Looming population explosion may render people homeless – Expert

A Kaduna based lawyer and housing estate management expert, Dr. Reuben Atabo has called on the Federal Government to ensure proper housing scheme policy that will guarantee houses for all citizens, otherwise many will be homeless due to looming population explosion in the country.

Dr. Atabo noted that with the current projected 200 million population of Nigeria, there may be housing deficit for the people if government does not takebproactivr measures to address the problem.

The legal practitioner stated this while responding to questions from journalists shortly after his housing estate was commissioned in Kamazou area of Kaduna city at the weekend, by Pastor Abel Dingamaji of the living Faith Church, Kaduna.

Declaring the estate named Ojonugwa housing estate opened, Kaduna State resident Pastor Dingamaji prayed to God for the owner to reap the benefit of the estate and bless the guests on the occasion with resources to embark on similar project.

According to Atabo, “I advise the Federal government to design housing policy that will meet the housing need of the people, otherwise. With the population explosion, there will be a lot of socio-economic problems very soon in the country.

“And many people will be out of homes, sleeping under bridges, which is not good for the image of our country. So I also call on individuals whom God has blessed to come to the housing need of the people by providing houses at affordable prices or rates.

“It is unfortunate that Nigeria did not live to her responsibility of providing affordable houses to her citizens right from when we gained independent till date. Government failed to design proper housing policy to meet the need of the people.

“However, I wish to point out that government was trying to pay attention to the housing need of the people during the administration of former President  Aliyu Shehu Shagari, but unfortunately, his government was short lived, and the successive governments abandoned the project.

“At that time, in every State, you can see low cost housing estate by Shagari government. In Kaduna, for example, we have Shagari low cost houses in Barnawa area of Kaduna. Today, no government is talking about housing scheme for the citizens, and that is a big problem looking us on the face.

“Today, we are talking of about 200 million population of Nigerians, and in the next 20 to 30 years, the population may rise to 300 to 400 million people. That will be a serious population explosion, and it will not be good for the country if there no proper housing policy design to meet the housing need of the people.

“I personally acquired this place about  20 years ago because of the burning desire in me to provide affordable houses for members of the public, but each time I wanted to develop it, the perennial Kaduna crisis would discourage me.

“But thank God, the project has become a reality today, and I boldly dedicate it to God Almighty for His love and mercy over me.

“I  am giving out the houses, a block of 15 Flats, at affordable prices despite the fact that they are fixed with modern indoor facilities, including 24 hours water supply and power generation”.

Source: Leadership

Nigeria needs N10trn bond for roads, power – Fashola

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says Nigeria needs, at least, N10 trillion bond to develop key infrastructures such as roads and power.

Fashola gave the insight on Monday during a budget defence session with the House of Representatives Committee on Works, chaired by Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu).

The Minister, who was reacting to questions by members of the Committee over failing roads in Nigeria, noted that funding remained a major constraint behind road construction and maintenance.

According to him, only a long term infrastructure bond, backed up with viable legislative framework, would take care of failing infrastructure in the country, and thus drive critical aspects of the economy.

Fashola also called for caution in the application of the Road Fund Bill, recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, so as not to “raise expectations above realities.”

“We have to challenge ourselves to access revenue to fund our roads. But since the budget is limited, we must subscribe to realities.

“I want to say that Nigeria needs N10 trillion infrastructure bond, through legislative approval, to effectively fund our roads and power.

“Critical infrastructures, such as roads, are national social investments meant to encourage the growth and development of other aspects of the economy,” Fashola told the lawmakers.

Source: Daily Trust

FERMA begins vegetation control, silt removal on 6 federal roads

The Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has commenced the execution of vegetation control and silt removal on six federal roads in Abia State.

Mr. Osita Ezenwaka, the Maintenance Engineer of FERMA in Abia, made this known while supervising the evacuation of refuse on the median of Enugu/Port Harcourt expressway in Aba.

Ezenwaka said the execution of the exercise was facilitated through its Shareholders Association and Right of Way Maintenance Implementation Programme.

He said the exercise was one of the programmes planned by the agency to improve storm water control and minimize damage to federal roads in the state.

