Young millionaires prefer hubs with luxury and out of-the-world designs, where with a touch of button, they get service. The very affluent live where they do not bother with how electricity, water and refuse disposal are taken care of. They are in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Enugu and Kano among other cities. In Lagos, they prefer Old Ikoyi, Banana Island, Lekki and Victoria lsland. The blue-chip companies they work for, IT firms, consulting firms, oil servicing and various businesses, give them the edge to live their dreams OKWY IROEGBU-CHIKEZIE reports
Developers of super luxury apartments have gone a notch higher in the provision of apartments in affluent neigbourhoods. The buildings are intelligent, smart and slick. In most of the buildings, doors are opened through voice or finger recognition Every gadget is automated and be adjusted from a remote device.
Most occupants need only their personal effects in such smart homes. Every other thing is sorted out.
According to some industry professionals, a home with smart features is the deciding factor when it comes to the millennials purchasing a luxury home. To complement their luxurious life style, they also look out for Olympic-size pool, personal spa, cutting-edge technology, expansive indoor and outdoor kitchens, entertainment rooms, restaurant and a gym.
The upwardly mobile prospective tenants determine their luxury home by its location, proximity to choice clubs, gym, restaurants and such other social activities of their fancy. So, they never far from such places as Asokoro and Maitama in Abuja, Bourdillion, Banana Island, Victoria Island, Parkview and the likes.
While most of their peers still live with parents or downtown, the millennials, mostly under 40, make up a good percentage of tenants in highbrow areas hosting smart apartments, houses and condos.
The houses, whereever they are, come with breath-taking views and landscape because good location is an experience for those lucky enough to own homes in areas such as Beachfront and Mountain top.
Several real estate operators believe that luxury homes vary according to perceptions. A home’s location, amenities, quality of construction and workmanship influence and aesthetics give such homes away as a luxury home, and that is one of the things that attracts the millennials.
However, the most popular response given by real estate professionals about what makes a luxury home is its quality in workmanship and construction. The homes shine and are beautifully finished with quality materials, which, sometimes, are rare and highly sought after.
Homes with out-of-the-ordinary features can also qualify as luxurious. The features can be eco-friendly such as solar panels, sustainable and locally-sourced materials to those that contribute to the overall presence of homes, for example, uniquely designed gardens.
Luxury homes depict the lifestyles of their owners. Luxury homes promote certain modes of living. Though a house, for most people, have an emotional attachment, to the millennials it is to flaunt their arrivat into the super-rich club. So they more often not attached to any home as they ready to move out once a new talk-of-the-town super-highbrow residential area comes on stream. They only want to be identified with the ‘happening’ places in town hence no attachments whatsoever to anything.
An Estate Surveyor & Valuer and Principal Partner , Sola Enitan and Co, Mr. Sola Enitan, said there is growing market for super luxury apartments, driven by the influx of foreigners and the growing young millenials at the top of what he called ‘money hierarchy’. He said though those in this bracket are not many, they are willing to pay any price to assuage their fancy in residential apartments.
According to him, the millenials are involved in e-commerce, Fintech, start-ups and other high technology-based businesses.
He said: “Some class of people want classic things and these are driving the luxury market for the millennials. Sometimes, they buy to keep or live in, and are willing to pay the cost. It is not the run-of-the-mill estate investor that builds such apartments because those in the straight jacket real estate development are in recession because housing is at its low currently as a result of the current economic climate in the country”.
The closure of the Nigeria-Benin border continues to generate reactions from all. At newspaper stands, filling stations, churches and public places, Nigerians argue for or against the justification behind the closure of the country’s busiest border.
Supporters of the closure believe the federal government has taken the right measures to stimulate growth of local manufacturers. There is, however, a consensus that the Nigerian manufacturing sector is grossly challenged. While the manufacturing sector has contributed between 8 to 9 percent to GDP it is still underperforms the double-digit expectation of the 2014 National Industrial Revolution Plan. Many companies have shut down in the past six years.
Protectionists i.e. those for protecting local manufacturers argue that shutting the borders restricts imports and gives local manufacturers the space to scale, sell and make a profit. It reduces the level of unfair competition they face and increases their competitiveness. Many exemplify this position by citing the cement industry in Nigeria as a success story of protectionism. They argue further that the closure enables firms to achieve economies of scale and protect infant industries, especially in Nigeria, where unverified data show that one out of every three firms dies within three years after set-up.
The closure of the border is not entirely a witless exercise. It curbs smuggling, especially of arms and ammunition, at a time when Nigeria is tackling with insecurity, supporters say.
Smuggling has been a thorn in the flesh of the Nigerian economy. Several industries have been hurt by this negative practice – in 2015 textiles worth $2.2 billion smuggled from Benin Republic swamped the $40 million produced locally every year, according to the World Bank.
Experts argue that no amount of money can revive the textile industry if the borders are open to all kinds of textiles and fabrics. Despite several interventions, including the N100 billion Cotton Textile and Garment Fund of the central bank, the country cannot boast of any viable full-fledged textile company.
These arguments are at cross purposes with the skyrocketing rise in the price of food. Based on the recent inflation data for October, the effects of shutting the border on the price of food is even more apparent. It’s “the worst October since at least 2009” says Nonso Obikili, chief economist of BusinessDay. Food prices in August and September are the worst in 10 years too. While it is tempting to blame it on the rain (the rainy season was late this year) or on monetary policy (it hasn’t changed since January), the only cause of the sharp rise in food prices is the closure of borders. Obikili forecasts that food prices for November and December maybe the worst as well in a while.
The price of rice has come down and there are reports of increased production and milling, however pinned on the current harvest season. The sustainability, however, is questionable.
Fundamental bottlenecks haven’t been addressed. Despite various schemes to help rice farmers by the CBN, production cost is still high amid infrastructural deficiencies. Moreover, Nigeria mills 4.7 million metric tonnes of rice, but demand is 7 million, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Keeping the border closed means about 98 million extremely poor Nigerians will pay higher prices for food.
Also, production of farm products, including rice, is inelastic. This means that even if you close borders and increase lending to rice farms by N100 billion, supply won’t increase automatically. The rice must be planted, manured, harvested and milled. This is a process can take five to seven months, according to farmers.
Also, border closure impacts trade negatively at a time when the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the agreement to promote trade across the continent, which President Buhari signed few months ago with pomp and ceremony.
In all, the negative impacts of border closure outweigh its positives.
Usually, in Nigeria, the Yuletide period is delicate. Always tough! At this period, there is always an increase in crime rate in the form of armed robberies, missing persons for ritual purposes, kidnapping for ransom purpose, all manner of corruption, ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ business and now the latest on the list- vital organ harvest!
The period is also marked by increase in auto crashes as people commute from one part of the country to another. Observers and those who have followed the performance of the nation’s economy and its current negative impact on the quality of life of citizens express worries that this year’s Yuletide may witness the highest crime rate as people engage in all manner of untoward means to make money, either to show off or just to have minimum comfort during the festivities.
The media is already awash with unsavory news of terrible happenings across the country, all for money. On Tuesday, November 19, 2019 the Enugu State Police Command paraded one Sunday Egbo, founder and pastor in charge of the Christ Mercy Ministry, AjuonaObukpa, in Nsukka Local Government Area of the state, for alleged rape and involvement in money rituals.
