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How Land Disputes Stall Property Development

The saying that where there is no love, there is no development is most ripe when we talk about property development especially in Nigeria. Land disputes have cost both government and private investors unquantifiable losses. The losses result from infrastructure denial, destruction and project abandonment. The federal government recently bemoaned the activities of both individuals and communities whose actions have impeded development of infrastructure in their localities. However, the government reacts like that, it has not been able to do what they ought to do to settle communities land disputes. 

Encountering a boundary dispute with an adjacent neighbor is a fairly common issue for landowners. There are many ways a boundary dispute can arise. Sometimes, deed descriptions are inaccurate and have been this way for a long time. Sometimes, though the neighbors all agree that the legal description is correct, one neighbor has been occupying a portion of the land for long enough to claim ownership of it, under a theory of “adverse possession.” Another possible source of dispute is when multiple, unrecorded deeds convey the same property to different people.

Are you encroaching on the neighbors’ land, or are they encroaching on yours? The cause of the dispute, amount of land in question, and available options for resolution vary greatly depending on the facts of the situation. This article will discuss what to do first in the event of a dispute. With a population of over 200 million people and significant reserves of natural resources, Nigeria has the potential to build a prosperous economy and well-functioning cities. However, key weaknesses in the land governance system represent potentially significant constraints on the country’s ability to realize its full economic and social potential.

Although recognition of land rights is high, formal registration of those rights remains extremely low, and the cost of registration is unaffordable for many land users. Nigeria’s vibrant cities lack updated master plans to guide their growth and development, resulting in a proliferation of informal development. The management of public land still suffers from questions of transparency and appropriate compensation for expropriation, and land disputes brought before the court system often take years.

To understanding the boundary issue in when a land is in dispute has more to do with government involvement otherwise, blood will continue to flow like we use to have between communities like Igbakwu and Omor, Aguleri and Umueri, Ife and Modakeke to mention just this few.To settle such cases and have a lasting peace, one whether Government or Committees, one must first, make sure he has a full understanding of the cause and nature of the dispute. If there is court case in respect to dispute and how far the settlements have gone. Was there any verdict in the past, has any committee given any judgement in the past.

What is the relationship or difference between the court judgment and that of the committees. All these will help you to make final judgment linking and aligning with already court and committee judgments. You will need to get a professional analysis of whether you are encroaching on your neighbors’ property or vice versa, and find out how long the encroachment has gone on, how much land is being encroached upon, and whether permission was ever given to encroach.

In the event that such thing is not done, any government development sited in any of the communities in disputes will be sabotaged. This is why government should consider settling such cases to enable development to come and stay. Also government should consider the area and value of land in dispute. This may be small enough that the issue is best resolved by mutual agreement rather than by rushing into court. Litigation costs add up quickly, and can easily exceed the value of the land in question. How you proceed greatly depends on your relationship with the neighbor. Keeping things friendly, or at least civil, is often the best approach.

If your relationship with your neighbor allows, try to speak with him or her about the issue. Perhaps there’s simply a misunderstanding, which can be cleared up between the two of you. Although consulting with your attorney is advisable prior to talking with the neighbor, try to leave the attorney in the background for now – in other words, don’t get the attorney involved in communications with your neighbor, or take any action to file a lawsuit. A personal visit, phone call, letter, or even an email from you will be better received than a letter from your attorney, or actions like filing a complaint or placing stakes or ribbons on the land you claim is yours. That’s especially true if your neighbor doesn’t yet know that you believe there’s a boundary issue. You will figure out shortly after speaking with your neighbor whether attorneys will need to be brought in.

With over 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Nearly half of Nigerians live in cities, and population densities vary widely (from about 41 people/km2 in Adamawa State to more than 2,480 in Lagos State). Nigeria has at least six cities with populations greater than 1 million, making controlled urbanization a significant challenge for the country. Additionally, Nigeria is extremely diverse, with more than 350 ethnic groups. Of these, the largest are the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Ibo, who comprise majorities in the northern, western, and eastern regions respectively.1 The population is almost evenly split between Christians and Muslims, with less than 2 percent adhering to other religions. Nigeria is covered by two major types of vegetation – (i) the forest types found in the south and (ii) the savannah types covering the middle belt and northern part of Nigeria. The total amount of rainfall and the length of the wet season decrease progressively from the south to the northern part of the country. In the north, it has been estimated that that about 351,000 ha of land is lost to desertification each year.2 Thus land management and policies need to reflect the heterogeneity of Nigeria from north to south, not only in terms of population and institutions, but also geography and climate.

Neighbors sometimes get into arguments over property boundaries, which can escalate and cause additional problems. We can’t always prevent these disputes, but the following information will help you resolve issues and avoid problems with your neighbors. Surveys done at the time of any property purchase should reflect the boundary lines. Prior to erecting a fence on a boundary line, an updated survey could be ordered to determine the accurate boundary lines. This may be impossible in some cases, due to the age of the property or the wording of the deed. (Some older deeds can contain legal descriptions such as “52 feet from the bend in the stream” on a piece of land, which now has only a dry riverbed where a stream once existed.) Another alternative in a boundary dispute is for adjacent property owners to agree on a physical object such as a fence which could serve as the boundary line between the two property.

