effort in the health sector explaining that the establishment of a school of nursing by the administration was the a timely decision,

“Again, we noticed with amazement the speed at which the Governor has improved security in the state. There is a remarkable reduction in the crime rate in the state and this has made Ebonyi the safest place to live and do business in the whole of South East if not the country at large.

“We therefore call on the people of the Salt of Nation to continue to support His Excellency, Governor Dave Umahi to liberate Ebonyi from the shackles of poverty and under development. We at CREI believe that the Governor is capable because he has proven in less than three years that he can”, she stated.

Abuja master plan: FCTA to host stakeholders’ conference

In order to address critical issues arising from the implementation and abuse of the FCT master plan, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration will host a stakeholders’ conference.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT minister, Cosmos Uzodinma, the theme of the conference is “Repositioning Abuja for the Development of a Sustainable City,” and will hold within the first half of 2018.

“In her memo to the Exco, the Director of Urban and Regional Planning Department, Mrs Zalihatu Ahmed, identified the challenges in the implementation of the Abuja master plan by past administrations which resulted in a myriad of problems.
Some of the problems she noted include: unprecedented population explosion, land use conversion and distortion, non-adherence to the provisions of planning laws and regulations, funding challenges and resettlement issues among others, the statement added.
It also said the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) and other concerned organs of the administration have been urged to implement the report of the committee set up to look into the problem of uncompleted and abandoned buildings in the FCT.

Bitcoin fever hits US real estate market

As of the end of last year, the digital currency was listed as a way to pay for some 75 properties for sale, especially in south Florida and California, according to the real estate firm Redfin.

“Bitcoin accepted” is a message now seen in the description of homes for sale in the Miami area.

One seller is going even farther, saying he will take only bitcoin (33 of them to be exact) for his half-million-dollar downtown condo in the Florida metropolis.

Bitcoin has been on a roller coaster ride of late, shooting up to nearly $20,000 a piece in mid-December and then dropping sharply around Christmas. It started the year at around $14,000.

Its use in real estate transactions is novel, and agents are wary because of its high volatility.

“I’d be blown away if a year from now we see hundreds of real estate transactions in bitcoins,” said Jay Parker, Florida CEO for the Douglas Elliman brokerage agency.

Still, such transactions can be useful for foreigners who want to invest in the United States and cannot otherwise do so, said economist and bitcoin expert Charles Evans of Barry University.

“This seems to be driven by international investors who are circumventing inefficient banking and currency controls at home, and by US cryptocurrency enthusiasts,” Evans told AFP.

“The governments in those countries restrict the amount of money that their residents are allowed to transfer abroad through the banking system. Bitcoin enables individuals there to bypass such restrictions,” he added.

This could be a draw for investors, who even before the bitcoin rage were already hot on the real estate market in south Florida.

Nearly half of all foreign buyers of property in south Florida are from Latin America.

According to the National Association of Realtors, over the past five years, investors from Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina—in that order—have led purchases in this part of the state.

Money laundering?

Bitcoin offers another advantage for some foreign investors: it lets them dodge US economic sanctions.

Evans cited the example of Venezuela, which imposes strict currency controls and is enduring runaway inflation that surpassed 2,600 percent in 2017.

What is more, many senior officials in the government of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro have been hit by sanctions imposed by Washington, which considers his administration a dictatorship.

Evans said there is also a lot of interest in bitcoin among Iranians, whom he described as “doubly hit” with restrictions in Iran and international sanctions.

It is an open secret that money laundering fuels the real estate market in south Florida. But instead of hiding the practice, bitcoin could have the opposite effect.

The crypto currency “is a terrible medium for large-scale money laundering, because all bitcoin transactions are recorded in the publicly available transaction record known at the Blockchain,” said Evans.

Although bitcoin has been associated with the drug trade and cyber attacks, Blockchain “leaves a lot of fingerprints,” former Florida representative Jose Felix Diaz told Politico.

“So if you’re using it for illegitimate reasons, the state and the federal government should have every tool at their disposal to go after you,” Diaz said.

Last year, Diaz sponsored a bill-turned-law that includes bitcoin in Florida’s laws for fighting money laundering.

Real estate agent Parker also said money laundering via bitcoin is far from posing a risk because “the beneficial owners of the real estate are always going to be able to be traced.”

Parker said the fad of doing real estate deals in bitcoin could be as volatile as the currency itself.

