The Housing Challenge in Nigeria

The famous Abraham Manslow’s Hierarchy of Needs places shelter as a basic need of every human. In other words without shelter man is less bothered about social activities, self-esteem or any other offerings of the society. If a man wanders all day, at some point in the dark hours nature would make a request for him to rest his body, except the man belongs in the association of chronic insomniac. Sadly, what should have been a basic provision has become a luxury in Nigeria. According to the 2011 housing survey there is a 17million housing deficit in Nigeria. Generally, housing has been a major challenge in Nigeria for decades and there seems to be a preponderance of ineffective or motionless housing policies that has led to the inability of government to address the housing challenge.

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In 1991 the government of Ibrahim Babangida promulgated the National Housing Policy, which was aimed at making housing affordable for Nigerians. As a result of the ineffectiveness of the policy in completely addressing the issues, a committee was set up in 2001 to provide a new housing policy. The report of the committee culminated in the New National Housing Policy of 2006. Yet, that policy despite the breadth of its input did not solve Nigeria’s housing challenges. In 2012 the then Minister of Housing, Dr. Ama Pepple presented a new draft policy on housing to the Federal Executive Council. The policy sought to initiate a new paradigm to the existing housing policy. The new policy proposed the collaboration between federal government and the private sector in the provision of one million houses annually in order to address the housing deficit of the country. In other words, the new policy sought to promote Public-Private-Partnership in housing for all Nigerians. Although, the new direction encouraged the participation of the private sector in the housing sector, not much was implemented before the expiration of the Jonathan’s administration.

The current administration under the leadership of Babatunde Fashola as the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, has also introduced new policy measures to address the housing challenges in the country. The foregoing shows that Nigeria has never been starved of policies in the housing sector, yet we are confronted with a high housing deficit. To provide a comparative perspective to the challenges facing Nigeria it may be instructive to examine the situation in other climes. For instance, China with a population of 1.3billion people has a housing surplus yet Nigeria with a population of about 200million has a housing deficit. Governments in many countries take the responsibility for the provision of housing through a mortgage financing system that simplifies home ownership for employed citizens, and a social security system for the unemployed.

However, housing in Nigeria has been characterised by weak land administration system, lack of access to funds and absence of a well implemented and holistic policy. In most states of the country owning a land is a cumbersome process that discourages many. In Lagos, which is the commercial nerve centre of the nation and arguably the most populated State in the country, the menace of “Omo Onile” has become a headache for prospective home owners. Although the challenge created by these land grabbers has also led to the increase in the patronage of real estate firms as those who could afford the realtors prefer to avoid the land grabbers by buying ready homes.

Available data shows that there are currently about 35 Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs), and 19 registered banks offering mortgage to customers at an interest rate of between 11 and 27 percent. Many of the commercial banks demand a down payment of 25 percent of the value of the mortgage with a repayment plan of between 10-20 years. When this is compared with China where interest rates are below 5% it is understandable why Nigeria has a housing deficit while China has a housing surplus. As a result of the high interest rate many Nigerians are compelled to own homes through personal savings or loans provided by employers. This scenario means that individuals that lack good employment cannot save for a house nor access loans to acquire a house. The weak social security system in the country also means there is currently no plan to provide homes for the poor in the society. Interestingly, housing units built for the poor in Nigeria cost between N5million and N20million. How many poor people can truly afford N500, 000 talk more of N5million to own a house in Nigeria?

The Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) established in 2013 was conceived to raise funds for housing in the country. The NMRC has been able to disburse funds to some mortgage institutions to finance the construction of housing units. However, the process of distribution and ownership of the relatively cheap housing units is still entrenched in some form of corruption. Apart from the high cost of owning the supposed low-cost homes, the distribution process does not completely ensure equity and fairness. In a country like Nigeria, whilst a powerful and well connected individual can obtain allocation of five units, the poor man on the street may not even be aware of the process needless to mention owning a unit.