According to the report, Egbo had on November 9, 2019, invited a female member of his church to his house under the guise of organising a crusade that was scheduled to start at 6pm that day. He also asked the victim to come along with the picture of her sick brother for prayers.
“On arrival, the pastor took her to his house and left on the pretence that he was going to bring other people, who were supposed to participate in the prayer session. But he returned around 11pm and dragged the victim into his room, brought out a magic stone and threatened to kill her if she raised alarm,” Ahmed Abdur-rahman, state commissioner of police, narrated.
Egbo was said to have ordered the female victim to remove her clothes, but she refused, and he slapped her, tore her clothes and raped her.
“The suspect seized her pants, brassiere and brought out a small bottle and wanted to insert it into her private parts, but she struggled and ran naked to the door and shouted, which attracted neighbours, who also invited the police to rescue her and arrest the pastor,” the CP further narrated.
Surprisingly, Egbo confessed to the crime in an interview with newsmen, saying: “I actually raped the victim in my house. I approached a native doctor in Kogi State in my quest to be rich, and the native doctor gave me a small coffin and other items, and asked me to follow some instructions in order to become a millionaire.”
He said that he paid the native doctor N200,000 to get the coffin and flute.
“The native doctor ordered me to do certain things, after which I would get a Ghana-Must-Go bag full of money in my room. But after two weeks, the money did not come as the native doctor had assured me.”
Increasingly, many Nigerians are becoming desperate to make money by all means. The craze for quick money now involves people of age groups. The youth are as hungry as the adults. It is now a rat race.
In addition to the story of the Enugu pastor, there was another incident of kidnapping that took place on October 30, 2019 in Lagos State.
According to an eye witness, who shared the sad story on social media, there was this young man who lives in one of the estates in the Gbagada area of Lagos with his wife but works at Lekki in an oil servicing company.
“On this fateful day, he went to work as usual but around lunchtime he told his colleagues that he needed to rush to the bank to carry out some transactions. Due to traffic situation in Lekki, he left his car and jumped into a KekeMaruwa, popularly called KekeNapep,” an eye witness narrated.
Thereafter, the young man disappeared and didn’t return home that day, such that his family declared him missing. This was reported to the Lagos State Police Command. His parents didn’t tell anybody in the estate because they felt he will be back or probably had a quarrel with his wife and wanted some space.
“On November 5, 2019 – six days after the young man’s disappearance, he called his wife using a private phone number. He was crying on the phone and said he didn’t know where he was but that they were about 24 of them in a warehouse guarded by an armed security guard.
According to the victim, 10 out of the 24 victims had been taken away to an unknown destination, and that they remained 14 persons at the time he called his parents using an unknown phone.
“Where are you?” the parents asked, but the young man answered, “No idea.”
“How did you get there?” the parents asked, but the young man answered, “No idea.” All he could recall was getting into the Keke with the driver and one occupant. A few meters away from the point he boarded, the keke picked up another passenger. As soon as the new passenger entered, he said to the young man ‘cooperate’ and waved handkerchief over his face, that was the last he could remember,” the victim told his parents.
“Whose phone are you calling from?” the parents further inquired. The young man said the phone fell off the pocket of one of the security guards, adding that the guard unknowingly locked the victims in the warehouse with his phone.
“So, it was the phone we were using to call our loved ones,” he added. And the phone cut off.
Reports had it that it was at this point that the parents started notifying friends and neighbours and everyone sprang into action, reaching out to their connections and networks.
“We have two high ranking policemen in our estate. They both sprang into action. The police using satellite connections located the position of the private number phone the victim used in calling his wife, saying that the phone call came from Abuja,” the eye witness said.
“On November 6th, the victim’s father and a police officer flew to Abuja and met with the special force dedicated to the operation. They did their investigation and located the warehouse. They stormed the place on November 7th and fortunately the young man was among the less than six persons, who were rescued from the warehouse,” the eye witness stated.
According to the eye witness, the police are still handling the matter but are suspecting the possibility of the kidnappers being involved in either ritual killing or organ harvesting.
BDSUNDAY investigation shows that cases of armed robberies, burglaries, murder, attempted murder and serious assault tend to increase noticeably during festive season.
Obviously, as Christmas approaches, there are those who perhaps, have sworn to “paint the city” and their villages red with huge amount of money, even when they do not have well defined means of livelihood.
In Nigeria today, strange occurrences are on the increase as the year winds down. People perpetrating such are probably banking on human sacrifices and other mindless activities. Their target is usually their fellow human beings.
This can be attributed to the high rate of poverty, and economic deprivation has resulted in the increased number of crime born out of frustration in the country.
Pundits believed that there are usually increase crime rate in a country where economic deprivation persists because most citizens take to crime to survive.
Also, people are often driven to great lengths of desperation by poverty and this is a major cause of crime. The skyrocketing unemployment rate in the country is another reason youths take to crime to support themselves.
For instance, situations where one goes through school and end up jobless for many years is a clear reason people go into crime.
Therefore, Nigerians must be very vigilant and extra careful. Everyone must be safety conscious. Do not leave your house without letting anyone know where you are going; do not just follow anybody to anywhere you are not familiar with; and avoid keeping late nights.
A security expert, who spoke with BDSUNDAY oncondition of anonymity, urgedNigerians to be extra careful this time around, saying, “Nothing should be taken for granted.”
“This period is always hot. It has always been so, but I admit that the situation is getting increasingly worse than it used to be. The frustration in the polity as a result of failure of government has driven many people into taking dangerous decisions. I can tell you that poverty begets a lot of criminal acts,” the expert said.
“I would advise Nigerians to take their security more seriously. Always tell people your whereabouts. Do not just leave your apartment without people knowing where you are going to. Be skeptical about everyone and every invitation you receive this time and make sure you do not find yourself among strange faces. Do not stay late night or engage in night parties. Even in religious circles, do not visit pastors or Imams in secret places, always make your appointments with such people open to people. Be conscious of people around you and do not engage in unnecessary visits. Do so only when it is absolutely necessary,” the security expert further said.
Nigerians have always clamoured for infrastructure not only in estates but in other locations.
Already, the decay and death of infrastructure in the country has reached crisis dimension and has become an albatross for the citizens that the only means of transportation for most people today is motorbikes and strong SUVs that can manaouvre potholes and gullies on most roads. Indeed infrastructure decay has made some properties to drop in price because not more people are interested in buying or renting apartments in those areas for fear of bad roads.
The implication is unoccupied properties now litter several cities and towns around the country even whenmay people are out there looking for accommodation. This is why the housing deficit is continuously on the increase. The private developers are really not doing badly in the supply of the goods (houses) to the public. Although, under normal circumstances, government has the duty to provide the low cost housing to ameliorate the acute housing shortage living with the people. Nigerians experienced and enjoyed the low cost housing during the Shehu Shagari administration.
The then governors like Alhaji Kayode Jakande in the Lagos State, Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo of the then Anambra State, the Dee Sam Mbakwe of the old Imo State, the Balarabe Musa just to mention this few, all provided what the current generation today can call Estate. That is government in action. These days, federal government is not interested in checking how the state governments expend money allocated to them. This is for fear that during the next election they may gang up against them.