“I think it’s a gimmick. There’s not much risk. The only risk is if the currency crashes before you can liquidate it,” said Parker.

“I think the people that are using bitcoins to try to market their properties are doing it with the very purpose of getting you to write about it, getting their properties exposure,” said Parker.

Edo gives ultimatum to land occupiers

Edo State government has given illegal occupiers of its land ten days ultimatum to quit or forfeit their property. The Chief of Staff to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Taiwo Akerele who read the riot act stated this at the premises of Benin Technical College, Benin City, where several portions of the state’s land have been taken over by businessmen and private developers.
He expressed shock that individuals and groups could convert the land mass allocated to the school and perfected 50 years ago to private uses.“There is a survey plan that was approved in 1966 and signed by the Surveyor General in 1967 that is 50 years ago specifically to accommodate the Benin Technical College. The land starts from opposite Dewosco straight to Ikpoba River and over the years, the school has operated from here. After sometimes, Iyobha College was also established and located within the perimeter of the land, then Eweka Grammar School as well as a primary school.

“ But some people have taken laws into their hands by encroaching into the Benin Technical College land. There is a cattle ranch, a sawmill and temporary shelters but we have seen permanent structures and private houses built inside the land.

This is unacceptable to government. He added: “We are fencing the school 100 percent and we have come to sensitise the people in this place to move out otherwise the property automatically becomes that of government because there is no evidence to show that government actually approved this land to any of them. We don’t want any of them to lose anything particularly those who are doing sawmill and those raring cattle”.

Reacting, some of the occupants claimed they have been there for over two decades and have been paying revenue to Egor local government, stressing that a private developer said the land was sold to him.

Bishop Oyedepo to build Africa’s biggest housing estate for Church members.

Living Faith Church bought 24 Villages to house the ongoing Canaan city Project which would serve as residence for Church members in 15,000 buildings. The Church would also construct a Four way express from Lafenwa to Ayobo to ease the traffic for people going to and from Canaan city.

Funding model: The Church buys the land, lays the pipes, Construct the Roads and parks, build the Health Center, Secondary School etc The Houses would be Constructed by the Construction Consortium with their own Money. Interested members pays the Church, Church holds the money and give to the Construction agencies as they deliver on the construction.

The new 8,000 hectares of land acquired by him to build his proposed Africa’s biggest housing estate in Ado-Odo/Ota local government area of Ogun State were from villagers.

The hectares of land were acquired from villages in Iyesi, Ijeba, Osuke, Faru, Olukowonjo, Idimu, Okomi, Ibeju, Lemomu, Atan, Igbesa, Lusada, Ewutagbe, Imuta, Batera, Tatowu, Ikogbo, Imoshe, Igbo-Ota and stretches to Lafenwa and Olugbodo.

Furthermore, our source also squealed that part of the reasons Oyedepo acquired some of the land from villages that link Lafenwa to Ayobo is to construct a highway that will be a four-lane express.

This, we learnt, will ease the heavy traffic they always encounter when coming to Canaanland to worship.

On Sunday, February 6, 2011, one of the representatives of Idimu village, Mr. Segun Oke, confirmed the land acquisition. “Yes, it is true that Bishop David Oyedepo acquired hectares of land from about 24 villages to build Canaan City. The lands are actually more than 8,000 hectares, because in some of the villages, he got more than a thousand hectares. Our own clan is Idimu and I can tell you categorically that he got the land at the rate of — — per acre. The family heads were Ikibawo and Ileshe. We were all paid with Intercontinental Bank cheques. I can tell you that he is also constructing a four-lane expressway that will link Canaanland to Ayobo, Lagos. As regards where the land owners have relocated, Ado-Ode/Ota has an expanse of land and the villagers still have spare lands around the village.”

Bishop David Oyedepo is currently building Africa’s biggest housing estate in Ota, Ogun State known as Canaan City.

The architect turned preacher of the Word acquired about 8,000 hectares of land for the project. The land has already been fenced. That alone cost tge church 1 billion naira, as its perimeter length is about 400km.

The houses are of six types and range from 3-bedroom flats of N4.9 million, duplex of N37.13m, semi-detached duplex of N24.2m, terrace house of N15.41m, high cost apartment of N24.62m, medium cost apartment of N8.22m to executive villas of N45.5 million. Other facilities inside the Canaan City would include a police station, banks, shopping centres, parks, swimming pools for each block and flats and villas, plus Covenant University Teaching Hospital. The record breaking 15,000 housing units will be handled by a Consortium of 10 Indigenous and Foreign Construction agencies.

