Built environment professionals have been urged to rise against quackery by those, who always take advantage of pervasive ignorance in the populace to corner jobs meant for consultants.
Besides, they were urged to work together as consultants to form consortium to compete for ongoing mega projects in the midst of current economic realities.
The calls were made by Professional Development Training Workshops of Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Valuation and Compensation committee and Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB). The associations are honing their members on how to imbibe international best practice.
Managing Director, JIMS Partnership, Mr. Olujide Oke, while speaking on maximising potential of planning practice, advised that encroachment should be discouraged by consultants so as to maintain mutual respect, trust and unity in built environment.
He said: “We should value each other’s core competencies within the industry rather than veering into other professionals’ areas.” President of ATOPCON, Olaide Afolabi, said the training presented an opportunity for members to share fresh ideas, discuss issues and challenges they have been facing in the profession, adding that it would also help them learn from one another’s experience and skills.
Besides, he said it would help them explore potential in professional practice, client’s relations, maximising their potential and review the influence of others.President, Town Planners Registration Council (TOPREC), Professor Layi Egunjobi, urged participants to put gains of the training into use.
Second Vice President of NITP, Mr Lekwa Ezutah, stated that lack of expertise, inadequate personnel to train employees, need for fresh ideas, advocacy were part of the reasons clients need planners. On marketing strategies for growing and retention of clients, he mentioned some necessary skills for planning practice, adding that there was need for practitioners to grow clientele through networking.
CBN confirms licensing three new banks
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has licensed two new commercial banks and one non-interest bank, the apex bank announced yesterday.
A list of deposit money banks (DMBs) and financial holding companies operating in the country as at July 19, 2019, posted on its website yesterday shows that CBN had issued a commercial banking licence with national authorisation and a commercial banking licence with regional authorisation to Titan Trust Bank Limited and Globus Bank Limited respectively.
The list also indicates that the regulator has issued a Non-Interest Banking licence with regional authorisation to TAJ Bank Limited.
With this development, the number of commercial banks with national authorization (having a capital base of N25billion and allowed to operate in all states of the federation but barred from having off shore operations) now stands at 11, while the number of commercial banks with regional authorization (having a capital base of N10 billion and restricted to operate within a geographical scope of a minimum of five and a maximum of 10 contiguous states) now stands at three.
Similarly, the licensing of TAJ Bank Limited as a non-interest bank with regional authorisation means that there are now two non-interest banks operating in the country. However, the first such bank licensed by the CBN, Jaiz Bank, has a national authorisation, meaning it can operate in all states of the federation.
The CBN had in June 2011 announced a minimum capital base of N10 billion for national Islamic banks and N5 billion for regional Islamic banks.
Specifically, the list shows that the country now has a total of 29 DMBs consisting of eight commercial banks with international banking authorization (N50 billion capital base and allowed to have national and off-shore operations), 11 commercial banks with national authorisation, three commercial banks with regional authorisation, two non-interest banks and five merchant banks with national authorisation.
According to the list, FBN Holdings Plc., FCMB Group Plc, FSDH Holding Company and Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc make up the four holding companies in the industry.
There is speculation that the licensing of the new banks is part of CBN’s efforts to attract new investments into the industry and boost financial inclusion in the country.
However, analysts point out that the industry is dominated by Tier 1 lenders– First Bank, UBA, Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank- which continue to dominate in terms of branch spread, deposit size, and loan issuance.
Besides, the recent announcement by the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, that the apex bank was planning a fresh recapitilisation of the banks has sparked speculation that consolidation is looming in the industry.
Incursion: Dangers of sloppy airport security
The intrusion into the runway of Lagos airport by a foreigner, who was found close to a fully loaded aircraft, has again exposed security lapses at Nigerian airports, as the nation’s aviation security system constantly fails to anticipate threats, writes WOLE SHADARE
Not only the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) saw the incursion into a sensitive part of Lagos airport where a Nigerien, Usman Adamu, beat security architecture to crawl out and climb an aeroplane set for departure as a huge embarrassment, many people were stunned at the seeming porous nature of the nation’s airports.
Unlike in the past when FAAN engaged in bulk passing, the Managing Director of the agency, Capt. Hamisu Yadudu, owned up to the inability of the agency to rise up to the issue when it mattered most.
In fact, in all of this, FAAN did not cover itself in glory.
A stunned Yadudu, who was elevated to his current position about two months ago in a press conference held at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano on Saturday, said the agency took full responsibility of what it described as an embarrassment.
