Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lagos Property: Bungalow on a plot of land at Ologolo Bus Stop, Agungi, Lekki

@ NGN 25,000,000.00

 Address:     Ologolo Bus Stop, Agungi, Lekki Lekki Lagos NigeriaProperty Description An uncompleted bungalow on a plot of land at Ologolo Bus Stop, Agungi, Lekki. Title: Deed of Assignment


Lagos Property: 4 bedroom detached house with 2 nos 3 bedroom flats, 2 room bq and 3 shops For Sale

Address: Fatai Irawo Street, Off Lateef Salami Street, Ajao Estate Ikeja Lagos Nigeria

Property Description
4 bedroom detached house with 2 nos 3 bedroom flats, 2 room bq and 3 shops at Fatai Irawo Street, Off Lateef Salami Street, Ajao Estate. It can be used as a hotel, guest house or maintained Title: C of O

Former Child Star Sues Kanye West for Intellectual Property Theft

If you’ve been around for a while, you’d know the name ‘Ricky Spicer’ lead singer for a 1970 tune. Personally, I hadn’t heard of the song until Kanye West released “Bound 2.” If you’ve listened to Bound 2, chances are you’ve heard Ricky Spicer’s voice.

Ricky Spicer was the 12-year old lead singer for the group called the Ponderosa Twins Plus One in 1969. A year after, they recorded the song “Bound”, the law suit against Kanye West reads.

The now 56-year old Spicer says that his voice can be heard on Kanye’s “Bound 2” at least four times.

The 13-page complaint against Kanye West alleges that "Mr. Spicer's voice is sampled exactly as he recorded it and his voice, altered by the Defendants, is also heard several times."

According to the suit which was filed in New York, Spicer has a copyright on “Bound” and the suit demands exemplary damages and compensation to the tune deemed appropriate by the court.

Stolen land: Nigerian villagers want their land back from Wilmar

This is the second of a series of interviews about resistance to the expansion of industrial oil palm plantations in West and Central Africa.

Members of communities affected by these monoculture plantations and civil society organizations from Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia met in Calabar, Nigeria from 2–5 November 2013. They shared testimonies and analysis of the consequences of the rapid and brutal expansion of monoculture oil palm plantations by multinational companies in different communities and countries.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lekki outpaces Ikoyi, others as most prized real estate market

With a phenomenal growth driven by a combination of factors including expansion of Lekki-Epe Expressway, proposed Lekki International Airport and Deep Seaport, the Lekki corridor in Lagos has been identified as one of the most prized real estate markets in Nigeria, outpacing Ikoyi and Victoria Island.

Current market trends in the corridor shows its uniqueness in that properties are available for all types of income earners—the high, upper middle, and budget buyers.

Olayinka Omotosho, a chartered surveyor, who gave these hints in his paper titled ‘Real Estate Business Dynamics in 21st Century with Focus on the Lekki-Epe Axis’, noted that this axis has the largest concentration of new wealth on the African continent,  catapulting many families to the rank of the nouveau riche.

Omotosho, who was a lead speaker at the first Lekki-Epe Real Estate and Business Conference in Lagos recently, called for more investments in Lekki in order for investors to create wealth for themselves.

The conference paraded an array of speakers including Kayode Omotosho, executive secretary of the Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN); Bode Araba, principal partner of EPDM Nigeria, and Godspower Omozusi, the principal partner of GP Omozusi & Company, a firm of estate surveyors & valuers.

The lead speaker took a critical look at modern real estate business, saying, “21st Century has often been referred to as the era”. He explained that many companies are now able to do more business using the internet, adding that more clients are more knowledgeable of the property market these days.

“The introduction of blogs, products, social media like facebook, twitter and smart phones have allowed for more interaction between professionals and their clients, beyond what was previously obtainable”, he pointed out.

According to him, new technology has brought about interface between clients and professionals, sophisticated marketing, globalization of the local property market and the need for due diligence to verify information given on the internet.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lagos could accommodate at least 20 shopping malls, says property developer

The construction of shopping malls in Nigeria and the country’s retail potential is a hot topic, as highlighted by discussions at last month’s Africa Property Investment Summit in Johannesburg.