Each owner would then sign a quitclaim deed to the other, granting the neighbor ownership to any land on the other side of the line agreed upon. If the piece of property in dispute has been used by someone other than the owner for a number of years, the doctrine of adverse possession may apply. State laws vary with respect to time requirements. But typically, the possession by the non-owner must be open, notorious, and under a claim of right. In some states, the non-owner must also pay the property taxes on the occupied land. A permissive use of property eliminates the ability to claim adverse possession.

However, whether there is a dispute over a portion or a parcel of land, it is always advisable for two neighbours to have their boundary because that will give credibility to any claim that the institution which government put in there or intends to put in there is put on his/her land. Experts discussing how some ongoing projects are not only stalled but entirely abandoned posit that litigation whether in the law court or within the family circles many a time stops the government from continuing with whatever project it has in mind. Research has also revealed that the completion of all ongoing housing schemes is a major strategy which any state would deploy in meeting its target.

The experts therefore urge investors to complete the projects allocated to them because that is the only way to maximize and in other ways, the urge governments to monitor the contractors or have their contracts revoked. All housing schemes that had been contracted out to private sector partners and joint investors are to be completed within the time frame indicated in the contractual agreements or have them cancelled. This fall within the warnings handed over to private investors and contractors by the Lagos State Commissioner for Housing. Although, investors had been citing encumbrances, disappointments from funding partners and conflicts with various host communities as major difficulties that use to stall timely completion of such projects.

Source: sunnewsonline

Poverty Capital Of The World

Last April the international charity, Oxfam, revealed that the number of extreme poor in Nigeria had skyrocketed to 94.4 million people, with 3 million having been added to that unhappy lot in a span of six months. As some of my gentle readers would recall, in 2017 Nigeria overtook India for the dubious prize of being the world’s poverty capital. India’s destitute poor number some 70 million, 5.124 percent of a total population of 1.36 billion. Nigeria’s 94.5 million poor constitute 47.2 percent of our current estimated population of 200 million. Nearly a half of our population are virtually condemned to the nightmare of the Middle Ages.

In our context, poverty has strong regional and gender dimensions. The majority of the poor are women and vulnerable groups. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that the North is the poorest region in the country, with Sokoto having the worst record of 81.2 percent. Adamawa and Gombe both have a poverty rate of 74.2 percent. Lagos and the south fare better. Our commercial capital has a poverty rate of 48.6 percent while Bayelsa has 47 percent.

Poverty in our context is defined in terms of those who live below the threshold of $1.90 or N684 per day. Poverty is not a sign of virtue; it is, in fact, a curse.  Neither is it a situation determined by our destiny or DNA. On the contrary, it derives from the failure of governance and inability of our government to generate those public goods that promote collective welfare for the vast majority.

Nigeria’s current status as the world capital of poverty is a great national embarrassment. We are supposed to be OPEC’s sixth biggest oil exporter and Africa’s biggest economy by far. And we are richly endowed with natural resources. It is damaging to both our national honour and our external image and standing in the world comity of nations.

Poverty is popularly defined as lack of sufficient material resources to live a decent life in society. Distinctions are often made between absolute poverty, which refers to the complete lack of access to basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing; and relative poverty, which refers to a condition where people cannot meet their own basic needs relative to the minimum standards that obtain within a society. The concept of relative poverty highlights inequality and exclusion as critical elements in the poverty equation. The father of economic science, Adam Smith in his classic work, The Wealth of Nations, underlined the relative nature of poverty in terms of not only those  “commodities which are indispensably necessary for the support of life but whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order, to be without.”

“Nigeria’s current status as the world capital of poverty is a great national embarrassment. We are supposed to be OPEC’s sixth biggest oil exporter and Africa’s biggest economy by far. And we are richly endowed with natural resources.”

In our day and age, poverty is not only an economic and financial phenomenon; it has various other dimensions. It includes things like literacy, access to information, access to basic social services such as health, education, social protection and sanitation. The Indian Nobel laureate Amartya Sen drew attention to the role and importance of political empowerment and freedom as essential elements of development and human welfare. Sen conceptualises poverty in terms of lack of access to basic entitlements, defined in terms of the “various bundles of goods and services over which one has command, taking into cognizance the means by which such goods are acquired…and the availability of the needed goods.”

According to the World Bank, other dimensions of poverty include: abuse by those in power; dis-empowering institutions; gender relationships; lack of security; limited capabilities; physical limitations; precarious livelihoods; problems in social relationships; weak community organisations; and discrimination. Quite often hunger and malnutrition are among the most visible symptoms of poverty, in addition to diseases such as preventable diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. There is also the gender dimension, illiteracy and lack of access to education and the politics of exclusion. Linked to this is lack of access to financial services and to public utilities such as electricity, public utilities, health and sanitation.

The poor tend to live in remote villages as well as in urban slums. They are often disproportionately exposed to violence and insecurity and the vagaries of climate change. Grand corruption and poor governance by power elites aggravate the condition of the poor by robbing them of those resources that could have improved their livelihoods while excluding them from participation in those decisions that shape their future and that of their children.