Today, no part of the country has motorable road network and the people are keeping quiet. In the past, there was the rail to augment the shortages in motors and also to make the journey steady even though it may be slow. Of course, rail infrastructure generally lifts the value of property in a suburb. An instance is that suburbs with train stations have median house prices around 3.7 per cent higher than those without. Those living on the expressway and areas where there is good roads tend to pay higher than those living in remote areas. Experts’ analysis of major stations, indicate that these suburbs generally had higher capital growth rates than the 10 year average for the property built on the hinterland without roads. Train stations are often located within commercial hubs, and give people cheap, easy access to work and leisure. This is why most business people feel perturbed when they are doing their part to develop the cities with government not covering their own tracks. This is also why, when you want to achieve relatively strong growth on your investment or family home, it becomes best to buy your home near a station when rail systems are working and areas where there are good roads. Infrastructure and Economic Development Infrastructure contribute to economic development by increasing productivity and providing amenities which enhance the quality of life. The services generated as a result of an adequate infrastructure base will translate to an increase in aggregate output.m.
There is the need for government to harness development potential within the local government of the study area to create job opportunity so as to reduce precious time and resources spent on travel cost to workplaces. In addition, to sustain property market in the study area, it is suggested that prospective property developers should take cognizance of locational, structural and neighbourhood factors that significantly affect property value in the study area as this would help the marketability and viability of the investment. This study therefore provides a glance at the ensuing market forces and dynamics in the study area.
It provides first hand information for property investors, advisers, planners, builders, architects as well as the government. It is also a guide for global interest in the Nigeria particularly Lagos property market. It does not matter where in the suburb you buy or build your house. What you should bother yourself about is whether there is road to take you out and bring you in whenever you want to. Being in a suburb with a train station is a plus for house values. But in a simple analysis, can we say that property right next to a station have higher or lower growth rates and rental yields to those a few kilometres away?
Investment in infrastructure services, such as transportation (roads), electricity and water are intermediate inputs to production. Infrastructure services tend to raise productivity of other factors. Infrastructure is often termed the “unpaid factor of production”. Investment in infrastructure in a given location often attracts additional flow of resources. Both effects, contribute to economic growth by stimulating aggregate supply as well as demand.
However, these contributions on aggregate output, take time for the benefits to be realized. In a paper by Canning and Fay (1993), it was concluded that developing countries showed a high rate of return on transport infrastructure comparable to those of developed countries. Conclusive evidence linked increased output to increased investment in transport infrastructure, but little evidence with that link being immediate. From the foregoing, it was concluded that infrastructure was not to be considered a factor of production, but rather a condition for higher rates of economic growth.
From the above, the outputs of infrastructure to economic growth are wide and far reaching. Far reaching that their impacts should never be underestimated. Ability to foster infrastructure development is best tackled at a strategic level from where the necessary energy lies to drive its implementation. Strategic planning combined with a strong political will needs the right procurement approach to achieve long term results. Public- Private Partnerships (PPP), will not only meet such goals but have been found to accelerate them. PPP allows governments to free up fiscal funds for use in other pressing areas.
Property is a multi-dimensional product and the number and nature of factors that influence its value are equally of different kinds. Property and land values tend to increase in areas with expanding transportation networks, and increase less rapidly in areas without such improvements. Rapid and continued rise in housing and land prices are expected in cities with transportation improvements and rapid economic and population growth.
The value of access is capitalized into the land value and access is measured through market participants’ willingness to pay. Essentially, this view suggests that accessibility measures may be inferred from land prices. The relationship among accessibility, property values and land use patterns have been the pre-occupation of earliest theorists with indication that travel costs were traded off against property rents and population densities from Central Business District (CBD) to suburbs of a mono- centric city. Real estate has no value if it has no utility, if it is not scarce and if it is not effectively demanded. Real estate has significance only as it satisfies man’s needs and desires.
It is this man’s collective desire for property that gives rise to value. Thus, the ability of a property to satisfy man’s needs and desires together with its degree of scarcity and utility compared with others makes man to ascribe value to it. Property value, therefore, according to Millington is the money obtainable from a person(s) willingness and ability to purchase property when it is offered for sale by a willing seller, allowing for reasonable time for negotiation and with the full knowledge of the nature and uses which the property is capable of being put.
Quality of the environment is also another factor that affects the values of land. Land value does not only depend on the physical characteristics of a building but also the environment that surrounds the building. Developments of various transportation modes have become pivotal to physical and economic developments. Access to major roads provides relative advantages to residential users.
Modern business, industries, trades and general activities depend on transport and transport infrastructures, with movement of goods and services from place to place becoming vital and inseparable aspects of global and urban economic survival. Stated that the factors affecting property values are generally classified into external and internal factors. This study therefore examines the effect of these factors such as accessibility measured in terms of travel distance and cost, neighbourhood, structural (property) and locational characteristics on residential property value in Magodo, Lagos State. Well, relatively no because the site of the property in terms of location, whether in highbrow area or not can determine how the property is rated.
Houses on the express could be lowly rated or not attractive because the population of people around the area does not support massive investment. So houses built along the express by fishermen and or hunters or those on shifting cultivation may not attract any high rate because those living there do so as make shift.
However, because there is expressway along the place that can support civil servants to and fro their offices, those owning land there could develop some blocks for rent. Although, majority of the residents in the area have their workplaces in relatively distant locations. The distance travel and cost of getting there is not a significant factor that affect property value contrary to the propositions of rent theory. This invariably implies that residents are indirectly paying more to live in the area.
It could be further discovered that proximity to the highway that connect Lagos State to other parts of Nigeria, number and size of bedrooms, conveniences, good road and drainages as well as security are the leading factors affecting property values in the area. Despite the many potentials for industrial development in the Kosofe local government in Lagos for instance, it is not clear or mentioned that these potentials are being fully harnessed as there are no immediate central or sectoral business district in the area.
Real estate is a heterogeneous good that is comprised of a bundle of unique characteristics reflecting not only its location, but equally affected by other amenities such as the quality of neighbourhood and infrastructure. Ge and Du in 2007 opined that property value is an essential aspect of property markets worldwide and determined by a variety of factors. Therefore the determination of those factors is a significant part of property valuation.
Last week, The Student published an article on the new affordable housing project near Pratt Field — and its opposition from some Amherst College professors — consequently prompting a wide range of reactions. The article spurred open letters to the community and a public hearing by the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) on the issue.
In July, Amherst Town Council approved $500,000 of funding for a new affordable housing project at 132 Northampton Rd. Valley Community Development Corporation (Valley CDC), the developer of the unit, is a Northampton-based nonprofit that has erected similar projects across the Pioneer Valley. The site at 132 Northampton Rd. will house 28 “extremely low-income and near-homeless individuals” in single-room occupancy (SRO) residencies after construction begins in 2021, according to the Valley CDC.
In May, prior to the Town Council’s decision, multiple professors and staff members signed on to a joint letter written by neighborhood residents that articulated concerns about a lack of support structures for the site’s tenants as well as potential drug use. Though a few professors wrote letters to the council in support of the proposed project, faculty members also submitted their own letters expressing reservations about the proposed project.
After The Student reported on the letters on Nov. 13, the AAS sent an email to students on Nov. 17, noting that “in their actions as private citizens, professors do not speak on behalf of the student body.” The email invited students to attend AAS’s weekly meeting to share their thoughts during public comment. Students could also submit comments via an anonymous form or email the AAS.