As a first step to its in-house inquest, FAAN hurriedly suspended indefinitely the aviation security unit heads, who were on duty when the incident occurred, pending completion of ongoing investigation into the regrettable security infringement.
The intruder was seen in a viral video emerging from the engine of Azman B737-500 aircraft. After emerging from the engine, he climbed the roof of the engine and tried to gain access to the aircraft cabin.
The situation caused pandemonium as passengers screamed asking for the door of the plane to be opened for them to disembark.
The affected officers are the Airport Chief of Security, Mamman Mohammed Sadiku, International Terminal Security Officer, Oni Adedamola Abiodun, Head of Department Domestic Terminal 2, Owotor Kenneth Okezie and Head of Department Domestic Terminal 1, Badejo Adebowale Ayodele.
The management had equally commenced thorough investigation towards the recovery and sustenance of the airport’s proactive security integrity.
What happened last week may have been foretold by experts and stakeholders, who have taken FAAN to task over what they view as poor handling of security at the airports especially at Nigeria’s busiest airport, the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
In the current climate of insecurity in Nigeria and other parts of the world, it is unthinkable that airport security officials would be so careless as to allow a man from Republic of Niger carry out a stunt on a passenger airplane that was set for take-off from Lagos to Port-Harcourt.
To use a tired cliché: Wonders shall never cease in our airports. How did that happen? Was it a one-off act intended to dare the devil? Was it a deliberate attempt by the young man to prove a point, to underscore the poor security procedures in our airports?
Has this particular incident drawn the country’s attention to what is already known about the keenness of airport security officials to approach their job with total disregard for the safety of travellers?
No matter how it is seen, the security gaffe occurred because FAAN’s security staff went to sleep. There was obvious case of negligence.
The security breach and blunder have made news across the world. It is the kind of event that attracts negative media coverage of the country. It is the kind of unimaginable security infringement that makes the world to express surprise whenever the tight security procedures in place at the nation’s airports are being discussed.
This is not the first time the country would be regaled with issues like this. In 2013 and 2014, the country witnessed about 17 security breaches.
In 2017, security lapses at airports gained notoriety as a private jet carrying two top Nigerian musical artists, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun aka “Wizkid” and Tiwa Savage from Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State, was attacked and robbed while taxiing on Murtala Muhammed airport’s runway 18L.
The Bombardier Challenger 605 jet, with registration number T7-A00, was said to have arrived Lagos from Uyo about 8:33p.m. and was slowly taxiing to the arrival hangar when the cargo compartment was burgled.
The jet slowed to allow an Ethiopian Airline cargo plane, with registration number ET-ARH, to push back for take-off.
The pilot, Captain Cloud Cote, was said to have noticed the cargo door opened by burglars and promptly notified FAAN security, but the burglars had disappeared before FAAN officials could make it to the point where the attack took place.
Upon arrival at Quits Aviation Centre, a private jet hangar, the pilot discovered that two bags belonging to Ms. Savage and Wizkid had been stolen by the airport bandits.
On December 12, 2017, a Vistajet jet with registration number 9H-VFA operated by Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN) Limited was robbed on the runway 18R of the airport by bandits when taxiing to the hangar of EAN.
The jet was arriving from Istanbul between 2110-2130hrs when the robbery took place after landing in Lagos.
There were similar incidents that happened after that. Rather than tackle the issue headlong, FAAN was in denial of the incident.
“It is not possible for anyone to burgle an aircraft in motion. Furthermore, because aircraft are highly technical machines, it is practically impossible for anyone who does not have the requisite training and competence to operate or tamper with the baggage compartment.
“Although investigations are still on-going, FAAN would like to reassure travellers and the general public that with the level of safety and security systems on ground at the airports, it is practically impossible for an aircraft to be burgled within our runways and aprons,” Henrietta Yakubu, spokeswoman said.
In countries in which the rules governing the safety of passengers are strictly enforced, airport security is accorded the highest priority.
Unfortunately, over here, things are done differently as too many things are taken for granted. Ever since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, virtually all countries have reviewed and strengthened their airport security apparatus.
Strangely, the domestic airports in particular have continued to do business as usual as if the premises are immune to terrorist attacks that occur elsewhere.
Following the latest embarrassment at Lagos airport, the management of FAAN and other security agencies have been pledging that security procedures will be reviewed and rigorously enforced.
A former Chief Security Officer (CSO) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Group Captain John Ojikutu (Rtd) advised government to urgently provide funds to build perimeter and security fences at the airports, regretting that no airport in the country has comprehensive perimeter fencing, which exposes them to incursions by unauthorised persons.