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 Report, Nigeria ranks very low globally, positioned at number 169th out of 189 countries for registering property. This report is reflective of the process it takes to obtain a land title in Nigeria. In actual fact, many of the houses in Lagos and neighbouring states do not have titles not necessarily because the owners of the houses are not willing to obtain titles but because the process can be cumbersome and frustrating. In addition to the difficulty in land acquisition, building materials in the country are also expensive. Again, the high cost of building materials produced in the country such as cement is also representative of the prevailing business environment. For instance the cement manufacturing companies are also faced with issue of gas shortage to power their independent power plants; they are still faced with bad roads and a non-functional rail system, which increases the average transportation cost on every item produced. This is a pointer to the fact that the infrastructural deficit in the country affects virtually all sectors of the economy. Until there is a deliberate effort by the government to intervene in this regard, affordable homes may never be a reality for many Nigerians.

There is urgent need to review the Land Use Act to make it relevant in addressing the contemporary housing issues in Nigeria. The Senate President did indicate at the beginning of the 8th Assembly that the repeal of the Land Use Act will be prioritized in the current assembly. Sadly, the just concluded constitutional amendment fell below expectation for many in that regard. The Act needs to be repealed to alter the statutory ownership of land in the country. The current structure does not promote innovation and debilitates the growth of the housing sector in the country.

Beyond the promotion of collaboration between public and private sectors, the government also needs to ensure adherence to quality in the houses that are constructed. The 2012 housing policy that culminated in the introduction of measures aimed at promoting private sector participation has led to the upsurge in real estate firms across the country. The Lekki axis of Lagos is a testament to this increase. New estates are springing up on a daily basis. However, the weakness in our housing policy is also evident in the ill-regulated nature of some of the buildings that are daily sold to unsuspecting buyers. Many of the housing units are replete of plumbing and electrical defects. There have been cases of building collapse primarily owing to substandard materials that are being used in the construction of homes. For those buildings that make it to the finishing process with attractive exterior, not many will be aware of the possible defects of such houses. If the housing policy does not take into consideration the quality of the houses built, we may be preparing ourselves for unprecedented rate of building collapse in the years to come.

Finally, the country cannot leave housing in the hands of the private sector. Many sectors of the economy can be private sector driven but home ownership cannot be left completely in the hands of the private sector. This is because there is hardly any economy that can be completely free of the poor. Private investors cannot provide homes for the poor in the society; this is the government’s responsibility. In the same vein, Nigeria’s population has been projected to exceed 300million by 2050 making it the 3rd largest in the world, the question we should be asking is “what housing plans do we have as a nation for this huge population?” If the government fails in this regard, then we should expect to see increase in the rate of homeless people in Nigeria and especially urban cities such as Lagos.

Government must provide infrastructure – Estate Developers

Real Estate Developers are appealing to government to develop the infrastructure needs to enable them easily provide affordable housing.

According to them, it is the duty of government to provide the roads, drainage system and other infrastructure needs, since such activities are capital intensive and add to the cost of building.

Ghana’s housing sector has been faced with a worsening housing deficit of about 1.7 million units.

But Vice Chairman of Regimanuel Gray Limited, Regina Botchwey said the deficit could reduce if government intervenes.

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“About 40% of the cost of every house is infrastructure. There must be good walkways, water pipes, electricity among others,” she said, adding that it is the responsibility of government to provide such infrastructure.

She stated that there have been times developers have attempted to take on the cost but could not bear with it.

“If these are done by the developer, it costs so much. So I can’t see how we can talk about affordability. Until the authorities take up this infrastructure costs we will still have this problem. It is a major challenge for us” she stressed.

Flexible pension laws to reduce high mortgage costs

In a related development, Banks want government to amend certain aspects of the housing law to allow collaboration between them and the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to make mortgages cheaper.

According to the banks, various restrictions surrounding the tier one and tier two pension funds, hinder their ability to assist Ghanaians to access mortgages.

The call comes after President Akufo Addo in his State of the Nation Address disclosed that the NPRA and banks will design a system to make mortgages affordable.