AAS President Avery Farmer ’20 said that AAS members agreed to discuss the issue to gauge campus climate. “AAS can’t take a stand on the substance of what was said [in the letters]. We can’t argue for or against affordable housing on behalf of the whole student body without doing some kind of outreach in seeing what the student body thinks first,” Farmer said. “But what we can say is there was an implicit assumption in the way that the professors signed on to those letters … that somehow Amherst students were part of the weight that was making up their arguments. If you’re acting as a private citizen in a town matter, you can’t really cite Amherst students as one of the reasons for your concern if the students themselves have not expressed some kind of concern about that.”
Eliza Brewer ’22, president of Questbridge, an organization for low-income students, opened public comment by drawing attention to low-income students’ distrust after seeing the professors’ stances on affordable housing.
“I do think that there are important conversations to be had about first-generation, low-income students here and how they’re being advocated for,” Brewer said. “Personally, as a president of a student organization and a resident counselor, I’m very nauseated by the fact that if a student comes to me and says, ‘I’m having this problem and I need an advocate to help me,’ I have to think twice before I refer them to their dean or refer them to their professor.”
Senator Ilyssa Forman ’22 added that AAS’s role in representing students — including low-income students — should encourage senators to act. “I want to echo that we are a representing body and that it is our job to act on behalf of what the students feel and think, and this is definitely within our jurisdiction,” she said in the senate forum on Monday. “I just want to emphasize that on senate there are low-income people who hear you and feel you and who are on your side.”
Ben Gilsdorf ’21, another senator, encouraged the AAS to consider ways in which the organization could take action in response to the comments received. “One thing that I think that is really good is that they lost, that the people who were against this lost,” Gilsdorf said, underscoring the fact that the Town Council still voted in favor of the development. “I think the best way to respond is to throw our whole support behind it.” Gilsdorf also suggested writing letters to Valley CDC or hosting a public forum for members of the town and college community to continue dialogue on the issue.
After collecting students’ comments, the AAS will determine the best method to address concerns. Possible actions include reaching out to involved professors, sending a letter to Valley CDC reflective of the student body’s opinions or increasing funding for programs tailored to first-generation and low-income students. But exact next steps currently remain unclear. “We have to find a way to [take action] so it reflects our values and students’ but also stays within the boundaries of what AAS purview is,” Farmer said.
First-generation and low-income (FLI) student groups have also organized to write letters and opinion pieces in response to the professors’ letters to town council. One group of about 30 students, led by Isiaha Price ’21, met in Frost Cafe on Nov. 14 to brainstorm ways to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the professors’ opposition to the housing project. The group drafted a cover letter, set to publish on a to-be-decided date, so that students can submit personal stories relating to affordable housing.
In a draft of the cover letter, the group pushed back against the joint letter’s correlation between drug use and poverty and noted the disparity between the college’s promotion of its socioeconomic diversity and professors’ impressions of the project’s potential low-income tenants.
“We need look no further than the boundaries of Jenkins or the Triangle and the fact that 20 percent of Amherst College’s student population is from the richest echelons of society to see that drugs have always been on this campus and it never had anything to do with poverty,” the cover letter states. Jenkins Dormitory and the Triangle — a set of dorms comprised of Mayo-Smith Dormitory, Hitchcock Dormitory and Seelye Dormitory — are popular party locations at the college. The group plans to submit the compilation of stories to the professors listed in the joint letter so that they “can realize that sure, they have a legal right to petition … but also understand that you’re not voting against these nebulous abstract poor people. This could easily be any number of students and their families who may have been homeless themselves,” Price said.
Another group of FLI students, led by Brewer, submitted an op-ed to The Student outlining similar concerns. The group’s opinion piece criticizes the residents’ letter for promoting the profiling of tenants and leveraging their occupations — ranging from professors to medical doctors to psychologists — to decide the fate of the tenants.
“I think that in terms of the professors who say that they stand with the school’s mission, which part of that mission is … upward mobility and helping students from first-generation, low-income backgrounds to excel and to be able to support themselves in the future … I just think it’s hypocritical for them to say they align with the school’s mission,” Brewer said. She added that the group hopes the professors who signed and wrote letters to Town Council will reconsider and reflect on their position. “We [evoke] a call to action to the professors and say, ‘Look, we hope you sit with these words. We hope you educate yourselves,’” Brewer said. “We hope that you ask for grace because I think that will be given if you do. We’re not meaning to attack anyone, but we are wanting to take a critical look at the roles that we play as people who are in positions of power.”
Low-income students particularly expressed disappointment in Dean of New Students Rick Lopez — who has organized programming for FLI students, including summer bridge, a three-week pre-college program for incoming first years — in his decision to sign the joint letter from the residents.
“It’s appalling to me that in public and in his role as a dean, he comes in and tells students every summer that they belong here, and then as a private citizen endorses something that pretty clearly says that they don’t,” Brewer said. Price added that he was upset “the dean that talked to me at [the summer science bridge program] and welcomed me to this school and gave me a speech about how being first-generation and low-income added to the experience of Amherst … would then go sign that petition.”
In emails obtained by The Student, Lopez said in an exchange with Brewer that the initial dissent against Valley CDC’s project did not oppose affordable housing as a whole, but the use of SROs rather than family units. He stressed that the residents had hoped for increased on-site support for tenants with drug addictions.
According to Laura Baker, real estate project manager at Valley CDC, these concerns often contradict each other.
“Oftentimes people are asking us for competing things,” she said. “It’s impossible to do that because they conflict with each other. For example, folks who live nearby wanted to have more on-site support and more supervision of the property. So that drives increased operating costs. At the same time, they wanted less housing units there, which lowers the economic ability of the project to pay for staff.”
In the email exchange with Brewer, Lopez wrote that “it is unfortunate that you might feel that you no longer can turn to me for support, because in this debate about the unit development my goal was to advocate for housing for homeless families and to create structures of support for them.”
Outstanding concerns from FLI students in part instigated conversations about affordable housing in the AAS, according to Farmer. “I’ve been hearing a lot of reports of low-income and first-gen students … feeling like the professors who signed on to the letter were effectively making some kind of statement of hostility towards that kind of housing. Their families might have lived in them at one point or people they know may have taken advantage of [affordable housing],” Farmer said.
Residents of Humphries House — a dorm informally known as the Zu that sits across the street from Pratt Field — also pushed back at professors’ opposition to the housing project.
“We do not condone the classism implied in the concern over affordable housing in Amherst. We here at Zu live very close to the planned building and welcome new neighbors regardless of their incomes,” the Zu residents wrote in a statement to The Student. “It’s disturbing how quickly the conversation veered toward needles and halfway houses when there has been no mention of a drug rehabilitation center in the local coverage of the planned project. We ask those involved to remember that many Amherst students come from low-income households … In an expensive area like Amherst where many people have to commute to work, access to affordable housing is long overdue.”
Some students noted there is more nuance to the situation than what is seen at face value. While Michael Du ’20 disagrees with the sentiments expressed in the professors’ letters, he says he understands that the professors on the list signed on because “they want to preserve, for a lack of better words, the integrity of their community.”
Samuel Melcher ’22 said that the campus’ reaction was harsher than needed to be. “I think the reaction of Amherst students has generally been unfair to the residents and professors. I’ve seen personal attacks against them online, especially against Professor Sinos. As people who live in the area, their concerns are both understandable and legitimate. And as students who do not live here, it is not our place to belittle their concerns,” he said.
Several comments discussed at the AAS public hearing said that students’ outrage is unprecedented. Comments presented in front of the AAS addressed concerns including students’ approaches to criticizing professors who signed and submitted letters in opposition, potential drug abuse at the site and students’ lack of recognition of their privilege when speaking on the issue.