The first set of units are already being completed.

ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW CONGRATULATES ABUBAKAR SULEIMAN ON HIS APPOINTMENT AS STERLING BANK MANAGING DIRECTOR

The Organizer of Abuja International Housing Show – Largest Housing Event in Africa and Owners of Housing Television on AIT has congratulated the newly appointed Managing Director of Sterling Bank PLC Mr. Abubakar Suleiman.
In a Statement made available to the press in Abuja on Friday, the organizer of Abuja International  Housing Show described Mr. Sulaimon as a Housing friendly personality who made it possible for Sterling Bank to win the Housing Friendly Bank of the Year at the 2017 Abuja International Housing Show/ Nigeria Housing Awards
The Abuja International Housing  Show through its managing director, Bar. Festus Adebayo said the non interest banking for Housing Finance should be sustained by the Bank for the interest of affordable Housing delivery in Nigeria.


About Abubakar Suleiman
• Abubakar Suleiman obtained a degree in Economics at the University of Abuja. He also has a Masters degree in Major Program Management from the University of Oxford. In addition he has attended various executive education programs at INSEAD, Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and Said Business Schools.
• He began his career as a Staff Assistant at Arthur Andersen (now KPMG Nigeria) from August 1996 to December 1997. He then moved to MBC International Bank (now First Bank) where he worked as a Management Associate between February 1998 to Agust 1999. He later worked in Citibank Nigeria in roles spanning Treasury and Asset & Liability Management Between January 2000 and October 2003.
• Abubakar joined Sterling Bank (then known as Trust Bank Africa) in 2003 with responsibility for Treasury and Finance. Following the merger in 2006, he was appointed Group Treasurer; a position he held until 2011 when he assumed the role of Integration Director – tasked with managing and integrating Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB) into Sterling.
• He was named Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in 2012, and appointed an Executive Director in April 2014 with responsibility for the financial performance of the Company; and directly overseeing the Finance and Performance Management, Strategy and Innovation, Brand Management and Communication, and Human Resource Management Department.
• Prior to this, he was also appointed Sponsor, Islamic Projects in November 2003 where he was charged with developing Islamic finance products.

Ambode pledges to compensate owners of demolished buildings in four weeks

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday pledged to pay compensations to owners of buildings demolished to facilitate construction.The governor, who spoke at the 10th Quarterly Town Hall meeting, said he would begin the payment in the next four weeks.He added that henceforth, such displaced persons would be relocated before construction begins.He disclosed that his government would not embark on any development without carrying the people along.

While promising to prioritise education and healthcare, he added that he would stimulate the economy and create employment.He said: “Despite the harsh economy, our state’s budget performed at 82 per cent. The total revenue generated was N503.7billion, representing a performance of 78 per cent.

“The total recurrent expenditure was N281.33billion, which is a performance of 92 per cent. Also, the total capital expenditure stood at N387.60billion or 76 per cent performance.
“With this, we initiated and delivered many high impact projects and critical infrastructure aimed at making life easier for the people. We disbursed funds to small businesses and individuals to stimulate the economy.”Ambode commended the people whose support enabled him to perform well last year.

On security, he said the government has taken strategic steps to secure the residents, adding that killer herdsmen would not have a space in the state.The governor revealed that the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund disbursed N4.5billion to 5,500 beneficiaries in 2017, who also received training on financial literacy and business management. He said in fulfilling the promise to students in tertiary institutions across the state, N635.5million was disbursed to 8,419 students across the state.

“Our government acquired healthcare equipment worth N2.5 billion. The equipment would strengthen the capacity of our health facilities to render improved health services and also facilitate the smooth take off of the Lagos State Health Scheme. “In order to meet the needs of the youth in the area of technical and vocational development, we have approved the establishment of three new technical colleges, bringing the numbers to eight,” he said.

Meanwhile, the governor yesterday sacked three of his commissioners, and appointed five new ones.In a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, the three affected cabinet members are Mrs. Adebimpe Akinsola, Mr. Femi Odubiyi and Mr. Anifowoshe Abiola.The newly appointed commissioners are Mr. Hakeem Fahm (Ministry of Science and Technology), Mr. Ladi Lawanson (Ministry of Transportation), Mr. Segun Banjo (Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget), Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye (Ministry of Commerce and Industry), and Mr. Hakeem Sulaiman (Communities and Communications).