In the Nigerian context, the roots of poverty derive poor governance; low economic growth; macroeconomic shocks and policy failure; unemployment; urbanisation; lack of investments in human capital; and violence and insecurity.

Poor governance is one of the key drivers of poverty. Poor governance as manifested in corruption entails robbing the public of budgetary resources that could have been channelled into infrastructures and economic development. Equally important is low growth and macroeconomic failure. Economic science has established a strong causal relationship between growth and poverty alleviation. Growth stimulates expanding opportunities for jobs and collective welfare. When growth accelerates so does collective welfare. With the recent recovery from recession, growth remains sluggish and uncertain. We would be lucky to achieve 2.0 percent at year’s end 2019.

Under the current dispensation, the incidence of poverty is reaching harrowing proportions, in addition to youth unemployment that is as high as 70 percent in the poorest regions of the North. An estimated 45 million of our youths are either unemployed our under-employed. To make matters worse, rural banditry has been on the increase, in addition to kidnapping and the nightmare of random, nihilistic, violence.

Climate change is one of the catastrophic realities of our world today. Scientists tell us that we have entered a new Anthropocene Age. For the first time in millennia, human activities can independently alter the physiognomy of the biosphere and eco-system of planet earth. Linked to this is the inevitable challenge of natural resource depletion. Expanding population will trigger greater competition for increasing scarce strategic natural resources. In Nigeria we face the prospect of the drying up Lake Chad and the challenge of desertification which has been encroaching at the rate of 6.5 km per annum. In the south there is the challenge of erosion, floods and massive oil pollution, all of which impact negatively on human livelihoods. Climate change is partly responsible for the Boko Haram insurgency and for the atrocities committed by herdsmen militias in the Middle Belt. Violence and conflict have led to greater poverty and greater humanitarian disaster in terms of millions of internally displaced people.

The good news is that we can do something about it. We can take bolder and more original initiatives to reverse the path-dependence towards deepening poverty in our country. The great scientist and sage, Albert Einstein, famously noted that the mark of madness is to continue doing the same things while expecting a different outcome. We need bolder leadership, institutional reforms and more effective governance if we are to effectively tackle poverty in our country.

Much of the current intervention programmes aimed poverty alleviation are, at best, amateurish; at worst, they are mere vehicles for corruption and rent-seeking. We need a bolder and more visionary approach anchored on peace, the rule of law and social justice. We need to launch an ambitious programme of Hope; rallying our people together while investing heavily in human capital and public works on the scale of the Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1930s America. These programmes must also be implemented without recourse to party-politics and the shameless clannishness that defines public policy in Nigeria today.

Source: businessday

How Your Company Can land You in Trouble When Hate Speech Bill Becomes Law

Recently, the senate introduced the bill seeking to prohibit hate speech in the country. The bill entitled, “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill 2019” is being sponsored by Sabi Abdullahi, deputy majority whip of the senate.

The proposed legislation has sparked outrage and condemnation over some of its provisions. In the previous assembly, Abdullahi sponsored the same bill, but it did make it through to third reading.

The current bill prescribes death penalty for hate speech and the establishment a commission to prohibit it.

Here are some highlights of the bill:

WHAT CONSTITUTES AN OFFENCE?

According to the bill, a person who uses, publishes, presents, produces, plays, provided, distributes and/or directs the performance of any material, written and or visual which is threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior commits an offence if such person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or persons from such an ethnic group in Nigeria.

DEATH BY HANGING

Section 4 (2) of the bill provides that any person found to have committed this offence shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished through death by hanging.

Section 6 (1) provides that any person who knowingly utters words to incite feelings of contempt, hatred, hostility, violence or discrimination against any person, group or community on the basis of ethnicity or race, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term not less than five years, or to a fine of not less than N10 million or both.

NOT JUST INDIVIDUALS CAN BE FOUND GUILTY

The bill says in the case of an offence committed by a body of persons where the body of persons is a corporate body, every director, trustee and officer of that body corporate shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence; and

(b) where the body of persons is a firm, every partner of that firm shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence.

Going by this, the fate of individuals in organisations are tied to their colleagues.

ESTABLISHMENT OF A COMMISSION

Section 9 (1) provides for the establishment of a commission to be known as the Independent National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches.

Section 9 (2) provides that the commission shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and shall, in its corporate name, be capable of

(a) Suing and being sued,

(b) Purchasing or otherwise acquiring, holding, charging or disposing of movable and immovable property;

(c) Borrowing or lending money; and

(d) Doing or performing all other things or acts for the furtherance of the provision of this Act which may lawfully be done of performed by a body corporate.

Section 10 (1) provides that the headquarters of the commission shall be in Abuja, but the commission may establish branch offices in each of the states of the federation in Nigeria.

The bill is not yet a law so it cannot take effect.

Source: thecableng

The Social Housing Network: How Facebook is Changing The Relationship Between Social Landlords and Tenants

It is fair to say that Facebook does not get much good press these days. Implicated in tax-dodging, data-harvesting and electoral malpractice and abandoned by a growing number of young people, it is seen by many as representing the worst excesses of big tech.