.as FG remains helpless …price of air tickets for Dec. up 100%
I was driving from Lagos to Delta State. Just before Abudu, around 4pm, gunmen came out from the bush and began shooting at my car. I panicked, shifted gears to reverse but another group emerged from behind and started shooting,” recounted Emeka (not real name), who works in a media house in Lagos.
Amidst the hail of bullets, he swerved the car into the path of a truck that promptly teed his car into a ditch. A horde of gunmen speaking a variant of English Language sautéed in Fulfude descended on him, seized his phone and led him into a bush path.
“That was when it dawned on me that I have been kidnapped,” Emeka said.
As the yuletide approaches, violent kidnappings are worsening across Nigeria as security operatives continue to dither. Christmastide is a season Nigerians, especially those from the eastern parts, like to make a yearly trip to their villages, but some who spoke to BusinessDay say they are shelving the plans this year for fear of the kidnappings happening along the routes to their home states.
Kidnapping hotspots in the country include Benin-Asaba road up to Auchi, Lokoja-Okene highway, Abuja-Kaduna highway, and Owo to Ifo. Kidnappers along these routes have reportedly built camps inside forests used as detention centres.
Air travel, which would have provided an alternative, is beyond the reach of many. Airfares have skyrocketed as many airlines are fully booked for the seasonal travel.
Checks by BusinessDay for flights around December 23, 24 and 25 to Asaba, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Uyo show they are all largely fully booked. There are some business class tickets available, though, starting from N85,000 for a one-way ticket.
“If I can’t pay for a flight, my family and I will not bother travelling this year,” Nnamdi Obiora, who operates a car dealership, said.
Some kidnap victims who have spoken to BusinessDay accuse the Nigerian police of complicity.
Emeka said he was attacked barely 10 minutes after leaving a checkpoint, just after a policeman demanded gratification which he was unwilling to give.
“So, what if you’re kidnapped now, won’t you pay them more than this N200 you want to give?” the police officer said, sighed and waved him away, Emeka recounted. “I don’t believe in coincidence. It seemed strange I was attacked only minutes after being threatened.”
After descending the River Niger Bridge from Asaba and driving further into the southeastern parts of Nigeria, the number of police and army checkpoints could leave the impression of a land under siege.
These checkpoints were ostensibly erected to check separatist agitation by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, but they have remained even after the agitation has been severely degraded. They now serve as extortion stops. Drivers risk losing limbs if they were not quick enough with the N100 charge.
Data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), sourced from law enforcement agencies of member states, show that 277 kidnappings were reported in Nigeria in 2007; 309 in 2008; 703 in 2009; 738 in 2010; 600 in 2012; and 574 in 2013. No data were provided for 2011.
In 2015, the Nigeria Police Force reported 886 kidnappings. About 630 people were reportedly abducted between May 2016 and May 2017. Figures for this year could be higher with daily media reports of kidnappings for ransom. “Kidnapping in Nigeria is a lucrative venture because Nigerians pay the ransom, and it persists because criminals get away with it,” said Tanwa Ashiru, founder, Bulwark Intelligence, a security analytics firm.
In June, BusinessDay reported findings from interviewing several kidnap victims which indicated that the kidnappers have a well-organised supply chain that ensures they get enough supplies.
In one instance, a kidnap victim recalled being kept in a building where relatives (mothers and siblings) of the abductors also lived. In fact, the younger ones were often sent on errands to purchase noodles, which they were fed with, after their mothers and sisters prepared the meals.
“Kidnapping is now a normal thing in Aba,” one of the victims told BusinessDay. The severity of the violence employed during kidnaps portends an even greater danger. On October 22, kidnappers laid ambush to a vehicle conveying a judge along the Lokoja-Okene highway. When the vehicle approached, a band of kidnappers began shooting sporadically at every car within the scene.
Some Nigerians who have been victims of kidnapping (directly or indirectly through a close relation being affected), are dealing with the traumatising experience in their own way, mostly through silence. Victims who talked to BusinessDay were reluctant to talk about it for fear of repeated attacks, but mostly because they have lost faith in law enforcement getting them justice.
Yet, this culture of silence helps kidnapping to thrive. Victims and their families’ fork over millions of naira delivered in cash (local or foreign currencies) before they regain freedom. People are unwilling to disclose how much was paid. Bulwark Intelligence said kidnappers often include miscreant unemployed youths, professional crime syndicates, nomadic criminals/bandits, cult groups, and individuals “known” to victims, such as relatives or employees.
The new US ambassador to South Africa, Lana Marks, says that her government has an active interest in the future of South Africa – including the outcome on land expropriation without compensation.
In an interview with the Daily Maverick, Marks said that the Trump administration is still ‘watching’ the situation of land expropriation without compensation and murders of white farmers.
However, she added that the US was “very pleased that South Africa is dealing with things in a very transparent manner”.
“All murders, farm murders, are senseless, all violence is senseless. Farm murders are less than 1% of the overall murders taking place in South Africa. But they’re all unacceptable.
“It’s a horrible problem which president Ramaphosa and the South African government are doing their utmost to address at this time. To the best of my knowledge there have been no farms confiscated.”
“We’re interested in a very good climate for greatly increasing business between our nations. And South Africa must continue to create this really good climate so we can greatly increase business immediately.”
Trump raised eyebrows in 2018 after he tweeted that the South African government was ‘seizing land from white farmers’.
He subsequently asked his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to study the seizure and expropriation of land in South Africa, along with the killing of farmers.
In October parliament’s land expropriation committee said it hopes to present its draft bill on 27 November 2019 and have several sessions for deliberations by members of parliament.
Following this, the bill is likely to be published in the government gazette on 10 December 2019, after which a public awareness drive will start.
The official call for public comments is expected to come to an end on 27 January 2020.
“Public participation is a constitutional imperative. We will ensure that there is sufficient public participation,” said committee chairperson Dr Mathole Motshekga.
“We will put the interests of South Africans first and we want to ensure that all South Africans participate.
“The committee wants to give everyone an opportunity to give input, even those who have a different view.
“We will make sure that the interests of all South Africans are put first as it is not just the interest of a section of the public.”
Retirement communities attract quality staff and offer savings for NHS and social care budgets
After Alan Wheatley was widowed last year, it looked as if he would have to go into a care home. Having had a stroke in 2013, he found himself unable to cope on his own and took to sleeping in his lounge. On several occasions, he ended up in hospital after falling.
Just when residential care looked inevitable, Wheatley heard about a new extra-care housing scheme opening on his doorstep in Kingsthorpe, Northampton. He knew the location well – he played darts in the social club that used to occupy part of the site – and the idea of having his own flat with care and support on demand appealed to his desire for independence while offering the assurance of help if needed.
Wheatley, 69, became one of the first residents to move into Balmoral Place, a development of 80 flats, and has since made himself invaluable. Not only does he do a lot of internet shopping and form-filling for fellow residents, but he has become a busy volunteer gardener tending the borders, tubs and hanging baskets around the scheme. He even has a seedling propagator in his flat.
“It all started when I asked if they’d mind if I did a bit of weeding,” says Wheatley, a former mechanic at the Aston Martin car plant in Newport Pagnell. “Then they asked if I wanted some equipment. I’ve got 150 primroses coming this week, which I’ve paid for myself for the moment, but we’re raising a fund to put towards the flowers.”
