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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WASTAGE OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROPERTIES IN LAGOS

P&T building at Obalende
Lagos State was the former capital of Nigeria before it was moved to a more central location which is Abuja also regarded to as the Federal Capital Territory. The movement of the capital really help to reduce the population in Lagos because of the land mass and other economic activities that happens in Lagos. However, the properties of the Federal Government are in ruins after 25 years.

These buildings are predominantly on the Island spanning Onikan, McCarthy Street, Federal Secretariat, Nitel building, Defence Headquarters, Broad Street and residence scattered all over the sprawling neighbourhood of Ikoyi. Many of these buildings are sky scrapers, as far as Nigeria is concerned, and each of these buildings is not maximized and used by miscreants to perpetrate their evil deeds.
The Nitel Building

The political class has also taken undue advantage of the situation. Some years ago the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) sold some Federal Government properties to different people and many of these landmark buildings that contribute significantly to the development of the country was sold to the political class, who can afford it, at the expense of the citizenry. The story of the sale of NITEL building comes easily to the mind of Nigerians.


These buildings have been vandalized by street urchins who remove the entire fittings one after the other selling it as imported second-hand products to unsuspecting buyers. All these have turned these houses to shadow of their former selves. These houses now look like a frame that would need a lot of refurbishment to get it habitable for commercial usage.
2nd left- Theo Lawson, CEO, Total Consult Ltd; Prof Wole Soyinka;
Igwe Alfred Achebe and other inspecting the National Archives
dilapidated building on Broad Street

Before these abandoned building of 25 years can be put to use, there needs to be a holistic scrutiny of the buildings to ensure that it is safe for habitation, so that, when repairs are completed; it does not collapse in the course of usage neither does it become an environmental threat.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, according to the BBC has placed Nigeria’s economic capital, Lagos as the third worst place in the world to live in. The report says the worst city is Dhaka- Bangladesh  followed by Port Moresby- Papua in New Guinea; then Lagos- Nigeria, ranking 138th of 140 cities surveyed for worst living conditions. Unfortunately, some of these government properties can be used to change this report.

The residential quarters in Ikoyi that is either uninhabited or inhabited by illegal occupants should be discovered and made to pay accumulated rent, outright purchase of the property or evacuation. Government should not be treated as a ‘father christmas’ who doles out properties without a cause. Government ventures should also be profitable and that is why all the Federal ministries and parastatals need to be generating revenue for the government but many of them are cost centres.

Prof Wole Soyinka;
Igwe Alfred Achebe and other inspecting the National Archives
dilapidated building on Broad Street
Theo Lawson, the CEO of Total Consult Limited took Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha and Professor Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate on a tour of the dilapidated structure of the National Archives in Lagos in January 2015. There are records that have to do with Nigeria as a colony till the early 1990s in this building. The building is opposite the former colonial prison, now Freedom Park on Broad Street, Lagos Island. Many records have been lost to inferno, flood and mismanagement of this nature. Some of these documents that should reflect all the houses owned by the Federal Government cannot be traced for many selfish reasons among top civil servants, politicians and former military leaders in Nigeria.

The cost of renting an office space or a living apartment on the Island is a fortune. If all these government houses are renovated and well refurbished, there would be respite for many people dreaming of being an entrepreneur if the cost of getting an office space is minimal. This will also make landlords to reduce the cost of renting out office spaces generally in Lagos.
The Federal Secretariat in Lagos

There are a lot of private facility management companies in Lagos and estate management companies that can bid for the management of these buildings under the Private-Public Partnership arrangement with the Federal Government. These companies would be charged with the responsibility of managing the buildings and remitting funds into government coffers for other developmental purposes.

Taxes used in constructing these buildings must not be wasted. 25 years is such a long time that money had been lost as these buildings have not been maximized. The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari through the Honourable Minister of Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN must put these buildings into profitable use to the delight of Lagosians and the nation at large.



Reference:
Naij.com

Facebook pictures of Theo Lawson.
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