South African food retailer Shoprite Holdings, which has partnered with different property development companies to take the anchor position in a number of these planned malls, is emphasising the demand for mall expansion across the West African country.

According to Hakeem Ogunniran, managing director of UACN Property Development Company (UPDC) in Nigeria, Lagos could effectively hold 20 malls. The rapidly expanding city and commercial hub currently has three large modern shopping malls (with a fourth to be opened soon) and has seen a growing consumer class and a number of international retail companies enter the space.

Ogunniran told How we made it in Africa that Johannesburg, with a population of 4-5m people, has substantially more malls than Lagos. “Lagos with 17-20m could presumably take up to 20-25 malls.”

UPDC, which is also developing in the residential and commercial (office) real estate markets, is looking at the country’s potential in its “B and C grade” cities for formal retail infrastructure, office spaces and residential developments, said Ogunniran.

This is in alignment with what Resilient Africa’s managing director Holden Marshall told How we made it in Africa last month. Resilient Africa is focused specifically on developing smaller shopping centres in Nigeria, of which Shoprite is a partner.

Although Resilient Africa is securing sites to develop malls in the popular retail hubs of Lagos and Abuja, it is also targeting a number of other cities in the country. Warri in the Delta State in southern Nigeria will see the Delta City Mall completed by November next year. Marshall said the company has either secured or is in the process of securing sites in Asaba, Benin City, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Yenagoa and Abeokuta.

According to Marshall, the growing middle class population in these cities is underserviced. “And that’s why the retailers are going there… [They] have got money to spend and are looking for good brands, a nice environment, and a modern facility. And that’s what we are hoping to capture and deliver.”

Warri, where Resilient Africa’s first mall is being built, is seeing rapid growth and has a good income per capita.

“That whole south Delta region of Nigeria, a large part of it is based on an oil economy,” Marshall explained. “All those cities in that region are growing exceptionally fast. In the last three years they have all sort of quadrupled in size. So Warri is quite a substantial city. [There are] indications of a population of 1.5m that is sort of countable but there are a lot more [people].”

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Actis $1.5bn investment in Nigeria, others’ property market targets middle class

Actis, a private equity company, will lead investment of as much as $1.5 billion in African commercial property to meet rising demand from international companies targeting a growing middle class, its officials have revealed.

The London-based company has a five-year plan to invest in projects including shopping centers, office towers and industrial parks in fast-growing economies such as Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.
Kevin Teeroovengadum, director of Actis’ sub-Saharan Africa real estate unit, revealed recently in an interview in Johannesburg that the company is seeing a shift in interest from South African brands to European retailers.

Michael Chu’di Ejekam, Teeroovengadum’s counterpart in Nigeria, had noted in Lagos that African market is “huge, under-supplied and growing”, adding that there is a sharp demand-supply imbalance which they are trying to bridge.
“This is sub-Saharan Africa and in comparison with some other markets, it is one of the fastest growing in the entire world. Africa dominates the list of the fastest growing economies in the world”, Ejekam, who spoke in an interview with BusinessDay, said.
African Development Bank’s annual outlook also notes that Africa’s economy, excluding Libya and Somalia, is forecast to expand 4.5 percent in 2013 and 5.2 percent next year amid a rise in oil and mining projects and direct investment from foreign companies.
Teeroovengadum points out that Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, grew 6.6 percent in the first quarter while South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy, expanded by an annualised 0.9 percent.
Actis has raised about $1.4 billion across seven Africa funds since 2003, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company is also pursuing deals in South America and Southeast Asia in sectors including energy and technology.

McKinsey & Co. says in a 2010 report that Africa is home to the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population, predicting that household expenditure in the continent is forecast to expand 63 percent to $1.4 trillion by 2020. Shantayanan Devarajan, World Bank’s chief economist for Africa, said in May last year that “this is a very good time for retailers to get a foothold in Africa.”
In Nigeria, Ejekam notes that within 8-kilometre radius of Ikeja City Mall in Lagos, household expenditure is about $18,000 per annum per household, adding that with about one million households within this radius, household expenditure per annum is about $18 billion. “For us as private equity investors, we find this very compelling”, he said.