When he arrived, he had four visits a day by the on-site care team. Now he has none, though all flats have a 24-hour emergency call system. Would he have settled equally well in a care home? “No. It would have been detrimental to the way I live, to my quality of life,” he says. “It’s the flexibility here that makes all the difference.”
Balmoral Place has been developed by housing and care provider Mears Group, which has had a difficult time trying to establish itself in the homecare market. It is now focusing more on extra-care, which it sees as tapping into huge demand from older people like Wheatley who want the combination of their own front door, company when they want it and the security of knowing care is on hand.
“Apart from the fact that housing-with-care is really working for us, it’s the right thing to do,” says Alan Long, Mears executive director. “One real contrast for us is recruitment: the biggest single issue for staff is working with the same service users, so it becomes more than a job. We had more applicants for posts at Balmoral than we had vacancies. That’s probably normal in most people’s worlds, but I can assure you it’s not been normal in mine.”
Long tried and, he admits, largely failed to persuade councils to change the way they commission homecare, wanting them to pay for people’s reablement and other positive outcomes rather than for “time and task”, where staff have a certain amount of time allocated to each task with little chance to build relationships. He is now tackling the housing-with-care agenda with equal zeal, noting with dismay that the government’s social housing green paper last year contained “not a single mention” of building more retirement housing.
His frustration is shared by Associated Retirement Community Operators (Arco), which represents 27 providers of housing with support for older people. It says that only about 75,000 or 0.6% of people aged 65 or over in the UK live in what it terms “retirement communities” – which it distinguishes from basic retirement or sheltered housing that does not offer care or support – compared with 6.1% in the US, 5.4% in New Zealand and 4.9% in Australia. If UK numbers roughly tripled to 250,000 by 2030, which is Arco’s campaign target, cumulative savings of £5.6bn would by then be realised in the health and social care systems.
When the NHS long-term £20bn plan was unveiled in January this year, Arco executive director Michael Voges said: “Improving the planning, funding and legislative treatment for the [retirement communities] sector would help unlock £40bn of investment over the next 12 years – twice the amount of funding being dedicated to this plan.”
Slowly, however, the health and wider social care sectors are waking up to the potential of extra-care housing. At Balmoral Place, four of the flats are reserved for the NHS’s Nene clinical commissioning group, which commissions healthcare for most of Northamptonshire and uses the accommodation as “step-down” beds for older patients discharged from hospital but not yet ready to return home. They stay an average six to eight weeks, with care provided by Mears’ team and visiting doctors and therapists.
Of the other flats, 70% are reserved for council referrals – split evenly between social care and housing – and the rest are available for private rent. The weekly cost is just under £300, including service charges and a £15 “peace of mind” charge for overnight care response. For those eligible, housing benefit covers all but the £15. Booked care sessions are charged extra on the usual means-tested basis.
Some residents have moved into the scheme with early-stage dementia and many others are expected to develop it. But Sian Davenport, Mears’ business development manager, insists that the scheme will be able to cope with their needs in most cases. “We want to provide a home for life. The vast majority of people should never have to move on.”
Balmoral Place is already finding its niche in the Kingsthorpe community. Its cafe is open five days a week, with hopes to go to seven, and its communal facilities are being used by local groups including a Rainbows Girlguiding unit, for ages five to seven, which has come in to help out with the floral displays. “We showed them how to put plants in and some of the basics,” says Wheatley, proudly. “They’ll be back come spring.”
We housing professionals might be frustrated by the lack of progress with our green paper, but at least we’ve got one.
The Social Care Green Paper, as yet unpublished but trailed in the Queen’s Speech in October, was first promised in March 2017 and has, according to The Guardian at least, been delayed six times in 18 months. With everything now on hold pending the election, that will make it seven.
For once Brexit is not to blame, or at least not entirely. The suspicion persists that such is the enormous cost to the only electorally tolerable solutions on the horizon, that the government is unable to bring itself to publish the reality.
You would think then that anything that might bring those costs down would, to say the least, have its attractions.
A few weeks ago, Julie Ogley, the admirable new president of the Association of Adult Directors of Social Services, joined a long line of professionals advocating greater co-operation between housing, health and social services in meeting the needs of our most vulnerable citizens, as well as simultaneously bringing down the ever-increasing costs of care.
Twenty-five years ago, more or less to the month, I became a housing and social services director in a London borough and we had high hopes of bringing about change, maximising our effectiveness for individuals, integrating services and achieving early interventions to maintain tenancies.
Five years later, little of it had happened and a further 20 years later, with the exception of sporadic but welcome beacons of excellence around the country, I’m not sure we are much further forward.
Indeed, if anything, prompted by government indifference and chronic shortage of funds, in many ways we have gone backwards. Will Julie see her vision through? I hope so – and I hope she drags health with her, too. But the auspices are not good. It’s a path littered with failed aspirations.
Why? And what can we do about it?
There are vast numbers of committed and motivated people working in housing and social services and across the health services. Many are cut from the same cloth, equally committed to improving the lives of vulnerable people. But integrated approaches need more than just dedication, well-meaning individuals and good will. The buzz phrase in the ‘90s was “joined-up thinking”, which still pops up in debate occasionally – not surprisingly because it’s still sorely lacking.
So much could be achieved. At the softer end, by identifying early indicators of need, social landlords, social services and health, working jointly can intervene to deliver preventative health and well-being work, enable people to maintain independence, and delay or prevent costly care placements.
Quite apart from using the expertise, eyes and ears of care and support providers in the housing sector, assistive technology can now detect unusual heat, light, humid or damp conditions, voice anxiety, stress, excessive noise or silence, as well as lack of movement in our homes. Health investment in technology helping to maintain tenancies longer must make financial sense.
And there is the perennial and nonsensical cost of bed-blocking. Everyone signs up to early discharge but few seem to have cracked the solution of providing and funding appropriate treatment at home, intermediate care homes with appropriate staffing, and live-in care to release much-needed in-patient beds for those who actually need it.
Specialist housing providers can provide post-discharge care in specialist but much cheaper provision than prolonged stays in hospitals and in conditions much more conducive to recovery, too.
Closer working could prioritise integrated service provision, mutual use of facilities and online resources. For all the substantial leaps forward in digital services for our residents now taking place in the sector, how many link with ease to social and health care services from which our residents could benefit?
And then there is integrating strategy at a national level. It’s tough. Just think: housing, social services and care have different funding streams, governance models and regulators. Housing associations are independent and nationally regulated. Councils oversee social services and social housing provision – yet even here, in many places, housing and social services are overseen by different local government tiers.
Care providers are regulated by the Care Quality Commission and the NHS is a complex mixture of top-down governmental strategy setting and local semi-independence. Overseeing all this is a government structure beleaguered by silo mentalities and the complications of politics.
“Housing providers are in a great position to deliver services to help ease the crises that both sectors face – but we can’t do it through inspired individuals alone”
As one housing association chief executive puts it: health and social care, through lack of resources and planning, are “too ragged to be creative and co-operative”. But it’s not all one way. A health and social care consultancy I know equally despairs at getting traction with housing associations to engage with health. Housing providers are in a great position to deliver services to help ease the crises that both sectors face – but we can’t do it through inspired individuals alone.