Ezenwaka said the exercise would be implemented on Aba/Azumini road, Aba/Ikot-Ekpene road, Umuahia/Ariam road, Umuahia/Bende road, and Uturu/Okigwe road in the state.

He said the initiative was introduced to provide the dividend of democracy in line with the Federal Government’s change agenda and the agency’s resolve to deliver its mandate to the masses.

Ezenwaka said the commencement of the exercise became pertinent considering the fact that the rainy season had begun in earnest in the South-east region of the nation.

Source: Daily Trust

Federal Government mulls digitalisation of surveying, mapping

The Surveyor General of the Federation, Dr. Ebisintei Awudu has revealed that the government was working towards digitalisation of surveying and mapping in the country.

Awudu who made this known at Bi-annual Conference of Zonal Directors, Chief Resident Surveyors and management staff in Abuja, said that equipments that would replace analogue are being procured.

According to him, the government has decided to embark on the project to provide mapping information for exploitation and exploration of solid minerals, agriculture and security in the country.

Awudu further said that the policy direction might not meet the purpose when Nigerian surveyors are not ready to work hard to attain global standards, adding that equipment would be available.

He however, explained that United Nations would not accept any proposals, except there are maps to back up the project.

 

“This is an opportunity to accept and acquire modern technology so as to provide surveying and mapping information for the citizens of Nigeria. Government wants surveyors to serve the people better,” he remarked.

Also speaking, Registrar of Surveyors Council of Nigeria, Kabir Mansur disclosed that they have registered over 2,000 surveyors in past four years.

He explained that the council has moved to digital age since technology has taken over and because of the development, they have employed 100 professionals to cater for new boundaries that have been opened.

Source: The Guardian

States begin integrity tests on buildings

Following the recent collapse of a building at Ita Faji area of Lagos State, which claimed over 20 lives, and another in Sogoye, in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, some state governments have started taking actions to prevent such incidents from happening again, from our reports.

The Lagos State government had immediately after the incident, set up a five-man panel to investigate not only the immediate and remote causes of the Faji building collapse, but recommend measures that would forestall such incidents from recurring.

In Osun, the state government announced that it will carry out integrity tests on houses suspected to be weak following the building collapse incident in Lagos and Oyo states.

The state’s Supervisor for Works, Mr Remi Omowaiye, said in a statement, that the directive on integrity tests would be carried out immediately because the state did not want the collapse of any building.

In a related development, authorities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have said the FCT Administration has taken preventive measures to check building collapse in the capital city.

The FCTA, last week, identified a three-storey building in the FCDA quarters, Garki, with large cracks that started from its foundation and reaching up to the 2nd floor.

The ground floor, which suffers the major crack, may degenerate and lead to the collapse of the building as the structure becomes weaker.

The coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Tpl. Umar Shuaibu, said the occupants of the structure were served notice over three months ago to vacate the building to ensure that proper steps were taken to correct the fault identified in the building.

He said, however, the occupants refused to adhere to the notice as they insisted that the FCT authority should provide them with an alternative accommodation.

“We have since served them notice because we care about their safety but since they refused to vacate the building up till now, we will make sure they do that and then seal it up until proper action is taken on the building,” he said.

“All what we are doing is to prevent any future collapse of this building which could lead to loss of several lives and properties and we are appealing to you people to vacate this building because our concern is your lives. This building, as we can all see, anything can happen to it,” he told the occupants.

An occupant, Pricilla Nwoso, a retiree who lives in one of the flats in the building complained that she does not have another place to go to, adding that she is all alone in Abuja and doesn’t have friends or relatives to run to.

The coordinator, however, pleaded with them to find alternative accommodation before the government could look into their temporary accommodation process.

Another occupant, a retired naval officer, Lanre Ajibola, pleaded with the FCT administration to quickly come to their aid by providing them with alternative accommodation.

And in Bayelsa, the state’s Physical Planning and Development Board has sealed two hotels, three shopping malls and 15 other buildings in Yenagoa metropolis for contravening building regulations of the state.

The move, according to the board, was also part of the state government’s effort to prevent building collapse and consequent loss of live and property.

Chairman of the board, Mr. Ebi Waribigha, said they were acting on a court order issued by the Physical Planning and Development Tribunal of the state, noting that landlords of the affected properties failed to subject them to technical, safety and integrity tests.