He noted that it was the mercy of God that none of the nation’s airports had been attacked by terrorists or other dangerous persons because the security apparatus at the airports cannot prevent access by unscrupulous elements.
“The major problem we have in our airports in terms of security is perimeter fencing. There is no airport in this country that has comprehensive perimeter fence. MMIA, Lagos, is fenced but that fence is open at Ejigbo, Shasha and Ajao Estate areas.
“Anybody can have access to the airport through these places. The security operatives on duty at this airport are at the mercy of God because they cannot monitor every part of the airport.
“We need standard fence. The air-side of the airport is not adequately covered with Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras. The security personnel that monitor activities at the airport have only three patrolling vehicles for four terminals, which include the international, the domestic terminal, the general aviation terminal and the cargo terminal,” he noted.
This appears to be the usual erratic, hurried and haphazard response to a major security incident. The latest pledges will soon evaporate and the country returns to its clumsiness.
Negligent security officials cut corners, solicit bribes. Those who have jobs approach their tasks with sloppy attitude. The safety of air travellers is still compromised by airport security officials with wrong attitude to their job.
Ihedioha seeks Buhari’s support for infrastructure, agric
Imo State governor Emeka Ihedioha yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa Abuja. The Imo state governor said he was at the villa to discuss and seek support of the Federal Government in the development of infrastructure in the state. Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting, Ihedioha said that he came to solicit Buhari’s intervention on infrastructure decay in the state. Ihedioha said he discussed with the President on the issue of agriculture and how the state would benefit from the federal government’s agricultural projects.
He said: “We need the Federal Government support in all facets of the economy. Government would need to support us in agriculture because government we succeeded didn’t take advantage of government policies in agriculture.
” So we are working towards agricultural revolution to ensure that that becomes a source of revenue. So we need federal government support in that regard. We need government support in education, we need government support in the area of healthcare, we need government support in area of building institutions. “When I came in I found out to my shock that there were accounts in the number that was reported in the media and of course so much leakages and we were not as a state making significant progress from the IGR.
“The IGR base of the state was very weak and when the IGR base is weak without having a productive economy that obviously meant that we depended essentially from what came from federal allocation and of course other agencies being an oil producing state.
“Like you may have found out in my state was something obviously in the breach of what it should be. It became necessary that we should find a way out and I set up a Financial Advisory Committee and Financial Advisory Committee recommended that in view of where we are and because of our decision to instill a regime of fiscal discipline and a regime of transparency and accountability and of course to reduce the level of corruption in the state, we had to introduce the Treasury Single Account, TSA, which is not very ideal in many places. “But for us we felt we needed to start a new, we needed to confront the issues and begin to reposition our state as a state that will be alive to the demands expected of us by our people.
“When the electorate voted us in, they believe in our ability to come and transform the state, to reign in a regime of transparency and accountability, that is what we are trying to do. So we have done that.
“But apart from that, we are strengthening the Bureau for Public Procurement in the state. If check through the what is the ranking in ease of doing business, Imo finished 34th out of 37 and in several ways we have been lagging behind, we have fallen back, deteriorated from where we used to be. “Ours used to be a very civilized state, so we have a duty and conviction that we need to take it to that level. So we have taken steps, closing the gap.”
Ikeja Electric deploys N500m 15MVA sub-station
Ikeja Electric has deepened investments on electricity supply in its network with the deployment of N500 million worth of 15MVA injection sub-station.
Speaking at the commissioning of the sub-station at Obawole, Ifako Ijaiye Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, Chief Executive Officer of the utility firm, Dr. Anthony Youdewei, said that Ikeja Electric would continue to improve services to its customers.
Manager, Ifako Ijaye Business Unit, Engineer A. Adelakun, said that the investment of N500 million to put the sub-station in place was made based on re-assurance from the community that an outstanding bill of over N400 million by customers in the area would be paid.
He called on the customers to take full advantage of the payment discounts adoption by the company for its over N400million outstanding bills.
The customers led by the President, Obawole Community Development Association, Pastor Samuel Opajoni expressed satisfaction with the management of power distribution company for commissioning the project.
He assured the company of total support by all landlords and tenants at the Obawole community particularly on the payment of their outstanding bills.
In an effort to facilitate debts owed the power industry, the management of Nigeria’s largest electricity distribution company, Ikeja Electric Plc, had earlier announced the commencement of a Debt Discount Initiative for customers under its network.