Nonetheless, the world’s biggest social media platform still does a lot of things for a lot of people – including enabling them to coalesce around common interests.

Earlier this year, a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary, which painted an unflattering picture of 45,000-home Sanctuary Housing’s maintenance standards, highlighted how Facebook groups are providing a conduit for social housing residents to air grievances.

Almost all housing associations now operate their own social media channels, as part of authorised resident engagement structures. But Sanctuary is not the only organisation to face a challenge from tenants who are instead gathering in independent groups, many of them off limits to staff.

But what can tenants and residents achieve from organising on Facebook groups – and can such communities open fresh communication channels with landlords? Inside Housing spoke to people on both sides of the divide to try to find out.

As housing associations have become less geographically anchored, and social housing less based on mono-tenure estates, the online space has enabled dispersed residents to pool frustrations that might otherwise have remained isolated.

“Social media gives tenants a new place to engage with each other and discover and raise common issues,” says Giles Peaker, solicitor at Anthony Gold, a firm that specialises in housing disputes. “This seems to be filling a gap left by the lack of more traditional forms of representation like tenants’ and residents’ associations.”

Inside Housing has spoken to members of several residents’ Facebook groups to assess how the platform is changing interaction with landlords.

Underpinning many complaints are accounts of poor experiences relating to landlords’ communication channels. Tenants complain that they are repeatedly fobbed off when they report recurring maintenance issues. Some say critical exchanges on their housing association’s official Facebook pages get deleted, with parties sometimes blocked. That means those conversations must be had elsewhere, where landlords do not police the debate.

Yet those who speak to Inside Housing say Facebook groups have given them not just a safe space to vent to others with similar problems, but also one where they can access support, expertise and the tools to find solutions.

“Others sharing their experiences and suggestions is very useful, especially in regard to how to contact Clarion and advice around record-keeping and procedures,” says one member of the Clarion Tenants Support Group. “I now feel more empowered to push harder for resolutions.”

Besides acting on information themselves, some members say they have used the groups as a platform from which to access legal advice.

“I joined the Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group in 2018 and was directed to solicitors,” says Amanda Antrobus, who featured in the Dispatches investigation and is still in dispute with her landlord over the condition of her home. “If it wasn’t for that advice, I doubt Sanctuary would have acted.”

A senior manager at a legal partnership specialising in housing disrepair, who comments on condition of anonymity because of their employer’s media policies, notes dryly that housing associations “tend to deal with problems quickly when lawyers get involved”.

“[In some cases] that’s a complete reverse of how tenants find them,” they add, citing factors ranging from inflexible appointment-making, to slow central purchasing mechanisms, to repairs contracts that disincentivise operatives from repairing things thoroughly.

Sanctuary denies that the involvement of lawyers makes a difference to its response. “We aim to give everyone the same quality and speed of service regardless of how they contact us or who is advocating on their behalf,” says Simon Clark, group director of housing at the association.

Social media does not necessarily create an adversarial relationship between housing associations and residents; indeed, members of Facebook groups say they want to bring landlords to the table for discussions about action on common issues.

Mark Read, who works as a business coach and facilitator, says that his “one objective” after becoming active on the Clarion Tenants Support Group was to broker a meeting between group members and senior leaders at the association.

“For me, all change comes from human-to-human communication,” he says. “I was looking for, first, a meeting, and then for them to agree to meet people [chosen by the group] in their homes.”

Admins from the Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group and Hyde Housing Independent Resident Group also tell Inside Housing they have made overtures to their landlords on the subject of direct talks. The latter group wrote in September 2019 to new Hyde Group chief executive Peter Denton setting out its grievances and suggesting a meeting to begin rebuilding trust, stating that “our overarching aim is to have a good relationship with Hyde”.

Of the three groups, only members of the Clarion Tenants Support Group – including Mr Read – have sat down recently with housing association staff. Parties from both sides say it seemed like a positive step.

“We got lots of issues out on the table. It felt beneficial and helpful; we talked about future engagement and began to develop a strategy,” says Vicky Bonner, director of housing at Clarion.

But following the summer meeting, material appearing to show a group admin and moderator abusing another member online was sent to Clarion. The association has since refused any further meetings, on the basis that it could be seen to be condoning unacceptable behaviour, unless its staff are allowed full access to the group.

Group admins acknowledge that there was an exchange, now taken down, that “turned unpleasant”. But they say that it was an isolated occurrence and that selective deleting of posts, before the whole thread was removed, had made it look more one-sided than it was. Whatever the full truth, the situation currently looks deadlocked.

Paul Singleton, director of customer experience at Hyde, also says that staff have written to admins of the Hyde Housing Independent Resident Group (HHIRG) – on which content is publicly viewable – after seeing derogatory posts about individual officers. “Upon receipt of one of these letters, an HHIRG admin published a pinned post stating that offensive personal attacks on Hyde Group staff and involved residents would be deleted,” he adds.

Asked why Hyde is not meeting with members of the Facebook group, Mr Singleton says that residents should stick to official channels if they want to discuss problems. With group admins saying they have no trust in those channels, the two sides seem, as with Clarion, to be at an impasse for now.

But Sanctuary’s Mr Clark strikes a more conciliatory tone, insisting that he is willing to meet members unconditionally.