Managing Director of HFC Bank, Anthony Jordan in an interview with Citi Business News insists this can only be realized if government amends the legislation.

Angry Gov El-Rufai Demolishes Opposition Building For Suspending Him

Governor Nasir el Rufai of Kaduna State early this morning ordered the demolition of the secretariat of the factional All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state for suspending him from the party.

PMNEWS gathered that the building being used by the APC faction called Kaduna Restoration Group, led by Senator Suleiman Hukunyi, representing Kaduna north central, was pulled down under supervision by armed policemen and soldiers.

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

Senator Hunkuyi accused El-Rufai of ordering the demolition, adding that armed soldiers blocked both sides of the road during the exercise.
Though Governor El-Rufai is yet to respond to inquiries on the demolition, a senior official of the Kaduna government who did not want his name in print confirmed that the building was demolished by the Kaduna State Urban and Property Development Agency (KASUPDA) for illegal activities.

According to him, the building was allocated for residential purposes and not for political activities.

The Senator Hunkuyi faction of the APC in the state on Thursday accused Governor of El-Rufai of anti-party activities and later suspended him for six months.

How to develop Nigeria’s real estate, by experts

Perturbed by the high level of homelessness among Nigerians, the Federal Government has been urged to establish a housing microfinance fund or shelter fund to provide affordable houses for those in need of accommodation. Establishment of housing microfinance fund, according to Social Housing Activist and International Housing Finance Specialist, Mr. Adekunle Faleti, will enable low-income earners enjoy quality housing. Faleti said if the initiative is well implemented, it will help to slow down the mushrooming of slums.

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

He advised government that stakeholders in the low-cost housing value chain in Nigeria should be trained to be able to deliver more housing through housing microfinance solutions.

Faleti enjoined the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Authority to play key roles in the initiative and strengthen it to provide the bulk of affordable housing for rent to salaried workers and others.
He noted that amongst major challenges facing the country presently, housing remains one of the biggest problems, especially for people in the bottom of the pyramid.

“A key problem in Nigeria, and indeed Africa today is that a large percentage of the citizens are in the lower class bracket and are unable to afford to acquire their own homes, and as a result are forced to rent, live in slums, squat or remain homeless,” he said.

He recalled a study carried out by the World Bank that only three per cent of Africa’s population had income viable for a mortgage, adding: “Worse yet, according to the UN Habitat (2010), about 40.32 per cent of Africa’s population live in slums.”

Faleti emphasised that housing solutions in Nigeria addressed mostly the upper-middle to upper class, noting that financial institutions tend to ignore the lower class as they are deemed high-risk and are perceived not to offer any beneficial and consistent rate of return. He added that most microfinance institutions in Nigeria have not provided any specific solution that meet the need of lower to middle income class bracket.
The mortgage banking sector in Nigeria has been confronted with numerous challenges that have impeded the attainment of its policy objective of acting as a catalyst for the development and provision of affordable housing in the country.

Some of the challenges include: Delay in accessing NHF funds/dearth of long term funds. Most of the PMBs continued to find it difficult to provide the required bank guarantee to access the NHF.

Only four out of the 42 PMBs in operations were listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange which meant that many others did not have access to long term funds through the Stock Exchange window. Another challenge is the Land Use Act, which has made the process of perfecting title to landed property burdensome, slow and costly.
That had affected negatively the foreclosure procedures on the properties pledged as collateral. Delivering a keynote address at a workshop for judicial officers on mortgage recently in Abuja, the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, noted that the land tenure system as enshrined in the Land Use Act of 1978 has deterred proper development of a robust and sustainable housing sector in Nigeria.

Emefiele also disclosed that difficulties in delivering affordable housing to low and middle income households wherein lies the greatest demand for housing as another major drawback.