The scheme, according to the company, which is designed specifically for unmetered Non-Maximum Demand (NMD) customers, was put in place to provide an avenue to support customers, especially those who are financially constrained by the present economic realities.
Funding ailing refineries with Indian loan
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has opened talks with India for loan to, among others, revamp the obsolete refineries in Nigeria, on which multi-billion dollars had earlier been sunk. Adeola Yusuf takes another look at this venture
The Original Assets Manufacturers (OEMs) of the four refineries in Nigeria have shunned several pleas by the Federal Government for rehabilitation of facilities after NNPC abandoned statutory maintenance of these installations for over 42 years.
Although over N152 billion was reportedly spent on several phony turn around maintenance (TAM), the OEMs, were enraged that their template recommendations of five years interval for maintenance were grossly violated and thus, even though government would pay heavily, they (OEMs) could not venture into a fruitless TAM.
Currently, the Corporation is already pushing for loans from India to revamp these refineries that were once sold to Dangote and other investors in May 2007 but later forcefully retaken from them by government
Although NNPC had, for the umpteenth time promised to make the refineries more productive, the Corporation still swaps over 80 per cent of the 445,000 barrels per day of crude allocated daily for these refineries due to their inefficiency. The Corporation allocated the last oil swap contracts to 15 consortia of 32 foreign and local firms.
Scrutinising the N152bn investments
A report credited to some civil society organisations, alleged that NNPC committed N152 billion to execute the turn around maintenance (TAM) of four refineries between 2011 to 2013. And this later brought out words from NNPC on the true state of its talk with the original equipment manufacturers of the refineries.
“A decision was taken in 2011 to rehabilitate all refineries, using the Original Refinery Builder (ORB) of each of the refineries,” NNPC said in a statement issued in reaction to the allegation of N152 billion scam levelled by the civil society organisation.
“NNPC, however, made recourse to a new strategy after the ORBs declined participation and nominated some partners in their stead who came up with outrageously unfavourable terms,” the statement read.
“The nominated partners, as sole bidders, came up with humongous price offers after two years of thorough and exhaustive scope of work definition and price negotiations. The proxies were also unwilling to provide post rehabilitation performance guarantees.”
The new arrangement, which kicked off in October 2014, entailed phased and simultaneous rehabilitation of all refineries, using in-house and locally available resources.
The strategy also, according to NNPC, embraced the direct use of Original Equipment Manufacturer representatives to effect major equipment overhaul and rehabilitation. And, it was projected that the new strategy would reduce the cost of the operation by 70 per cent.
Sorry state of refineries
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has described as “ridiculous that for the past 15 years now, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had been spending billions of dollars on turn around maintenance of the refineries with nothing to show for it.”
South-West Chairman of the union, Mr Tayo Aboyeji, who disclosed this in an interview, said, “It is disheartening to know that despite the fact that the nation is a major producer of crude oil, it cannot refine the product for its local consumption.
“It is ridiculous that for the past 15 years now, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had been spending billions of dollars on Turn Around Maintenance of the refineries with nothing to show for it.
“If all our four refineries are producing at their maximum output, the country will not be spending billion of naira on importation of refined product.
“This is the right time for our refineries to work, the Federal Government should, as a matter of urgency, fix the refineries now,” he said.
Push for Indian loan
NNPC has, however, opened talks with India for fresh credit facilities with promise to sustain the flow of about 176.4 million barrels of crude supply to the Asian country.
The loan is aimed at revamping refineries and other obsolete oil and gas infrastructures in the country.
The loan facilities from India to Nigeria has surpassed $10 billion with $100 million recently offered to information technology sector. Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency Abhay Thakur, said on Thursday that the management of NNPC deserves fresh financial supports “for the recent renewal of the crude oil term contracts for three Indian companies.”
Speaking when he paid official visit to the new Group Managing Director of NNPC, Meke Kolo Kyari, at the Corporation’s headquarters, Thakur sued for increment in the crude oil supply in view of the increasing energy needs of India.
“India is prepared to offer Nigeria and particularly the NNPC a credit line mechanism to help her in the areas of refinery maintenance, construction, security, surveillance and anything possible. Our expertise in Information Technology (IT) is available as well. We are ready to cooperate with NNPC to boost our bilateral relations,” Thakur asserted.
Meanwhile, NNPC has expressed readiness to continue to supply 10 per cent of India’s crude oil demand in the face of competing demand for the product from other countries.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, told the visiting Indian High Commissioner, according to a press release by the corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, that Nigeria, through the corporation, would continue to support India’s energy security.