Waribigha, however, explained that in a few weeks’ time, an additional 80 unapproved buildings would be sealed as part of government’s plan to ensure controlled, planned and enhanced physical development of infrastructures across the state.

Some of the affected hotels are Honni Hills and Jubilee Hotels, while the shopping malls include A2Z Plaza, Stop Ova Car Wash and Austrock Mall, all situated in Yenagoa metropolis.

The board chairman said: “After the landlords of the affected buildings failed to respond to our first and second notice seeking to allow us carry out audit of their property, the court graciously gave us an order to seal them up until they comply.

“You hear stories of buildings collapsing on people all the time, as a government we are working hard to ensure that such things don’t befall our people.

“So as part of our mandate to ensure controlled and coordinated development of the state, we constantly carry out audit of existing structures to confirm if they have approval and that the building conforms to the plan that was approved by the state government,” he said.

Source: Daniel Adugbo, Malikatu Umar Shuaibu & Bassey Willie

Professionals task Buhari on speedy enforcement of policy to drive economy

Private and public sector professionals have urged the Muhammadu Buhari administration to use the opportunity of the next four years to marshal out clear-cut economic policies that can attract the needed investments.

They opine that the main problem the country faced in the first term was the lack of direction, adding that it doesn’t matter the economic policy, but that with the right people to manage the policy, the economy will thrive.

Tajudeen Akande, president, Lagos Country Club, says the Federal Government must engage more with the business communities in order to put forward a clear cut, well communicated policy to help businesses do their own strategic plans and strategic response.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos announcing activities to mark the 70th year anniversary of Lagos Country Club and the unveiling of the club’s new logo, Akande called on Buhari to as a matter of urgency set up a policy implementation team to carry out whatever policy government comes out with.

According to him, “The country cannot afford to wait for another six months for the list of the ministers. We must know the team that will drive the plan.”

Akande further said that in the almost 70 years of existence of Lagos country club,  the group have undoubtedly made significant impact in the society at large and in our immediate environ; having provided excellent recreational facilities and a conducive atmosphere for relaxation.

“This has impacted positively in the life of our members as evidence in the large number of septuagenarian, octogenarian and a few nonagenarians still active in our midst, and interacting with young, vibrant, upwardly mobile business executives,” he said.

Babatunde Okunuga, director-general, Lagos Country Club 70th Anniversary said the success of the club today is not a happenstance, for this great club has been blessed with leaders who tilled the ground and rolled up sleeves to give us a befitting place we have prided as a second home.

He said part of activities lined up to mark the landmark event includes: Family funfair, Seminars, Wellness/health talk, Sports week, anniversary lecture on 30th July and the grand ball on the 3rd of August, 2019.

Source: Kelechi Ewuzie

President Buhari signs COREN Act amendment bill, grants COREN more powers

President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Engineers (Registration etc) Amendment Act, 2019.

The principal Act establishes the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria – COREN’ with power vested.

According to the Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly matters (Senate), Ita Enang, the new amendment has broadened the powers of COREN with far-reaching powers of prosecution of infractions, regulating industrial training of Engineers, capacity building of local content in Nigeria engineering industry.

Specifically, he said, the new law grants COREN powers of: “prosecuting any person or firm that contravenes the provisions of this Act in a court of competent jurisdiction; .regulating industrial training schemes in engineering practitioners and students;

(I)..ensuring capacity building and monitoring local content development in the Nigerian engineering industry through – mandatory attachment of Nigerians to expatriate engineers on major projects to understudy them from inception

“(ii) ensuring that all foreign engineering firms establish their design offices in Nigeria.

(iii) granting of compulsory attestation to all expatriate quota for engineering practitioners, including turnkey project, that there are no qualified and competent Nigerians for the job in question at the time of application and that granting of the expatriate quota shall be contingent on training of such number of persons as may be required for the execution of the job, and;

“(iv) ensuring that, before being allowed to practice in Nigeria, such foreign engineering practitioners granted work permit, register with the council and obtain such licenses as may be required from time to time; (h) investigating engineering failures.’’

He said that the new Act further admits into the Council (COREN) the following: “Nigerian Association of Technologists in Engineering
Nigerian Society of Engineering Technicians, and
Nigerian Association of Engineering Craftsmen, and
One person each appointed to represent the –
Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria,
Federation of Construction Industry in Nigeria
Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, and
Armed Forces in rotation.’’