The governor acknowledged limited access to housing and mortgage financing, complications in enforcing mortgage contracts and foreclosure on properties in Nigerian courts, slow bureaucratic procedures in land administration and high cost of land registration as serious impediments to adequate housing delivery in Nigeria.
He also identified high rate of population growth, high rate of rural-urban migration and exorbitant cost of construction materials as other problems militating against the robust development of housing and mortgage sectors in the country.

Taming Property Corruption With Technology

In the past, it was very difficult to steal the huge amounts of money we hear being stolen and swallowed today. Looting of public funds was minimal, and my guess is that this was because technology had not advanced to the extent that it has today. I remember back then that a notable politician once said that if he were to see just a million naira, he would froth at the mouth in a fainting fit.

The highest denomination in those days was a hundred or twenty naira note. If, therefore, there was any metaphorical snake then seeking to swallow as much as N34million, that snake would maybe have been an anaconda together with his kith and kin. After the swallow, it would have been easy to arrest them immediately because they wouldn’t disappear into thin air the way they do these days. But today, at the touch of a button, billions and billions of monies are stolen with relative ease.

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

First, the denomination is high. I am told that in some countries in the West, if you present a $500 bill, the cashier would take a record of your vital statistics and alert the FBI and the CIA. They would want to know who you are and how you got a hold of that amount. But here, you can stuff as much as a million in your jeans pocket. But today, technology has changed everything and made life easier to the extent that we do transfer of monies from one account to another while lying on the comfort of our beds. And because of the advancements in technology, you can even carry all of your life savings in a microchip aka ATM. The other method fast gaining grounds and which threatens the very fabric of our, sometimes, weak financial ecosystems is the Bitcoin or virtual money. If you have stolen money, there are three ways Nigerians and, in general, the kleptomania would stash their illegally acquired wealth: one is the Bitcoin method, safe havens and investments in the property /estate business. With the Panama Papers Leak, many illegally acquired monies and wealth stashed in offshore locations have been exposed. Just at the touch of a button, billions of dollars were wired from several locations around the world to an island (Panama) which does not even have a currency of its own. I remember then when the leak took place, a Barack Obama was said to have remarked that the tragedy was not that monies were being taken away from poor countries to rich ones but that the law and the instruments which technology bequeathed to us in the 21st Century seems to boost the swallowing of public monies by metaphorical snakes. Yet because attention is already on the Panama Papers Leak, we will try to focus on the other method through which kleptomaniacs hide their stolen wealth. After they have stolen the monies via wire, they take it out and then invest the monies in real estate in countries like Canada, Germany, the UK, Australia and Switzerland. Last year, a klepto bus ride through the highbrow streets of the UK identified some very powerful Nigerians as owners of these very expensive buildings. Now, it is proceeds from the rent accruing from these buildings which the kleptocrat brings back into the country as legitimate income. Even though the work of Nigeria’s financial anti-corruption commissions like the EFCC and the ICPC has checkmated the ease with which banks collude with politically exposed persons to swallow public funds, there are lacunae when it comes to the question of the investment of these now legitimate funds. If you take a walk around some of the streets in Maitama, Jabi and now the airport road, you see very many classy estates build with some of these dirty monies. Nobody but snakes and lizards occupy them. They are monies tied down, maybe untaxed and for which the federal government does not collect a tax. I believe that government can use technology to track ownership of these estates and take a census on them. Working with civil society, government can help CSOs track ownership of these estate and block leakages of our public finances. Monies accruing from the blockage in the system can be ploughed into critical areas of need such as health, education electricity, and other infrastructural projects. On our own in ANEEJ, a civil society organisation, we have developed a property tracker which seeks to map and share information on ownership of property in specific locations in Abuja and Nigeria. The idea is to identify ownership of what property and to determine whether such ownership meet their tax obligations to government. Corruption is a killer disease that must be fought with every known antibiotic and strategy.