Among those redeployed were Mr. Rotimi Ogunleye, from Commerce and Industry to Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, from the Ministry of Information and Strategy to Tourism, Arts and Culture and Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, from Communities and Communication to Information and Strategy.

Others were Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi Etti, from the Ministry of Wealth Creation to the Environment, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf from Youth and Social Development to Wealth Creation and Mr. Agboola Dabiri, from Central Business District to Youth and Social Development.
Also redeployed were Dr. Samuel Adejare from the Ministry of the Environment to Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Engr. Ade Akinsanya, from Waterfront Infrastructure Development to Works and Infrastructure.

The statement added that Mr. Benjamin Olabinjo was moved as Special Adviser, Commerce and Industry to Civic Engagement, while Mr. Kehinde Joseph was redeployed from Special Adviser, Civic Engagement to Housing.

Mr. Deji Tinubu, Special Adviser Sports has been redeployed as Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce and Industry, while Mr. Anofiu Elegushi was moved as Special Adviser, Transport to become Special Adviser, Central Business District.

Government Should Separate Ministry Of Power, Works And Housing – Wike

Mr. Emma Okas Wike is currently the second vice president of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, the founding as well as the principal partner of the firm of Emma Wike & Partners. In this interview with EMMANUEL BADEJO, he bares his mind on sundry issues that affect real estate in Nigeria. EXCERPT:

How can real estate sector in Nigeria receive a boost in 2018?

The government should provide the enabling environment for the real estate sector to do well. I don’t support the view that government should go into direct construction of houses but it should encourage the private sector to take on that while it creates enabling environment. The government should always meet and consult with the professionals for advice. The government at all levels should embark on valuing their assets with the purpose of payment of tax. The government should diversify from oil and gas to other sectors of the economy. I am convinced that if we diversify, it will boost the economy enormously.

Don’t you think call for a Valuer-General in Nigeria will further worsen government’s bottlenecks in real estate matter?

The issue of a Valuer-General in Nigeria has long been overdue. The coordination of all valuation tasks in Nigeria is still porous, and the appointment of a competent Valuer-General will reduce this gap. Take for instance; we have an office known as Surveyor-General in Nigeria. This office takes care of all land matters in Nigeria. The same way, if there is a Valuer-General, the office will help the country with the issue of land and real estate issues. This is much more needed, as the world has become a global village. With this office in place, the challenges with information on all real estate matters would have been significantly addressed.
Also, the usual acrimony that trails compensation would be better handled. This will help investment and invariably, the nation’s economy. This office will also take on data generation and management. The Valuer-General will again play key roles in government’s policies on housing and real estate.

Do you support unbundling the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing?

Government should separate the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. We have since been calling for this and I think President Muhammadu Buhari should consider this as a matter of urgency. Lumping them together is not good for the nation. This may have also been responsible for snail pace at which this government is moving. There is no way we can get good results if this ministry remains as one.

Two bills that affect your profession are before the National Assembly. One, is on facility management and other is on valuation. What is your stand on these bills?

Fortunately, I was among the delegate that went for Council for Facility Management in Nigeria. Our position is that, facility management is a multidisciplinary profession and we are not claiming that we possess the sole right to it. What we are saying is that there is a law in existence that created the Estate Surveying and Registration Board of Nigeria and that law empowers estate surveyors and valuers to coordinate the facility management job even if experts in other fields intend to undertake such role.

In essence, there should not be another regulatory body for that purpose, as ESVARBON, which is backed by law, is still in place. Therefore, creating another regulatory body is tantamount to duplicating the role of Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board. Secondly, bringing in another regulatory body is a way of relieving estate surveyors and valuers of their statutory and constitutional duties. Facility management is part of our roles, though we know and agree that some engineers, architects and other professionals may come in, but a qualified and registered estate surveyors and valuers should coordinate that sector. We have already made our position known and we are happy that the committee listened to us. All over the world, there is no body that regulates facility management other than estate surveyors and valuers.

On the issue of the bill on valuation, being pursued by COREN, we have been on this matter for a very long time. Luckily, for us one of our members had taken the matter to court and we won. The court then said that it is only the estate surveyors and valuers that have the legal and professional competence to place value on anything to be valued. For them to reopen this agitation is simply a step not in right direction. If they were not satisfied with the verdict of the court, they should have appealed, though I am not a lawyer, I think, the time within which to appeal has elapsed. Bringing same issue through the back is not acceptable. We are countering this request and we shall continue to do that until we see that right thing is done on this matter.