There have been efforts nationally of course and they are welcome. Improving health and care through the home: a national memorandum of understanding, first published in December 2014 and updated in March last year, is a thoroughly sensible document devised by all the lead organisations that have sign up to it, but as yet it’s hard to see across the board evidence of its impact. And in my work with a large number of housing association boards over the past couple of years, I don’t recall seeing it mentioned.
Maybe we need more eye catching evidence? Last month, Housing LIN (which tirelessly devotes itself to the cause of an integrated approach) and Southampton Council produced a report, Identifying the health care system benefits of housing with care, which did just that.
The study found benefits ranging from improvements to residents’ quality of life, reductions in the use of health services and associated resources, and significant cost benefits for the health system from the use of housing with care services. It was possible to estimate that for each person living in a home with care settings, the financial benefit to NHS was approximately £2,000 per person per annum (calculated as a costs benefit to the health care system).
A saving of £2,000 per annum per person? You wonder what more evidence is needed. But as one blogger, Chandra McGowan, chief executive of Whiteley Homes Trust, on the report put it: “None of this is rocket science, but the will to flexibly and creatively move resources to make it happen still feels as remote as the moon.”
“The barriers must be broken down, not just for the sake of efficiency and service quality but for the well-being of the people we jointly serve”
It’s a familiar litany. Much can be done by inspired individuals working across boundaries to achieve innovative services and excellent co-working. But the benefits of bringing health, social services and housing together won’t be delivered by individuals trying to achieve change in the face of inappropriate structures, funding and systems.
There are some great organisations and people – including those at Central & Cecil – who forge really excellent partnerships at local levels and are full of action and ideas, but equally there are hard-pressed professionals struggling to cope with the immense demands of the day job.
The lack of an overarching strategic direction means that breaking down the barriers is not just daunting but sometimes seems impossible. But the barriers must be broken down, not just for the sake of efficiency and service quality but for the well-being of the people we jointly serve.
Twenty-five years after my first engagement with health and social care, I’m back at the heart of it. I hope to achieve a lot more this time by supporting Housing LIN and all the other campaigners to make this work at last.
Perhaps on the subject of housing, care and health, there should be just one green paper. The prize is too great to ignore and so are the potential savings – politicians take note.
Residents cry for help as estate sinks below sea level *Neighbourhood taken over by drug addicts
LASURA courts private investors, adopts N288 billion highrise building technology
BINTU RAHMAN dreads thunderstorms. The early drizzle pounds fear through her roof into her fragile frame. When it pours, the 86-year-old feels a rare chill to the bones; rivulets trickle through her housetop. It channels down the living room wall, leaving a brownish smear in its wake, the colour of rusted aluminium and dusty slates.
“The rain destroys everything. It leaks through the roof and the flood takes over our homes. Our houses are sinking and falling apart, but we have nowhere else to •Ganga paradise: Unidentified teenagers and young adults smoke Indian Hemp in the open to the Chagrin of Phase I residents. go. I have been trapped inside since four days ago. I couldn’t step into the flood,” she said, staring outside her second-floor apartment at Block 67, Adeniji Adele Phase III Housing Estate, Lagos.
Outside, the spatter of rain had subsided to a sprinkle, the note of each drop playing into the tenor of filth below. The buildings look derelict from afar. Closer, the peach-coloured flats bleed into the bleak, dark, expanse. The sinking houses, peeling paint lines, vanishing porches, roads and sidewalks bear insolent scars of decades-old flooding and sludge, a menacing fallout of administrative neglect and torrential rainsquall.
A journey through the flooded expanse is akin to a pilgrimage of sort. Venturing out of her apartment to receive the reporter, Rahman, 86, seemed like a wayfarer seeking to rediscover the forgotten footpath to the neighbourhood in its prime. However, she couldn’t advance beyond the rickety bridge made of a broken plank, which connects her house to the river of muck bordering her front yard.
At four feet, it’s too shallow to pass as a river, but it was deep enough to instill caution in the 86-year-old and her five-year-old neighbour, Mariam. The latter, cleverly, avoids the pool by taking a detour to her block.
“It’s quite sad,” said Rahman. “Every time I stare down my window, I am besieged by memories of this estate back when it was habitable. Then, we all felt privileged to live here. Little kids (like Mariam) do not have to suffer any ordeal while running an errand. But that was 25 years ago when my late husband, Rasheed, bought our apartment and we moved in thinking we had made a good buy. Today, I can’t bear to live here anymore. There is no pipe-borne water. We have to buy water from vendors.
Nonetheless, she raised her children there. “They used to live on the ground floor, but the persistent flooding sacked them from their apartment,” said Rahman.
Corroborating her, one of her sons, who pleaded anonymity, said that he had to flee his flat on the ground floor and relocate to his parents’ apartment on the second floor.
“It’s so sad. We live here like animals. They can’t keep neglecting us. This place has become very dangerous to live in,” he said.
The ‘Lizards of Lagos’
There is no gainsaying that flooding constitutes a major challenge to residents of Adeniji Adele Housing Estate Phases 1 to 4. The low-income housing estate, which comprises 120 residential blocks of two bedrooms and three bedroom apartments in four phases, was established in 1983. At the period, it was considered an attractive residential project thus making access to the housing units very competitive.
The proximity of the site to the Lagos lagoon, its low lying terrain, and external, physical development infractions have caused the estate to be decimated by floods over the years.
“I moved here as a bachelor in 1985. I also got married here. Those were the glory years. Today, this estate has gone to the dogs,” lamented Yinka Adekunle, 58. The widower and father of four stated that but for his undying attachment to the community, he would have relocated abroad to live with his son.
“I tried it once but I could not bear to live anywhere else. Soon after my wife passed away, my first son invited me over to London to live with his family but I couldn’t. Life over there was too boring and regimented. I missed my friends back home. I felt constantly harassed by the laws over there. I returned home four months later. And I never had any cause to regret until now,” he said.
Residents like Adekunle comprise what is known in coastal city parlance as Alangba Eko, meaning the Lizard of Lagos. The moniker connotes a subtle barb at residents of flooded parts of the Adeniji Adele estate, most of whom have refused to vacate their quarters for more habitable places on the mainland or outside Lagos.
“They do not mind the perils of living in a flooded slum,” said a shoemaker and resident of the estate’s Phase 2 commune.
A short history of neglect
Alhaji Rasaq Noibi, Chairman of Phase 2 residents association and also the Social Secretary of Adeniji Adele Phase I-IV Housing Estate and Oko Awo, stated that the flooding happened due to the neglect of the canal structure that ran through the four phases of the estate.
“By the time we came here, this estate was a great place to live, but in time, there was a sand-filling in front of the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC) office across the road. That was when this problem started. It, however, worsened by the time of the filling of the Ilubirin building site; all the water began to flow back here. It worsens during the rainy season, then there is a blockage and flooding became the order of the day here,” he said.
The first flood happened in 1994 and continued ever since. Residents alleged that the major contribution to the persistent flooding is the “sand filling” of the Ilubirin area behind the estate. The sea level rose and water flowed backward. The canal structure is three-quarters-filled with sand, as it is not maintained.
According to Noibi, former Lagos governor, Babatunde Fashola, noticed the dilapidated state of the estate towards the end of his tenure. “He noticed that most of our houses were about collapsing when he came to inspect the canal and he instructed the Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA) to intervene.
“The agency staff came, and during deliberations, we agreed on relocation. But before we can relocate, we stated that we would hand over our buildings to them for regeneration. After the regeneration, our flats would be given back to us, free. The project commenced in Phase 1 of the estate, where five blocks were demolished to pave way for the exercise.