Kate Reynolds, head of external affairs at Sanctuary, adds that there has been a “breakdown of trust” with some tenants and acknowledges that the association “has to work to rebuild it”.

Interacting with resident groups outside official channels is something housing associations should not dismiss, says Catherine Ryder, director of policy and research at the National Housing Federation.

“[But] I don’t think there is one answer [to how to engage] – it will depend on the nature of groups and their issues,” says Ms Ryder, whose organisation is exploring how relationships between landlords and tenants can be improved, via its Together with Tenants initiative.

A straightforward olive branch can go a long way, Mr Peaker believes. He adds that landlords that treat groups with suspicion “will simply inflame an oppositional culture, which is unlikely to go well for [them] overall”.

“Social landlords need to recognise and address real issues raised, without deflection or denial, and take these groups seriously in addressing their services,” he says.

Source: InsideHousing

Why Housing Professionals Must Unite to Develop Nigeria Housing Industry

To see the kind of progress needed in reducing Nigeria’s housing deficit of at least 17 million, housing sector professionals must imbibe the spirit of unity and be on the same page in terms of policies, ideas, innovative projects and sustainability drives.

Stakeholders have continuously bemoaned the increasingly low level of collaboration among each other in the Nigerian housing sector.

The current approach to professional practice in the housing development, which is characterised by each professional working largely within the narrow confines of their profession has negative consequences on the development of the real estate industry in Nigeria. And some of the consequences include substandard development, increased cost of developments, lack of financial intelligence, and lack of data collation, lack of finance pool or funding, difficulty in doing business, more self-borne risks, limited learning and many more.

The lack of adequate cross sector collaboration among and between stakeholders remain a major threat to the realisation of affordable housing goals. The kind of projects and initiatives essential to scale up housing supply in Nigeria requires a lot of collaboration and synergy among stakeholders.

With over 17 million housing deficit, and the need to build at least 1 million homes annually, there is need for active collaboration networks to achieve this goal.

Like some stakeholders attest to, many developers and financers are working in silos, and this shouldn’t be so.

Even alternative methods of financing housing development like cooperatives are being dealt a huge blow because of lack of collaboration.

Cooperatives allow for resources to be pulled together from various members who have come into the unit for the purposes of realising their objective, which may be homeownership.

Attempts have been made over the years to raise money through conventional means, but no suitable one could be found.

Through the cooperative option, members are able to increase wealth and create long-term lending options through their funds at very low interest rate.

Despite efforts by investors in the private sector, the government should also increase investment in housing, especially in providing primary infrastructure.

Against the background that primary infrastructure forms about 30 per cent of construction cost in housing estates, the road to housing availability and affordability cannot be achieved without the support of the government and collaboration of stakeholders.

The current economic situation, the impact of technology and global professional trend makes it very important for stakeholders to imbibe the spirit of collaboration.

There is an urgent need for everyone in the built-environment sector to come together from the past, see and embrace the future. In order to hone and sharpen skills in various areas of the sector, stakeholders must work together as a unit of collaborators, exchanging ideas and comparing notes.

The output of a dedicated team effort will always be better than the work of any one professional no matter how gifted the person is. If stakeholders do not catch and align with themselves and with professional trends, they can be left behind. There is a global competition going on, and Nigeria’s built sector must play along.

These facts were excessively mentioned at the 13th Abuja International Show by many speakers, and one of the key resolutions from the show was the need for wider sector collaboration to happen in order to collectively mitigate risks and increase financing options for Nigeria and its built sector which has potentials to be more that what it currently is.

Interested stakeholders believe that ongoing collaborations including the ones involving the NMRC, Family Homes Funds, MBAN, CBN, Ministry of Works and Housing and others need not only be sustained but increased to take in more.

 

Why Urban Shelter was honoured by AIHS as Real Estate Development Leader in Nigeria

The Nigeria Housing Awards and Dinner took place on Friday 26th July 2019 at the International Conference Centre Abuja with all leading stakeholders, CEOs and companies in the housing and construction sector present to celebrate each other’s successes in the past year.

The colourful event which marked the end of the 13th Abuja International Housing Show had a lot of special moments including the moment real estate company, Urban Shelter was awarded as Estate Developer of the Year.

Urban Shelter Limited is a property development corporation with headquarters in Abuja Nigeria. With over 25 years of experience in integrated property development and management, the company has been driven to make itself a household name in the property industry.

Urban Shelter Limited has to its advantage an immense reserve of resources and experience, which give it the ability to effectively plan, develop and manage properties for individuals, private organisations, state and federal government establishments while strategically positioning the company to consolidate its activities across Nigeria, Dubai, and the entire West African sub-region

They are a real estate investment firm positioned to deliver cutting edge and competitive real estate solutions to their valued clients. They engage in real estate development, brokerage, and management. They offer good and flexible payment plans on all their products and services. Their clientele include corporate bodies, private individuals, cooperative societies, institutions and companies.

For more than 20 years, they have helped Nigerians rediscover the dream of home ownership, the aspiration of turning a house into a home. They’ve built houses so their clients can transform them to welcoming homes and safe havens in a secure location. They are proud to say for many Nigerians, Urban Shelter has turned that dream into a reality.