The engineers cannot come now and be seeking to become valuers through the back door, prying into other people’s profession. That is unconstitutional, unethical and unacceptable. I know that very, very soon, we shall be sending our counter motion against this.

What is happening to the Greater Port Harcourt City project?

It is moving on very well, though the state of the economy has in way affected the project. Notwithstanding, our Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has resolved to ensure that the project goes on. I can tell you that recently we signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with two investors and I know that within the first quarter 2018, they will move to site.

Presently, we have commenced the spare parts and mechanic market project. This is an ultra modern market that the Governor has graciously approved to develop and sell. The investors have already taken over the site and started clearing it. One of the benefits of the project is that it will create employment opportunities. In fact, as we speak, the host communities are already benefiting. It will also generate revenue to both the government and the investors. The government has provided the land, which is our own equity contribution to the project, while the investors will bring financial and developmental expertise. I know that in the next two or three months, physical construction would commence. I am aware that some of the materials to be used for the initial construction will be imported, while they intend to establish a factory here where the other materials would be done. What we are suffering from now has to do with raw materials. Once this is sorted out, they will build the factory here in Nigeria.

In addition, we are aware that there is another company that has shown interest to build about 2,000 housing units in Rivers State within the next one year. The Governor has been able to give the company a waver with a view of stimulating and encouraging this initiative. Some individuals have also bought land and they are to build within the Greater Port-Harcourt City project.
Certainly, the lifespan of this project will outlive the administration of Governor Wike. What has the government put in place to ensure this project does not suffer the fate of project abandonment?

In Rivers state, the Governor has introduced a new dimension by not abandoning the projects he inherited from his predecessor. While he was campaigning, he made a promise that any project that affects and benefits the lives of the people would be completed. I want to believe that since he has started this, whoever will succeed him will tow the same line. The Governor believes that government is a continuum and that, he has demonstrated in many ways.

Two, there is a law that has been vetoed by the Governor to protect this investment. Also, there is an agreement between the government and the investors. With what we have on ground, it will be difficult for anybody to discontinue such project. So, far there is a legal framework on ground; there is a contract on ground. All the arms of government are aware of the project, so, there is nothing to be afraid of.

In what ways have you contributed to boosting estate surveying and valuation in Nigeria?

Right from the time I was the assistant publicity secretary of the institute, I have been encouraging the young surveyors. I discovered that some of the candidates usually have challenges with their election as estate surveyors and valuers, not because they are not brilliant but due to stage fright and fear. So, before the election, I engage in a lot of counseling to boost their confidence level before the panel.

This has been helping out. So, I have taken it upon myself to encourage the younger professionals. As the chairman of Rivers State of NIESV, I had a policy that discouraged any of the younger professionals to remain on probation for three years. I have also been teaching our colleagues on professional conduct and ethics because I believe in correction instead of punitive measures.

Finally, I have also tried as much as possible to engage in advocacy. This I did as the chairman, Rivers State chapter of the Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers. It paid us off, to the extent that our relationship has greatly been impacted so much that the government takes us into confidence when it comes to housing and real estate issues. If God gives me the opportunity, I shall do more in the nearest future.

Expert Urges FG to Exercise Strong Political will to address Housing Deficit

A leading housing Development Advocate, Mr Festus Adebayo has appealed to the Federal Government to show commitment and exercise strong political will in ensuring speedy growth in the housing sector in 2018

Adebayo, Managing Director of FESADEB Communications Ltd., convener of the annual Abuja International Housing Show, made the appeal on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Abuja.

“For the betterment of the housing sector in 2018, the Federal Government should show strong commitment by exercising the political will to make the housing sector grow.

The expert frowned at the poor performance of the housing sector under the present administration since its inception, adding that the sector has not done well due to lack of political will.

“The performance of the housing sector since the inception of the APC government has been on the average

“Most of the estate developers in 2017 were not working.

“There was no access for loan from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) because of the closure of the Estate Development Loan (EDL) due to malpractices of some of the beneficiaries  of the facility.

The EDL is a facility granted to private developers, state housing corporations and housing cooperatives to bridge the housing deficit through mass housing.

He noted that in 2017, there was lack of political will and record of high cost of building materials, which affected development in the sector.

According to him, most of the houses constructed in 2017 were beyond the reach of ordinary Nigerian citizens.

“The civil servants up till now cannot have opportunity of having the houses within their reach.