Total oil imports by India in 2018, according to statistics from the country, stood at 251.93 million metric tonnes.
While 1 mt is approximately equal to 7 barrels, the 25.193 million mt, being the 10 per cent of 251.93 mmt equal to 176.351 million barrels of crude oil.
The MoU for energy security
Kyari added that the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the area of energy between Nigeria and India would be consummated to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Mallam Kyari stated that NNPC was desirous of growing the energy cooperation with India and that it was time to progress from just talking to walking the talk.
He said India was a very important market and that NNPC would ensure that the current volume of crude oil supply from Nigeria to India is secured for the collective interest of both countries.
“We are ready to have a robust engagement with the Indian trade team to provide a win-win energy scenario between us. Every trade opportunity that is available will be fully explored,” Mallam Kyari posited.
He averred that there were lots of untapped investment opportunities in the nation’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and expressed the willingness of NNPC to aggressively improve LPG infrastructure and consumption in the country.
Earlier, the Indian High Commissioner also congratulated Mallam Kyari on his appointment as the Group Managing Director of NNPC, noting that the confidence placed in him was well considered for national interest.
The refineries have continued to drain Nigeria’s resources and to get a loan for them will amount to sheer waste of resources. This is especially because private refineries especially the 650,000 barrels of oil per day Dangote refinery are coming on stream.
While efforts to secure credit facilities are not against economic terms, the proceeds of such ventures should be discouraged from being spent on ailing installations that had over the years showed no sign of improvement.
NLNG, LCCI seek solutions for Nigeria’s power challenges
Nigeria LNG Limited and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) have called for more efforts in finding solutions to the crippling power challenges in the country.
The pair also sought exploring other energy sources and cashing in on new ideas that will help Nigeria become energy efficient.
The calls were made at the Business Interactive Session on Innovation in Electric Power Solutions at the LCCI head office in Lagos.
The business session featured the 2018 winner of The Nigeria Prize for Science, Dr. Peter Ngene. The 2018 winner of the Nigeria Prize for Science clinched the prize based on his work, “Nanostructured metal hydrides for the storage of electric power from renewable energy sources and for explosion prevention in high voltage power transformers”.
The Nigeria Prize for Science is a $100,000 award sponsored by NLNG to promote innovations in science and technology that will solve age-long problems and drive development in Nigeria. The prize is awarded annually.
In her remarks, the General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Mrs Eyono Fatayi-Williams, said the interaction session was as a result of The Nigeria Prize for Science, which is increasingly shedding light on solutions to some of the nation’s problems that include electricity shortage.
She stated that in recognition of the need to encourage more work in finding solutions to electric power generation in the country, NLNG used the science prize competition in 2018 to encourage research works on the theme of that year’s competition – Innovations in Electric Power Solutions.
She remarked that a renewed focus on electric power generation and conservation is definitely one area, which can offer huge business opportunities in the country, calling on the industry to focus on renewable sources of energy to improve the Nigerian situation, promote better energy output as well as align the country with the global clamour for cleaner energy sources, as the world fights global warming.
“NLNG has the vision of being a global LNG company, helping to build a better Nigeria,’ she said. “We have been driving that vision through our numerous CSR initiatives across the country and especially in our host community, Bonny Island, where we provide over 95% stable electric power supply for over a decade now. It will be a great achievement if this be can replicated. We believe the country has the resources but we need the industrial will-power by the private sector to make it happen, even if it happens gradually”.
In his speech, the President of Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Paul Ruwase, said there was an urgent need to change the narrative and focus on innovative ideas that can enable practical solutions.
He added that the theme of the interactive session provided a platform for reshaping the mind-set of Nigerians, helping to champion the birth of new ideas and practical ways to make the power sector work, as it should in order to promote the country’s economic development.
According to Ruwase, “Reforming the power sector in Nigeria must align with the global energy direction of increasing renewables in the energy mix. Dr. Ngene’s award-winning work further presents an opportunity for Nigeria to harness new discoveries in solving her power supply challenges. His invention has positive implications on renewable energy development that the country can benefit from. It is believed that Dr. Ngene’s work will expand the energy market in Nigeria with efficient energy storage.”
Dr. Ngene, in his presentation, titled “Nanomaterials for Energy and Power Application”, highlighted the potential of his work in the area of storing hydrogen, storage battery for renewable energy and detection of hydrogen leaks in transformers to prevent explosion. He said explosion in transformers was one of the major causes of power outages in Nigeria, adding that through Nanotechnology, a cheap way of detecting hydrogen to eliminate such explosions is possible.