Lagos Seals-Off 8 Houses, Arrests 9 Over Illegal Construction

For failing to comply with building construction processes and laws, Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, at the weekend sealed eight more houses at Ebute Metta and Surulere areas of the state. It was gathered that the agency also arrested nine people found on site during the enforcement exercise carried out in collaboration with task force officials. LABSCA had last week shutdown a Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, and several buildings in Ajegunle area of the state. The houses were sealed off at the weekend for various offences, ranging from not obtaining building permit, breaking government seals, adding additional floor without approval, among others.

Some of the building shutdown were located at No.28 Adegbenro Street, Iwaya, Yaba for failing to obtain permit and breaking government’s seal; while another building on 2 Araoti Street was shutdown for adding additional floor to the existing three-storey building without approval and for breaking government’s seal. A Gas Plant being constructed in a residential area on Borno Way, Ebute Metta was also shut for not being approved, while another four-storey building at 9 Coates Street, Ebute Metta was shutdown for adding the fourth floor without approval. A house at No. 1, Rasak Balogun Street, Surulere was shutdown after it was illegally inhabited by squatters who paid money to live inside.

Read More: 12th Abuja International Housing Show

Over 40 people were evacuated from the building being used as a guest house. People evacuated from the buildings said they paid up to N20,000 monthly to live inside, even after the building was sealed in 2017 for being distressed. One of the tenants, Beneta Joseph said she paid N20,000 monthly to live in the house and that she did not known that it had been sealed by government. Commenting on the development, the General Manager, LASBCA, Engr. Olalekan Shodeinde said the law made it clear that before erecting a building, the developer must obtain a plan approval, which most of the buildings shutdown did not have. He said all the buildings had been previously sealed, but lamented that their owners broke government’s seals to continue development illegally, which he described as a criminal offence punishable under the law. Shodeinde, who was represented by Engr. Oyewole Ganiu, Head, Enforcement Department, LASBCA said the building at I Rasak Balogun Street was shut down last year because it was distressed and that government did not want to lose any life.

China dominates global city rankings for house price growth

Chinese cities recorded the strongest mainstream house price growth in 2017 and seen the biggest rise in the prime property market, new research has found.

Price grow by more than 10% in eight Chinese cities in the mainstream market, led by
Chongqing with an increase of 58.9% and only two European cities, Amsterdam and Dublin, made the top 10 with rises of 20.9% and 12.3% respectively.

Vancouver saw annual growth of 16%, New York was up 11.7% and Shanghai up 10.7%. Paris recorded growth of 8.3%, Sydney 5.8% and London just 2.3%, according to the report from international real estate advisor Savills.

Prices were unchanged in Mumbai and Warsaw and fell in Rio de Janeiro by 4.4%, in Stockholm by 5.2%, in Shenzhen and Johannesburg by 6.3% and in Dubai by 7.9%.

Read More: 12th Abuja International Housing Show

In the prime property markets there were more falls than growth, including long established markers such as London, New York, Stockholm and Moscow but values in these cities are still higher than they were ten years ago. San Francisco was the only US city to feature in the top 10.

Chongqing also saw the highest growth in the prime sector at 48.5%, followed by Tianjin at 39.4% and Wuhan at 25.5%. Vancouver, Dublin, San Francisco and Amsterdam also make the top 10 with growth of 16%, 12.6%, 12.3% and 10.7% respectively.

Hong Kong remains world’s most expensive city for prime property at US$4,000 per square foot, followed by Tokyo at US$3,280, London US$1,770 and New York US$1,570.

‘This outperformance by the mainstream housing markets across key world cities is part of a longer term global trend. Prime values rose first and fastest after the global financial crisis, but some are now hitting a high plateau. It’s now the turn of the mainstream markets to play catch up,’ said Yolande Barnes, head of Savills world research.

‘Prime residential markets around the world reacted quickly to quantitative easing by central banks and the consequent yield shift in line with low interest rates. This was a one off yield shift and expectations are that central banks are moving towards raising rates, reducing the potential for price growth,’ she explained.

‘Importantly, while some cities have recorded small falls, we generally don’t expect these to become significant, but we do expect prices to remain relatively stable, on a high plateau for some time, though we will continue to see volatility in oil dependent economies, for example,’ she added.