Urban Shelter is one of Nigeria’s largest real estate developers and a key player in realizing Abuja’s vision of becoming a cosmopolitan city and as well as the Goldman Sachs report on future emerging economies that the country will be among the top 20 economies worldwide by the year 2020; creating a world class destination for living, business and tourism.

Backed by over two decades of solid & verifiable practical experience, their strategic focus continues to be centred on building exceptional properties in some of Nigeria’s most desirable locations. Residential, retail and commercial, each & every Urban Shelter development exemplifies their company’s commitment to the highest standards supported by market awareness, driven by passion and governed by integrity.

Urban Shelter is currently realising a number of potentially high-yield projects to add to their already impressive portfolio.

The fulfilling night was a mix of soothing music, choreography, dining, wining and laughter.

The Nigeria Housing Awards is dedicated to rewarding excellent performers in the housing and construction sector and to inspire creativity and the kind of hard work that will drive affordable housing in Nigeria.

 

Abuja’s Oldest Buildings Rotting Away

Wuse and Garki are two areas in the centre of the nation’s capital where many of Abuja’s legacy buildings that serve as living quarters for mostly civil servants are located. Many of the high rise buildings built over 30 years ago are as old as Abuja City itself, just as Wuse and Garki are among the first districts created after the birth of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

These quarters which comprise between two to three-bedroom apartments were initially built by the FCT Administration (FCTA) for civil servants and were later privatised and sold out to the workers. Daily Trust reports that some civil servants were the beneficiaries of the privatisation and some who benefited from the housing programme sold them out, while some still live in the houses even after retirement.

Our reporter went round to observe the current state of these buildings and found that most of them suffer from poor maintenance. Many of the houses are being left to rot away even as their owners still live in them. While the walls are breaking apart, the sewage disposal systems have been left to deteriorate and broken water pipes litter the environment. When these buildings are compared to such property in some African countries, it can be seen that regular maintenance keeps alive many old buildings built over 100 years ago which now serve as monuments and tourist sites. Example is the Northwards Mansion in Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa, which was designed by a renowned architect, Sir Herbert Baker, in 1904.

The mansion is hailed as a fine example of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Notable features include stones sourced on site, plastered brickwork, a beautiful minstrel gallery and Juliette Balconies. In addition to being an attractive heritage property, Northwards also stands out for the way it was constructed. At the time of its construction, most homes were built from pre-fabricated and manufactured materials following the Industrial Revolution.

Northwards flew in the face of convention as it was hand-built by craftsmen and masons. Northwards has been exceptionally well maintained, and today, it plays host to the Parktown Trust and is occasionally used as a concert venue. This is just an example out of many other old buildings in different parts of the world which are maintained and kept functional.

A resident of Wuse who does not want her identity revealed, told Daily Trust that she and her family had been living in their apartment for over 30 years and that apart from poor maintenance, lack of cooperation by other residents was affecting the buildings. She said, “After my marriage in 1984, I was brought straight to this house and I had all my five children here. Most times when a meeting is held in respect of the buildings’ maintenance and the issue of money comes up, most people hardly contribute. So that is the reason the buildings are rotting away.”

She added that, “If you see renovation taking place, it is either inside an apartment, maybe because the owner is renting it out to generate money. “Most of us staying in these buildings are owners of the apartments, so my advice to other owners is that we should maintain them so that they would sustain us for a very long time as we don’t have anywhere to go if they collapse.” A retired civil servant, Okpara Stanley, who resides in his three-bedroom apartment in one of the high rise buildings in Wuse Zone 7, said the building was properly maintained because they formed a residents association and that the money they got from the association was what was being used to maintain the building.

Stanley said, “We believe that maintenance is what will sustain this property that some of us acquired over 30 years ago, and that is why we gather funds to attend to any immediate repair.” The Special Assistant on Media to the FCT Minister, Mallam Sani Abubakar, who spoke with Daily Trust on why the houses are not being properly maintained, said such houses were no longer in the “hands” of the authorities because they had been privatised and sold out. Mallam Abubakar added that where government came in was when the property was under violation of use or the owner tried to expand the apartment, then the Department of Development Control would take charge.

Source: dailytrustng

South Korea Is building a $40 billion City Designed to Eliminate the Need for Cars

When residents of the International Business District (IBD) in Songdo, South Korea go to work, pick up their kids from school, or shop for groceries, driving is optional.

That’s because the $40 billion district — currently a work-in-progress about the size of downtown Boston — was designed to eliminate the need for cars.

A project that began in 2002, the area prioritizes mass transit, like buses, subways, and bikes, instead of road traffic, according to Stan Gale, chairman of Gale International, the developer behind the IBD.

When completed by 2020, the district will span 100 million square feet. It’s located on the northwest side of South Korea.

In Songdo City, South Korea, Gale International is building the International Business District (IBD) on reclaimed land along the Yellow Sea.

Cosentini Associates

Consenti Associates

From the first planning stage, the developers aimed to make the district eco-friendly.

songdo

Gale International

One strategy was designing the area to reduce the need for cars.

songdo NC_Cube_CanalWalk_1

Gale International

BD features a mixed-use urban plan, meaning its retail, office space, parks, medical facilities, and schools are all close to housing.