He remarked that energy storage was the main challenge in the use of renewable energy sources. He added that his work provides opportunities for efficient energy storage, making cheap and affordable rechargeable batteries for rural areas, for novel sensors for Diabetes, for conversion of carbon into useful fuels and for use in cooling homes with less energy consumption.
Professor Barth Nnaji, a member of the Nigeria Prize of Science Advisory Board, in a brief remark said that Nigerians need to think about the profoundness of the breakthrough by Dr. Ngene. He stated that the private sector was where the country can get mileage in transforming ideas and innovation into reality. He enjoined the private sector to follow the footsteps of NLNG, as it is very critical in the support of Research and Development in the country.
Ngene, is an assistant professor in the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis group of the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University in The Netherlands. He is the recipient of the prestigious KNCV (The Royal Dutch Chemical Association) Van Arkel best PhD thesis (2012/2013) award, and the chair of the 2013 Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on Metal-Hydrogen system in Italy. He was also recently recognised as one of African leading young scientists by the award of the prestigious NEF (Next Einstein Forum) fellowship by the Chairman of the African Union (President Paul Kagame).
Lagos tasks residents on housing investment security
Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Ministry of Housing , Mr Wasiu Akewusola, has called on community leaders and residents of adjourning properties to assist in securing government’s investment in ongoing housing projects in the metropolis.
Besides, he assured residents that the state government had renewed its vow to deliver on its promises in the housing sector in spite of the setbacks caused by vandals.
It was discovered that some of the vandals carted away fittings from some ongoing housing projects in the state.
Speaking during the ministry’s inspection of ongoing housing scheme in Ibeshe, Igbogbo, Agbowa, Odo Onosa and Ayandelu, the permanent secretary asserted that “Lagos State’s commitment to meeting the housing needs of the people is non-negotiable.
“We will continue to forge ahead in delivering on our mandate in spite of setbacks, especially the looting of some of the projects by miscreants.”
According to Akewusola, security of housing schemes constructed with taxpayers’ money should be a joint venture between the people and government.
‘’The policing of these housing schemes that are yet to be delivered is best done by the immediate communities because of proximity and superior knowledge of the terrain,’’ he opined.
Akewusola decried a situation, whereby uncompleted houses are vandalized through removal of fixtures and transformers cannibalised and electric poles removed in some schemes.
He also raised the alarm that some criminals had embarked on illegal sand digging activities in some ongoing projects around Ikorodu, thereby endangering the stability of land in the area.
‘’Extensive illegal sand digging activities are being perpetrated by some people in Igbogbo 2B Scheme, thereby damaging the land,’’ he disclosed.
Akewusola lamented the economic loss to be incurred as a result of the untoward activities of miscreants and the attendant setback.
He enjoined community leaders and residents to take interest in the vigilance and surveillance over these schemes by offering information to security agents.
“Please make immediate report of any suspicious persons or unlawful incident to the police or any other government security agents,” he appealed.
Building collapse: Stakeholders demand emergency in housing sector
Worried by the incessant incidents of building collapse in Nigerian cities, experts are demanding urgent declaration of emergency in housing sector. Dayo Ayeyemi reports
Jolted by recurring collapse of buildings in the country, built environment stakeholders are calling on the Federal Government to declare an emergency in the housing sector.
The latest demand is hinged on the alarming incidents, which occurred in quick succession in Lagos, Plateau, Ebonyi and Delta states in less than two weeks respectively.
Describing the latest happenings as “national embarrassment,” First Vice President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Kunle Awobodu, said government should declare an emergency in the housing sector due to frequent collapse of buildings.
He said the demand was a consensus among stakeholders under the auspices of Building Collapse and Prevention Guild.
According to him, their worry stemmed from the fact that incidents of building collapse were no longer limited to Lagos state, but gradually spreading to other states.
He said: “Building collapse is not limited to Lagos alone; it has spread to states where we used to believe they have solid grounds.”
With the latest incidents, Awobodu said there was fear of instability within the built environment, adding that foreigners, who have been coming to Lagos Island to do business and shopping have been expressing fear of insecurity.
Blaming the incident on both home builders and government, the NIOB boss maintained that lack of respect for regulations was responsible.
“Where regulations are not respected, most of the buildings under construction will collapse,” he said.
He alleged that government was in the habit of not putting square pegs in square holes.
Awobodu said the frequent collapse questioned built environment professional expertise, adding that it did not portray their image well.