According to the report cities such as Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sydney and Vancouver, which have now seen strong 10 year growth, are expected to hit a high plateau in the next year or two.

European cities such as Amsterdam, Madrid, Paris and Dublin, where prime residential value growth ranged from 5.1% to 12.6% in 2017, are poised for further price growth, though they too are expected to hit a long term peak within the next five years.

‘With large amounts of capital pointed at Hong Kong from the mainland, and held at bay only by capital controls, it is difficult to see a scenario where capital values will fall significantly,’ Barnes pointed out.

‘Equally, unless capital flows from the mainland were dramatically relaxed, it’s hard to see scope for further significant value uplifts. Prime Hong Kong residential values look set to occupy the same high plateau as many other world markets for a while,’ she explained.

Tokyo, where large, centrally-located, prime properties are rare, ranks as second most expensive for prime property, with values averaging US$3,280 per square foot after rising 10% in the year, more than five times the mainstream average of just US$630, and the biggest different between prime and mainstream across the Savills measures.

‘In future, investors will pay more attention to occupier fundamentals: not just the quantum but also the quality of demand. The biggest value differences will not be between world cities so much as between different neighbourhoods and different types of property within those cities. Tokyo is an early case in point,’ Barnes concluded.

APWEN inaugurates 15th president

The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria has inaugurated Mrs. Felicia Agubata, an employee of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency as its 15th president.

At the investiture in Lagos, on Saturday, the Managing Director, NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, said the ingenuity of women engineers in the country in ensuring stability in the system should be commended.
Akinkuotu described the new president as a woman of courage, patience and hardwork that had transformed the system in the engineering department of NAMA within her few years in the agency, adding that she had remained persistent in her profession.

He said that given the opportunity and enabling environment, women like Agubata, would continue to excel in their endeavours.
Akinkuotu also commended the leadership and members of APWEN for the investiture of Agubata as their 15th president, noting that it was an honour.

In her inaugural speech, Agubata pledged to uphold the dignity of women engineers and to serve the entire engineering profession and humanity at large.

She acknowledged the challenges ahead especially the expectations from the engineering community and stakeholders, and promised to focus on capacity building to mobilise necessary human and material resources and create value for the good of the society in line with the mission of APWEN.

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

While acknowledging the tough environment where women are regarded as the weaker sex, she vowed to remain focused.
She said, “Just think about your mother and her toils in your growing up years and the picture the 21st century woman who still plays the traditional role of a woman with joy and yet acquired the necessary professional skills.

“There is no research work that has shown conclusively that one gender is stronger or weaker than the other, both sexes when given the exposures, training and orientation, the outcome will be very interesting. To guarantee continuous progress, both sexes must complement and support each other. This will ensure that our potential as one humanity is maximised across all spheres.”
She said members of the association must also work together to meet the evolving needs of the society and to improve human experience and expand opportunities for the emerging woman.

Agubata said APWEN would continue to encourage sound engineering practice and create an avenue for women engineers to collaborate with professionals across all disciplines in the country and globally.

She said the association which was inaugurated in 1983 with current membership strength of 3000 registered female engineers, had consistently contributed to the encouragement of the girl child in taking up the sciences and mathematics to increase the prospects of studying engineering.
Agubata also congratulated the immediate past President of the association, Hauwa Sadique, for a successful tenure and vowed to follow her good examples by bringing on board more value, energy, creativity and innovation in all APWEN activities.

Trapped funds: Union Homes’ depositors petition Reps

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

Depositors of the defunct Union Homes Savings and Loans have petitioned the House of Representatives seeking help for the refund of their trapped funds in the mortgage bank.

In the petition dated February 8, 2018, the depositors said they had neither heard from Union Homes nor Aso Savings and Loans, which bought over the former since 2013.
The depositors said they had consistently appealed to Union Homes to refund their deposits to no avail, and appealed to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to order an investigation into the issue through the Committee on Public Petitions, and ensure that they get their funds as well as adequate compensation for the distress and trauma caused by the bank’s action.