The Council, he said, is now entitled to maintain a fund into which shall be paid money appropriated by the National Assembly, subventions, fees, charges for services rendered or publications made, donations, engineering development levy, among others.

The Directorate of the National Youth Service Corps shall ensure posting of graduate engineers and technologists to places of relevant professional engineering experience.

“On NYSC, the Amendment states:
(14) (i)‘’The Directorate of the National Youth Service Corps shall ensure posting of graduate engineers and technologists to places of relevant professional engineering experience.
(ii) Pursuant to the provision of subsection (i), the Directorate of National Youth Service Corps shall communicate the location of graduate engineers and engineering technologists to the Council.’’

The Act broaden engineering ‘’practitioners to include a registered Engineer, Engineering technologist, Engineering technician and Engineering craftsman. It emphasis more on engineering practitioners as against ‘engineer.’

“The Act has been remitted in accordance with standard legal procedures.” Enang stated.

Source: MyEngineers

Chinese group to build Sh200bn Athi River city city plans

A Chinese real estate group has announced plans to build a mega city in Nairobi’s Athi River area at an estimated cost of Sh200 billion, deepening the Asian nation’s inroads into Kenya’s construction sector.

Beijing Damei Investment Company, a Chinese construction giant, on Wednesday said the project — dubbed the Friendship City — will be modelled along the mega Chinese parks that comprise homes, factories and amenities like hospitals, schools and shopping malls all in one location.

The city, whose construction starts later this year, will sit on about 1,200 acres of land in Athi River, Businessman Bobby Kamani said Thursday, while disclosing that he has shareholding interest in the multi-billion-shilling project through his Zuri Group of companies.

It is estimated that the city will have the capacity to host 150,000 Kenyans, many of who will live and work on site.

The Friendship City will have the status of a Special Economic Zone with a township and five separate functional parks within the property, documents related to the project have revealed.

It will attract an initial foreign direct investment into the country of approximately Sh201 billion (about $2 billion) with the potential of up to Sh756 billion (about$7.5 billion) by the time the entire development is complete, said Jiannan Bao, the director of the Beijing-based Damei Investment Company.

Direct employment

“There exists the potential of direct employment of 150,000 people whilst indirectly employing close to 500,000 people, thus impacting over 2,000,000 lives,” said Mr Bao in the project documents. The investors will enjoy tax breaks consistent with Kenya’s policy of special economic zone (SEZs).

“The major selling point of SEZs in Kenya is the tax shields offered within the confines of an SEZ. Particularly, from a tax perspective, SEZs are considered to be outside the customs territory of Kenya, thereby operating within a jurisdictional bubble that shields investors from taxes and similar regulatory hurdles that directly or indirectly impede trade,” said Mr Bao.

Thousands of acres of agricultural land have in recent years been turned into satellite cities with the developers hoping to tap into the aspirations of Kenya’s growing middle class.

Kenya has been seeking partnerships with the private sector to develop housing units, as the country looks to plug a housing shortfall of approximately 240,000 units per year.

The United Nations urban development agency, Habitat, estimates that more than half of Nairobi’s four million people dwell in slums.

A high demand for decent housing has seen developers conceptualise satellite cities such as Tilisi, Konza, Tatu City and Northlands.

Chinese companies have been the lead contractors in these and other multi-billion-shilling housing projects across the country, besides building hundreds of kilometres of tarmac roads as well as the Standard Gauge Railway between Mombasa and Naivasha.

Tatu City, which is already under construction, is expected to house an estimated 150,000 people on completion.

Vast interests

Zuri Group is owned by the Kamani family, which holds vast interests in the hospitality industry worldwide, including Zuri Hotels.

Bobby Kamani is the son of billionaire Deepak Kamani, who has been mentioned in multi-billion-shilling scandals involving State agency contracts including the infamous Anglo Leasing scam.

The Friendship City’s plan is borrowed from the Chinese urban development strategy.

China’s economic reform and opening up in the 1980s began with “special economic zones” like Shenzhen in southeastern China.

Mr Bao said the Friendship City hopes to follow a similar path to growth.