However, he said the menace of building collapse had presented a challenge that will make built professionals double their efforts.
“We will increase pressure on people in physical planning to ensure that due process is followed,” he said.
About two weeks ago, 14 persons were reported dead and four others severely injured in a collapsed three-storey building in Delimi Community of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau.
The three-storey building belonging to Rufai Kabiru collapsed in the late hours, killing its owner and others.
Also last week in Abakailiki, Ebonyi State, guests at the Metro View Hotel in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, narrowly escaped death as a wing of the hotel caved in.
Located close to Presco Campus of the Ebonyi State University College of Medicine and Health Science, the guests were outside the building for a seminar when the incident happened.
A member of the hotel management, Austine Orji, told journalists that the company had noticed a crack on some sections of the building three days earlier, adding that the company had initiated a concrete reinforcement before the building collapsed.
In Lagos, two persons were rescued penultimate Sunday after a storey building under renovation collapsed at No. 36 Adesanya Street, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos State.
The incident occurred barely two weeks after another had collapsed in the Magodo area of the state.
The building was being secretly renovated to avoid being marked by officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency.
Also, a three-storey building collapsed in Delta State at the weekend. All these are coming in less than four months a five storey building caved in on school children at Ita-Faji area of Lagos Island Central Business District, and barely one year Nigeria lost nothing less than eight buildings to structural failures.
Between August 2018 and March 2019, five incidents of collapsed building occurred in quick succession in three states and Abuja, the Federal capital Territory (FCT).
Speaking with New Telegraph, a former President of NIOB, Mr. Chuks Omeife, said that the current downpour in major cities had exposed certain inadequacies in some structures.
He pointed out that until the missing link in building approval and construction processes is fixed, buildings would continue to cave in.
Contrary to others’ views, he stated that the major issue responsible for building collapse was not about planning approval, but the missing link.
According to him, the missing link is to ascertain that qualified professionals are engaged in the building construction process immediately planning approval is granted.
He said there was need for a document that detailed the professional/clients, to accompany building drawings for planning approval.
“The fact that at the point of building project execution, no one is there to ensure that the right professional is involved is the missing link,” he said.
He stated further that the major gap was in the fact that the approval officials did not follow up on building owners.
Suggesting ways out of the woods, Omeife said that building owners must be compelled by law to ensure that professionals are involved in the project’s execution.
“Buildings don’t collapse on paper; government must ensure there is a document to be used to regulate how building construction should be done,” he said.
Citing Abia, Akwa Ibom states examples, the former NIOB boss said government had made a law requesting for additional drawings detailing the work and profile of the professionals involved.
“These states are taking the initiative about drawing to build. If there is any collapse, the builder could be arrested,” he said.
Above all, Omeife said the National Building Code should be reinforced.
Giving update on Jos incident, a former Director-General, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, Proffessor Danladi Tambowal, said that Governor Lalong had started demolishing structurally defective houses in Jos.
As at the last count, according to him , 25 structures have been demolished already.
All hands should be on deck to put an end to menace of building collapse in the society.
Aviation’s input to GDP may rise to 4%, says ART President
Nigeria’s aviation industry has the potential to contribute four per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the paltry 0.1 per cent it currently remits to the Federation account.
President, Aviation Round Table (ART), Dr. Gabriel Olowo, disclosed this to New Telegraph at the weekend in Lagos.
He lamented the lack of patronage of airlines by many Nigerians, noting that less than 10 per cent of the 200 million people take to air travel, describing it as not impressive.
He cited smaller countries such as United Arab Emirates and Singapore, which are far less the size of Lagos State recording over 50 million passengers because of the deliberate policies to make their airports hub of aviation.
He recalled that in 2015, the Aviation industry supported 254,500 jobs and contributed $940 million (N184.7 billion) to national GDP.
He said of this sum, 49 per cent ($462 million or N90.8 billion) was a direct output of the aviation sector, while 51 per cent constituted indirect jobs via the supply chain.
His words: “Hostile investment environment and the absence of industry developmental policies, among other challenges, the airlines are in dire strait. The Nigerian airspace presents itself as a shorter route for aircraft traveling to the American continent from Asia.”
It is often the bride of most international airlines. However, Nigeria aviation sector is full of bottlenecks and delays that are designed to exploit and strangle the growth of the industry.
Olowo stated that additional $464 million (N91.2 billion) is derived from tourism, which raises the overall contribution to $1.4 billion (N275.9 billion), stressing that in 2010, total 8.3 million passengers contributed 0.4 per cent.