“The issue of Land Use Act is still a barrier, access to land in the country is still a problem, and there have been cases of multiple allocation of land. All these affected the sector in 2017.

He urged the government to look into the barriers facing  FMBN  and NMRC and ensure that necessary support is  given to the banks.

Adebayo also noted that the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) Scheme, which was established in 2016, should be given the strength and vigour to assist some civil servants to achieve their homes.

He said the problem with FISH programme has to do with lack of political will on the part of the government otherwise the scheme would have attracted foreign investors who are capable of funding the developers.

Apart from that, “Most of the developers who want to build for FISH programme are crying that they do not have title that they can use to get loan from the banks.

On this note, Adebayo called on the National Assembly to urgently review the Land Use Act to enable developers have access to land for development.

He listed high cost of land and building approvals, high cost of building materials, as well as payment by the developers to various organs of government in state and federal level make houses not affordable.

“Because by the time you pay for the land, pay building approval, pay for expensive building materials and pay for double interest rate loan then the houses must have gone beyond the level of the people government want to build for.

“We also have at the National Assembly the bill that has to do with the regulation of the Real Estate Practice in Nigeria, and it is necessary the assembly gives it an urgent attention.

“The consumers in the housing sector need to be highly protected,’’ the FESADEB Boss said.

Adebayo, however, called on all the stakeholders to synergize for the sake of solving problems confronting them.

Dangote Cooperative to diversify into real estate, banking, others

As part of efforts to raise its revenue profile the management and board of the Dangote Group Staff Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (DANCOOPS) has set machinery in motion to diversify into real estate, micro credit and loans, among other business ventures.

Making this disclosure at the weekend was the President of the Society, Comrade Afolabi Kamoru. He spoke in Lagos at the Society’s 10th Annual General Meeting.

Kamoru, while giving account of his stewardship in the last two years, said his executive team has been able to change the fortunes of its members thus far from a humble beginning.

Specifically, he said: “As big as the Society is, we just secured, renovated and furnished an office space and within a short period we have been able to perfect a few things for the Society. Aside from that, we have a landed property in Mowe, with construction about to start.”
At the end of the financial year, ended December 31st, 2016, the DANCOOPS boss said, “The Society closed its books with surplus figure of N122, 369, 545, 43, which represents an increase of 46.38% over the last year’s profit.’’

Expatiating, he said: ‘’There was reduction in the interest rates to cushion the effects of the economic hardship on members, payment of unclaimed dividends as well as savings increased by N390m with both dividends and net surpluses increased by over 48%.’’

He also hinted of plans by the Society to acquire properties in strategic areas for business purposes, adding: “Already we have sent business proposals are being discussed and finalised with the SBU’s to establish Sales points of all brands of Dangote products for members. The Society is also planning to delve into finance scheme in the next two years.

“What we are looking forward now is from now to the next two years, we want to woo all Dangote staff to be members of the Cooperative. For a Society which started in 2004 with just 400 members and now 10, 000, our target is to grow it to about 15,000-20,000 members in the coming years,” he stressed.

Echoing similar sentiments, Comrade Odetunde Oluwole, two time president of the Society, said plans are in top gear to commence construction at Obajana in Benue state, Move in Ogun, Lokoja in Kogi state respectively.

“In Lagos state, we are planning to construct a housing estate, which we are about to commence. We already have Certificate of Occupancy, layout and approval. It’s just to move to site,” he said.

DANCOOPS, according to Oluwole which is made up of the following federating units namely: Dangote Industries Limited (Holding company), Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Dangote Four Mills, Dangote Oil Refinery Company Limited, Dangote Fertilizer Company of Nigeria Plc, National Salt Company of Nigeria Plc (NASCON), Dangote Cement Plc, Dangote Agro Sacks Limited, Dansa Foods Limited, A.G Dangote, Dangote Sino Truk West Africa Ltd, is also determined to branched into microfinance banking and other businesses as part of efforts to invest in lucrative ventures for the benefit of its members.

The highpoint of the occasion was the election of new executives to lead the affairs of the Society. Among those elected include, Afolabi Kamoru, who was re-elected as president, Olabode M Ojo, as Vice President, Lukmon O Yusuf, Treasurer, Bature Farman, as General Secretary, Chibueze Nwaeze, Assistant General Secretary.

Others include: Blamoh Adewale, as Assistant Financial Secretary with Ex-Officio as follows: Alh Isa S Musa, Oladipupo O Funsho, Ashonibare Ade.

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