Union Homes Savings and Loans, a subsidiary of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, was acquired by Aso Savings and Loans Plc after a bidding process.

The depositors, who also copied the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Central Bank of Nigeria, Public Complaints Commission, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, stated that they started saving with Union Homes in 2013 and within few years, had deposited funds running into several millions of naira.

The petition read in part, “Our distress began when Union Homes was subsequently purported to have been acquired by Aso Savings and Loans in 2015 under the auspices of the NDIC, albeit without recourse to the various depositors. We had reasonably expected that such an acquisition would naturally include assets and liabilities as far as the NDIC had given its nod of approval.

“Much to our surprise and utter disappointment, our relationship as depositors with Union Homes became estranged as links of communication and access were severed, thereby technically separating us from our deposits without any tangible explanation. Unfortunately, some depositors have been very miserable and destitute after retirement and their entire life savings have been dubiously taken from them.”

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

The Managing Director, Aso Savings and Loans, Mr. Ali Magashi, told our correspondent that his organisation was working to resolve the challenges.

He said, “Since we took over from the other management, we have been working to resolve these challenges, including the consolidation of Union Homes.

“The whole acquisition was based on the premise that the Central Bank of Nigeria was going to put some money in there and as the process started there was a change of baton; Lamido Sanusi left and Godwin Emefiele came in and since then, the whole process has not been completed.
“The Aso Board is working to resuscitate the two organisations, but we need the support of the CBN as a regulatory organisation, the contributors have to wait but for how long, I do not know. We have been on this process since I took over a year ago.”

Fashola seeks professionalism as SURCON inducts 267 surveyors

Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has charged newly inducted land surveyors by the Surveyors Council of Nigeria to exhibit a high sense of professionalism in the discharge of their duties.

Fashola, who gave the charge at the 2018 induction ceremony for 267 new surveyors by SURCON, which held recently in Abuja, welcomed and congratulated them for making it as members of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors.
Represented by the Minister of State II for Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Hassan, Fashola urged the inductees to strictly abide by the standards of the profession they had chosen to pursue.

He said, “I urge you, as you collect your certificates today, to go and practice professionally, knowing that this government, more than ever before, believes so much in the contribution of professionals so that it can bring about the desired infrastructural development.

“The Federal Government has invested seriously in infrastructure. In the real sector alone, we have made the commitment of about N2.7tn. Commitments have been made in sectors like agriculture, mining and roads, among others.

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

“If you believe in the ability of this profession to contribute to the economic growth of this country, you have to identify where you belong. You already have the basic training and have been certificated for that. All you need is to put the knowledge into practice in line with professional standards. I congratulate you all.”

Earlier in his address, the President of SURCON, Joseph Agbenla, noted that with the 267 newly inducted members, the number of registered surveyors in the country had increased to 3,627.

He urged the inductees to uphold the ethics of the profession and stressed that anyone found wanting in the course of practice would have his or her certificate, which remains a property of SURCON, withdrawn.

“I am highly confident that you will always remember that the seal and the certificate you are all having today belong to the Surveyors Council of Nigeria and may be recalled by the council if your professional conduct contradicts the rules, regulations and ethics of the surveying profession,” Agbenla said.

The Surveyor-General of the Federation, Ebisintei Awudu, advised the inductees to keep enhancing their capacity and ensure that their practice add more value to the profession.
He said surveyors should strive to improve their skills in order to adequately understand how to use the tools provided by the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation.

Awudu stated, “By the constitution of Nigeria, the OSGOF is principally mandated to do cadastral, geological and several other types of surveys. So try and improve your capacity on these aspects.

“At the OSGOF, we are working to ensure that our constitutional mandate is carried out at its best. We are working to ensure that we have some unmanned aerial systems to make information gathering easier as a way out of the challenge of poor visibility and to establish more core stations.”

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