He noted that the carriers are bedevilled by high cost of aviation fuel otherwise known as JET A1; high and multiple taxes, ageing fleet and underutilisation of aircraft among others.
He said that most airline operators in Nigeria spent about 40 per cent of their operation costs on aviation fuel, adding that sometimes it goes beyond 40 per cent.
The Federal Government could intervene in the issue by reviving the Warri refinery, Atlas Cove and Mosemi pipelines –hydrant system used to supply aviation fuel.
Operators argued that the pipelines that supplied aviation fuel to the airport before it was shut down by the late General Sani Abacha-led military regime in January 1996, were fully functional.
How to develop 4m housing units in 4 years, by stakeholders
Apparently worried by increasing accommodation challenges among Nigerians, some concerned affordable housing advocates have mulled fresh ideas to deliver four million houses in four years.
Throwing themselves in for the housing challenge and solution, they sought from the Federal Government an Executive Order or legislation backing them to build special estates across Nigeria.
Challenging the status quo on the Affordable Housing Development Advocacy Group’s platform, Principal Partner at Novone Consult Limited, Mr. Ezekiel Nya Etuk, an architect, demanded that the authority should allow them take charge of the housing ministry for four years to deliver the four million housing mandate.
“Give us the Ministry of Housing to ‘run’ for four years. Don’t pay a dime, not even for my ‘aides’. Approve Presidential Executive Order, or better still, legislation for special estates. In return, we will deliver four million homes in four years in the first instance,” he said.
On how to achieve this, he explained that his team of professionals would set up a consortium of select stakeholders in the industry, adding that based on a special legislation, it would deliver the said mandate with no cost to government, yet with handsome profit.
On what he needed legislation for, he stated that the legal backing would enable the team to build special estates.
The main aim of the whole concept, according to Nya-Etuk, was to address the issue of lump sum deposit for houses, which he said would never work in the country on a scale that would make appreciable impact in addressing our humongous housing deficit.
He stated that unless there was a decisive policy that compels people not to default on their mortgages and hope to get away with it, investing in mass housing would remain ‘talk’ as “no one will deploy his/her often high interest borrowed funds, or even hard earned resources only for another to get comfort in endless court foreclosure frustration.”
According to him, the estates would be run as rental apartment, adding that payment would be on monthly basis.
He said: “Any defaulter will be given only two weeks of grace to make good his monthly commitment, or be evicted with no option of legal gymnastics.
“The estate police move the defaulter’s property in the apartment into a warehouse for a maximum period of 30 days and thereafter auction them and deposits whatever is the proceeds in the tenant’s submitted account.”
Going by the above measures, Nya-Etuk is of the opinion that with the enormous market potential, investors, who would be assured of their proceeds, would flood the ministry.
On land acquisition for the project, he said the team would partner state government to deliver the house.
He said: “I have been involved severally in getting lands from government. What is responsible for the seeming present reluctance of state governments to give out more lands is the understandable frustration of governors that keep giving choice lands to the Federal Government without seeing the houses.
“With this arrangement, and with the state governments as strategic partners, we will be wondering what to do with lands as the workers will be the direct fire on any governor that decides to prove difficult. The ministry staff will be fully utilized and will enjoy enhanced pay.”
Nigeria has 17 million units housing shortfall,and would need to build one million houses yearly for next 20 years to bridge the deficit. Currently the nation is building less than 100,000 housing units annually.
Managing Director, Ace Hi-Teck Construction Company Limited, Adewunmi Okupe, corroborated Nya Etuk, saying the nation needed peculiar solutions to housing challenge, calling for inclusion of cooperative funding.
Cooperative funding, he said could be revolved for as long as desired.
Such funds, he said, could take care of long term lending at even six per cent per annum because they came in at near zero percent.
Okupe said: “Providing access to one million up-takers every year consecutively for four years is not as tall an order as you imagine. It is very doable if we shift our focus away from conventional efforts that have failed us repeatedly over the years.”
However, another affordable housing advocate, Ali Magashi, picked hole in the entire model, saying “the rule of thumb said it typically took an average of 20 years for rental payments to pay for the cost of land, infrastructure, development and finance”, noting that there was no construction finance that exceeded five years.
He said: “So there’s a mismatch in the proposal. Only institutional funds (pension, insurance and life funds) can wait for such gestation period, and unfortunately, institutional funds don’t invest in housing development because of the attendant default, construction and investment risks; they typically invest in debt securities, preferably collateralized debt securities (mortgage backed securities and mortgage bonds).”
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