NC_Cube_CanalWalk_2

Gale International

Apartment buildings and businesses were built 12 minutes within bus or subway stops.

Most non-residential buildings are walking distance from everything else.

Songdo_Convensia
Songdo’s convention center. 
Gale International

Fifteen miles of bike lanes go through the district, connecting to a larger 90-mile network in Songdo City.

songdo south korea
Gold medallist Ai Ueda (R) of Japan and Ma Claire Adorna of the Philippines cycle during the women’s triathlon at Songdo Central Park during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon September 25, 2014. 
Reuters

Around 40% of the area is reserved for green space (about double that of New York City), which also encourages residents to walk, Gale said.

Songdo_Central_Park_7

Gale International

IBD’s largest park, measuring 101 acres, was inspired by Manhattan’s Central Park.

“What you see today in Songdo, a city that is compact and very much walkable, is a direct outcome of this thoughtful approach to planning,” Gale said.

The IBD is one part of a larger development, called the Incheon Free Economic Zone in Songdo City, spearheaded by the South Korean government.

songdo south korea
A construction site of Songdo International City district, a part of the Incheon Free Economic Zone, is seen in Incheon, west of Seoul, December 11, 2008. 
Reuters

When the government started planning Songdo City in 2000, 500 tons of sand were poured into the marshland to lay the foundation.

Currently, 20,000 residential units are complete or under construction in IBD, where around 50,000 people live. Approximately 100,000 residents live in the greater Songdo City.

Another perk of living in the district: there are no trash trucks. Instead, a pneumatic tube system sucks the trash from chutes in residential buildings to a central sorting facility in seconds.

Gale International songdo

Gale International

There, it’s either turned into energy or recycled.

IBD has over 100 buildings that are LEED-certified, the world’s most widely used green rating system.

Songdo_Central_Park_9

Gale International

The development is shooting for LEED certification at a neighborhood scale, and plans to recycle 40% of the water used.

songdo

Reuters

Songdo City produces a third fewer greenhouse gases compared to another city of the same size.

Songdo_Central_Park_hanok_traditional_village_3

Gale International

However, some residents have complained that the IBD and the larger Songdo City are too remote from Seoul, the country’s economic, political, and cultural hub. It takes over an hour to reach the capital.

seoul
A man stands on a street in downtown Seoul, South Korea, April 18, 2013. 
AP

 

Around 70,000 people work in Songdo, which is far fewer than the 300,000 people the city government had envisioned.

songdo

Reuters

For that reason, it could be too early to say whether Songdo will become a thriving urban center.

Songdo_Central_Park_10.JPG

Gale International

“In a lot of ways, it’s the city Koreans want to show the world, in that it’s a clean, futuristic-looking place with no visible poverty,” Colin Marshall, a Seoul-based essayist who writes about cities, told The Los Angeles Times.

 

 

When CityLab’s Linda Poon visited Songdo this spring, she spoke with residents who have had trouble building community in the new city.

Songdo_Central_Park_11.JPG

Gale International

Source: CityLab

“There’s a ton of people living here, but you don’t really see them,” one resident, Lindy Wenselaers, told CityLab. “So the city is alive, but it’s invisible.”

Songdo_Central_Park_hanok_traditional_village

Gale International

The IBD currently measures 60 million square feet. By 2020, it will nearly double.

 

Source: businessinsider

 

What MBAN’s Push for Restructuring NHF Means to Contributors

On incremental basis, new thinking is coming into the Nigerian housing and mortgage sector with the aim of facilitating access to finance and, by extension, increasing housing affordability for home seekers.

When the National Housing (NHF) Scheme was launched by the federal government, the aim was to create a window for the country’s working class and other citizens who have identifiable and regular income to have access to mortgage loan to enable them buy, build or renovate their houses.

By the provision of the Act that established it, about 25 years ago, NHF entitles all Nigerians aged 21 years and above, who are in paid employment, to a low interest, government funded loan. Those who subscribe to the scheme contribute 2.5 per cent of their monthly salary through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).

Before now, the maximum loan amount obtainable under the scheme was N5 million but that has been increased to N15 million. The borrowed capital is repayable over a maximum of 30 years, depending on the age of the borrower, at 6 per cent interest rate.

Available record shows that total contribution to the fund, from 4.14 million registered contributors, hit N191.9 billion in March 2016. About N5.9 billion has been refunded to 118,284 individuals, while over 70 per cent of the cumulative collection was recorded in five years. To its credit and that of its managers, NHF has financed the construction of 25,606 housing units and advanced 16,506 mortgage loans.

However, primary mortgage bank operators say the fund has not fared well in its operations. Acting under the aegis of the Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN), the operators are pushing for a re-engineering of the fund and are, therefore, proposing a board of trustees that will facilitate the mobilization of fund for the provision of houses for Nigerians at affordable prices.

MBAN explains that the new scheme is aimed to ensure constant supply of loans to Nigerians for the purpose of building, buying or renovating residential houses as well as providing incentives for the capital market to invest in property development.