Other African countries have also tried to copy the Chinese development model.

However, the Chinese-style SEZs in Africa have proved underwhelming, limited by operational and legal bottlenecks.

Real estate mixed-use project Tatu City development continues to take shape despite numerous bottlenecks that the firm has faced at the project site in Kiambu County.

Grandiose plans, red tape and a lack of funding have also left Konza Technopolis – the multi-trillion-shilling new city to be built some 60 kilometres outside of Nairobi – way behind schedule on its goal of having 20,000 people on site by 2020.

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Dubbed the Silicon Savannah, Konza aims to become a smart city – using technology to manage water and electricity efficiently and reduce commuting time – and a solution to the rapid, unplanned urbanisation that has plagued the capital city.

Kenya’s real estate sector has been booming over the past decade, but the middle to low-income housing segment has remained underserved as developers have tended to go for the higher end of the market in search of higher returns.

The number of mortgage loans in the country has also remained low due to high cost of financing, thus locking out millions more from home ownership.

There are about 24,000 outstanding mortgage loans in Kenya, a relatively low figure in a country of 44 million people.

Source: Business Daily

Ekiti hands over 41-year-old abandoned road to contractor

Ekiti State Government formally handed over the abandoned Ado-Iyin Road construction project to CCECC Nigeria Limited to commence work. The road was originally awarded in 1978.

Handing the project over to the contractor, Governor Kayode Fayemi said he is committed to fulfilling all his electioneering promises in all sectors, especially in the area of infrastructure, which is a catalyst for development.

The ceremony signified the commencement of work on the road project, billed for completion within 24 months.

Fayemi, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, said the 7.25-kilometre road project is the first phase of the construction work which will stop at the state’s boundary with Osun State.  He said the first phase is the construction of the road from Ado to Iyin, the second phase from Iyin to Aramoko, while the third phase would be from Aramoko to Itawure.

The governor expressed worry that the old Ado-Iyin road had become a death trap because of its unsafe, winding and undulating alignments, which had caused series of fatal accidents on the route, stressing that his administration cannot helplessly watch citizens’ lives and property lost to the road.

“As a government, we understand and appreciate the importance of good road network to our economic development.”

Source: SunNewsOnline

Fashola faults housing deficit figures

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has faulted the 17 million often cited as the country’s housing deficit figure.

The minister, on Thursday, said the figure had been used over the years and had been revalidated by all professionals without asking how it was generated.

Fashola, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the 49th National Conference of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, in Lagos, said the continuous use of the 17 million figure was erroneous.

“The figure has remained for many years without adequate data backing; it cannot be substantiated, but it is being repeated and revalidated by various groups,” he said.

While speaking on the theme, ‘A city that works’, he asked estate surveyors and valuers to assist the Federal Government in carrying out an audit of empty and unoccupied houses in the country.

According to him, there is no city in the country without empty and unoccupied houses, adding that valuers owe the country the responsibility of explaining why the houses are empty, for how long they have been empty and what can be done to make them habitable.

He stated that if the evaluation of the unoccupied houses could be done before 2020, it would help the Federal Government to find solutions to the problem of housing deficit in the country.

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, also urged professionals in the built environment, especially estate surveyors and valuers, to help enhance the state’s economy and infrastructure through real estate.

The governor, who was represented at the conference by the Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, said there were so many underutilised and untapped opportunities that could be harnessed to boost infrastructure development and better living standards for the state’s residents.

According to the governor, for a city to work efficiently, it must have infrastructure and technology working together.

“More than 86 persons come into the state on a daily basis without the intention of returning. There is, therefore, a need to create more infrastructure that will match the increasing population which has made existing infrastructure overstretched,” he said.

He stated that Lagos had undergone a lot of infrastructural development processes, but more still needed to be done.

“As a professional body on land management, you hold the key to infrastructure development and wealth creation because there is no human activity that does not happen on land. I believe that this conference will proffer solutions to challenges hindering infrastructure growth in the state and the nation at large,’’ he said.

The President, NIESV, Mr Rowland Abonta, said the government should collaborate with the institution to facilitate effective service delivery in Lagos State as well as the country at large.

He stated that with the support of the government, the contributions of professional bodies to nation building would improve.

Source: Ihua Maduenyi

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