“At the sitting with LASURA, it was decided that residents whose houses were billed for regeneration (renovation) would be relocated to the LASURA Transit Camps at Iba and Amuwo. Before the exercise commenced, they were given N25,000 each to finance their relocation to the transit camps. But there were some who insisted that they are lizards of Lagos (Alangba Eko); they said they were not living the vicinity of the estate,” said Noibi.
“So, we agreed that those ones should be given money to rent houses in the area and each family was given N1.2 million as rent for three years. Subsequently, the figure was reviewed to N550, 000 per year. But as we speak now, their rent is due and they are yet to receive the next instalment.
When Governor Akinwunmi Ambode assumed office, said Noibi, “he said he would not spend government money on the scheme and suggested that we involved a private investor. Then we (community heads) contacted the United Africa Company (UAC), who were more than willing to help out, but Ambode refused to put pen to paper. This is why we are here today,” he lamented.
It will be recalled that the Lagos State Government paid N6.6 million to the 12 families who were displaced due to the ongoing redevelopment project of Adeniji Adele Phase 1 as rent for the 2017/2018 period.
The 12 families who received the payment were reporteldy among the 30 families living in the estate before the demolition for redevelopment.
The government was said to have paid an initial N18 million as rent for the 12 families in 2014, while the N6.6m served as payment for the 2017/18 period with each family collecting N550,000 as against N500,00 previously collected due to increase in rent.
The families were given two options of resettlement: either they moved to LASURA’s Transit Camp within Iba Housing Estate or get paid to secure a convenient accommodation in a location of their choice, pending the completion of the project.
Eighteen families opted for resettlement at the transit camp while the remaining 12 families chose to receive money to rent an apartment of their choice in a preferred location.
Drug dens and marijuana divide
Those left behind, that is, current residents of the estate, however, have to contend with greater challenges. Besides the persistent flooding, decrepit infrastructure and lack of potable water supply, they have to deal with the invasion of the community by aliens and shady characters.
“A major fallout of our flooding challenge is the invasion of our community by criminal elements. Since many of the apartments here are deserted after flood sacked the occupants, criminals have moved into the empty buildings; they have turned most of them into drug dens where they sell and smoke hard drugs,” disclosed a member of the estate’s Community Development Association (CDA), who pleaded anonymity.
The Nation’s tour of the area revealed the depth of the estate’s brewing drug crisis. The reporter encountered gangs of youths brazenly smoking and selling Indian Hemp in the open, particularly near the clogged canal of the estate’s Phase 1 region.
Why govt, other stakeholders must intervene
Worried by the crisis posed by the estate’s environmental challenges, among other habitats, stakeholders came together recently to address the challenges at the climate and habitat conference on Flood Resilience and Housing in the City of Lagos. The event, which was convened by development guru, Lookman Oshodi’s Arctic Infrastructure (AI) and Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Nigeria, at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) building, Alausa, Ikeja, on Thursday, June 20, highlighted the climate change factors affecting the city.
Speaking at the event, Engr. Sunday Omoniyi of the Lagos State Public Works Corporation/Ministry of the Environment reviewed the flooding situation in Adeniji-Adele, Lagos Island and Divine Estate Idi-Ori, Ajegunle as ponderous case studies.
Reacting to flooding and housing challenges in Adeniji-Adele/Ilubirin, he said that the government improved on the state’s drainage Master Plan in 2015 to “de-flood” the entire state, including Adeniji Adele Housing Estate, but gross environmental mismanagement hindered the functionality of the basic drainage infrastructures within the area.
Omoniyi linked the causes of flooding in Lagos to global climate change and poor urban planning.
He stated that according to the drainage Master Plan 2015, there are three primary drainage channels and other secondary and tertiary drain networks within Adeniji Adele neighbourhood proposed to “de-flood” Lagos Island, and they are mostly concrete lined.
The primary channels are the Jankara/Adeniji-Adele channel which runs through the Ilubirin reclaimed land area with 10 meters bottom width, 15 meters top width and 1.5 meters depth; the McGregor channel, which runs within Osborne estate having a 10 meters bottom width, 15 meters top width and 1.5 meters depth; the Mandilas/Ebute Elefun channel, which runs along with Sura Market and Osborne extension.
Omoniyi recommended total urban regeneration of the estate due to the structural state of most of the buildings and its poor planning at the time of conception.
Funding the master plan may, however, pose a problem going by the claim of Abiodun Oyeshola of the state’s Ministry of Finance that the budgetary provision for drainage—both construction and maintenance—is declining. The major cause of setback in fighting flood in the state, argued Oyeshola, is government policy and lack of political will.
Further expert analysis of the flooding at the Adeniji Adele Housing Estate revealed that the community was built below sea level. Arctic Infrastructure recommended that the estate should be raised at least 3.5 meters above sea level as opposed to its current 0.6 meters, due to its closeness to the Lagos lagoon.
In an earlier attempt to improve living conditions in the estate, Lagos authorities mooted a major urban renewal project billed to see the transformation of the estate into high-rise buildings. As part of the efforts of the state government to get rid of slums in the state, it projected a reduction at five per cent per annum basis of its slums in the Lagos State Development Plan 2012–2025, similar to the first and second phases of the Lagos Island redevelopment that involved Isalegangan and Ojo-Giwa areas.
At present, the estate houses 15,000 people with 720 housing units, but in the swift urban renewal project, the state targeted 2,500 housing units in a high rising building format.
In an exclusive interview with The Nation, the General Manager of LASURA, Sholebo, disclosed that the redevelopment of Adeniji Adele Housing Estate Phase I-IV will commence soon.
He cited UACN Property Development Company (UPDC) Plc and ATO/Integra Architects Consortium as prospective developers, who have indicated interest and submitted designs for the projects.
He said that the state targets the construction of 2,500 housing units with all infrastructural facilities including alternative power supply and recreational facilities. According to him, “The redevelopment of Adeniji Adele Phase I-IV Housing Estate will be using a combination of various house types at various heights to achieve the required density for the redevelopment. The project consists of commercial and community development as well as provisions for elevated parking spaces would make it one of the iconic estates in the state.”
He said the project, when completed, will further meet the housing needs of residents in fulfilment of the government’s promise to provide shelter across all divisions of Lagos.
Although the United Nations (UN) pegged the city’s population at 14 million, Lagos government estimates it nearer 21 million, as rural Nigerians are drawn by the hope of a better life to its congested mainland and coastlines, daily.
To contain the surge in population, the new administration of Babajide Sanwoolu would be banking on the Lagos Drainage Master Plan 2015, drafted to address necessary factors such as area topography, tidal variations and climate change, among other variables, to ensure that the city of Lagos and Adeniji Adele Housing Estate Phase I-IV in particular, is flood-resilient.
Amid the misery of flooding and failed drainages, Bintu Rahman, 86, is a woman older and wiser. Her mind gradually adapts, like a channel of coarse memories and forms, through which beauty once raged.
Her five-year-old neighbour, Mariam, on the other hand, presents a perfect opposite to the widow and grandmother. Innocence enshrouds her as she meanders, running errands through rivers of muck, daily, like a light-walker on pond scum.
In the estate, the five-year-old cuts the perfect mould of what may pass as the beauty of things after a rainstorm. Yet it cannot be said that the storm has eluded or besmirched her. For she is of the storm.