Currently, an NHF Bill 2017, which aims to repeal Act CAP 45 laws that set it up, is on the floor of the National Assembly. The Bill still wants FMBN to continue to manage and administer the fund, but MBAN in its current push is recommending that the National Assembly restructures the NHF into the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) scheme to enhance its integrity and to make access to loan easier and more affordable.

The association, essentially, wants the role of the FMBN to be limited to managing the fund for a fee while the overall policy formulation and supervision of the fund rests with the proposed board of trustees. This is aimed to capture, retain and maintain the continued confidence of stakeholders, particularly contributors.

MBAN explained that the proposed NHTF board should be different from the board of the FMBN to allow proper accountability and to achieve the goal of affordable housing for Nigerians.

The Bill still on the floor of the National Assembly has a number of provisions MBAN may not be quite comfortable with, especially the aspect that empowers the minister to determine terms and conditions for loans from the fund as well as specify the conditions and terms of repayment of any loan obtained from the fund.

The Bill says any loan granted by FMBN to a mortgage institution will be secured by a block of existing mortgages under cover of sales and administration agreement to be executed between the supervisory bank and mortgage institution.

It adds that a Nigerian worker earning an income of say, N10, 000 and above per annum in both the public and the private sectors of the economy will contribute 2.5 percent of basic monthly salary to the Fund.

An interest rate of 4 per cent will be payable on the contributions. A commercial or merchant bank has to invest 10 percent of its loans and advances in the fund at an interest rate of 1 per cent above the interest rate payable on current account by banks.

In the same way, the Bill will require every registered insurance company to invest a minimum of 20 per cent of its non-life funds and 40 per cent of its life funds in real estate development with the expectation that not less than 50 per cent will be paid into the fund through the FMBN at an interest rate not exceeding 4 percent.

The Bill also states that all registered Pension Fund Administrators will invest a minimum of 10 percent of their pension funds and assets in real estate development, while the federal government will make adequate financial contributions to the fund for the purpose of granting of long term loans and advances for housing development.

Source: businessdayng

5 Habits of Nigeria’s Business Billionaires You Should Emulate

Billionaires inspire us to be great just as they are. However, they didn’t achieve success by mere luck. Instead, they got there by developing good habits which are powerful tools that can be used to reach certain goals in areas like health, fitness, money, relationships etc.

Inculcating the habits below will not guarantee you become a billionaire; however it will help you become more productive and successful in your life endeavours.

Below are some billionaire habits we can all develop:

1. They Wake up Early and Exercise

Nigerian billionaires make the best use of time by waking up early, thereby creating time for other priorities. Exercising is also part of the morning routine because that is when testosterone levels are high. It has other benefits such as strengthening the heart, and playing a major role in increased energy, positivity, and stress management.

Research shows that exercising early in the morning will help boost memory, concentration and mental sharpness – which are traits that can have a big influence on career and success.

Femi Otedola, in an interview with one of the national newspapers, said he wakes up around 6:30am every morning and heads to the gym for 1 hour.

Aliko Dangote wakes up before 5:30am and goes on a 10 kilometer run.

2. They Network/Politick/Follow Up

Nigerian billionaires know how to network. This gives them the opportunities to have exclusive rights to many things that are not offered to ordinary individuals; Speaking engagements, trips, best of meals, private and public events, and most importantly the ability to push their ideas forward by meeting the right people.

The truth is they are also good at politicking because they know that political leaders make policies that will affect their businesses. So, they get involved.

A brief look at some billionaires perspectives on networking

Jim Ovia: Place more value in who you know than what you have. The entrepreneur sees a potential ally in everyone. Establish your network 1 person at a time by being reliable and patient. Pave the way instead of burning bridges.

Tony Elumelu on his advice to youths on what worked for him said “Never take others for granted. Nurture your relationships. In the same way, as you start out in your career, build your relationships, seek to learn, don’t be afraid to understudy the experts, reach out to potential mentors and learn from them.”

3. They are Learners

Nigerian billionaires read a lot. They just don’t read for entertainment, they study trends, concepts and apply what they have learnt to become successful.

To show how much of a reader he is, Tony Elumelu, on World Book Day, recommended 5 books that have had a huge impact on his life.
They include –

  • Outliers by Malcom Gladwell,
  • The Creation of Wealth: The Tatas from 19th to 21st Century by R.M. Lala,
  • Think Big by Ben Carson,
  • Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer, and
  • Shall We Tell The President by Jeffrey Archer

What they watch also matters. Aliko Dangote spends his time watching a lot of business channels such as Bloomberg TV. Doing this gives him insightful information into global business.

4. They Diversify

Nigerian billionaires are experts at diversifying major things in their life. They diversify their sources of income/products, they diversify the countries they invest in, and they diversify the people they surround themselves with.

Mike Adenuga has investments in Oil, Telecoms, Real Estate, and Banking sectors.

Femi Otedola has investments in Oil, Shipping, Real Estate, amongst other sectors.

5. They surround themselves with Smart People

There is a saying “you are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with”. Nigerian billionaires surround themselves with the smartest people ranging from strategists, advisers, accountants, and fellow billionaires who they continually brainstorm with on ideas to keep expanding their frontiers.

Source: nairametrics

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