This is the number of jobs the Federal Government is proposing to create on a yearly basis.
The Information Minister, Labran Maku said it is part of a deliberate policy to expand the Nigerian economy.
With an average official rate of unemployment put at about 18 million adults or about 23 percent of the adult population, it would take the Federal Government an average of 49 years to absorb all the unemployed even if the unemployment rate remains unchanged.
What this clearly shows is that the creation of jobs will have to go beyond what the Federal Government can do directly to enable the private sector also create jobs.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

NDFF 2013 to Profile Nigerian Real Estate and Housing Finance sector as investment frontier

The 4th Nigeria Development and Finance Forum (NDFF) 2013 North America Conference will showcase the Nigerian Real Estate and Housing Finance sector as an important frontier of investment opportunities in Nigeria.

One of Nigeria’s leading experts on the sector, Roland Igbinoba, President/CEO, Pison Housing Company will make the lead presentation and will be supported by a panel consisting of senior policy and private sectors leader, with participants and delegates drawn from the real estate and housing finance sectors across the United States and Nigeria.

Official data from the office of the Honourable Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Amal Pepple, confirms Nigeria’s housing deficit of over 16 million. Lagos State, the commercial capital of Nigeria, accounts for 30 per cent of the housing deficit, according to a recent statement by Hon. Adedeji Olatubosun Jeje, Commissioner for Housing, Lagos State.

A Presidential mandate has seen the introduction of policy reforms in the housing sector, which is being spearheaded by Ms. Pepple. She said recently that:
“Mr. President recently directed us to focus on land titling, housing finance, affordable housing, low-cost/social housing and urban regeneration and regional development. We intend to vigorously pursue the implementation of these initiatives over the next two years in order to achieve the targets we have set for ourselves.”

The framework for the establishment of a Federal institution for housing refinancing is being assisted by the World Bank, as confirmed by the Honourable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at the Spring Meetings of the IMF/World Bank in Washington DC, in April.

Nigeria’s domestic mortgage market is currently valued at 445 billion U.S. dollars, yet with rapid rate of urbanization and positive demographic structure, housing finance is seen to be critical to support human and infrastructural development.

Mr. Igbinoba says: “My presentation will cover the investment opportunities in real estate in Nigeria, spanning from residential to commercial real estate. I will do this by comparing Nigeria to its peers in the region. This will show Nigeria as the destination for real estate investment by North American investors.”

Nigeria's property boom: only for the brave

(Reuters) - On one of the most exclusive streets in Nigeria's capital sits a crumbling mansion with an unwelcoming message painted at its entrance: "BEWARE! THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR SALE".
The warning refers to a popular property scam. In the most elaborate version, robbers break into your house while you are away, change the locks, and then produce multiple copies of fake title deeds. Posing as estate agents, they show buyers around your house and sell as many copies of the deeds as possible. When you get back, your house belongs to six people.

This sort of deception epitomises the tricky nature of Nigeria's real estate business, but despite the risks, there are huge returns to be had in a market where around 16 million homes are needed just to meet current demand.
Navigating through opaque land laws, corruption, a lack of development expertise and financing, a dearth of mortgages and high building costs will take courage and influential local partners.
"There are sizeable challenges to overcome but in many ways Nigeria represents the perfect storm for real estate investment; huge population, rapid urbanisation and a growing middle-class," said Michael Chu'di Ejekam, Director of Nigerian Real Estate at Actis, a London-based private equity firm.
Actis has $5.2 billion under management, including two sub-Saharan Africa real estate equity funds totalling $434 million, which it says are attracting U.S. and European investors.

Nigeria's population of nearly 170 million is bigger than Russia's and its economy is growing at 6 percent, a combination which is producing a new wave of property buyers from bankers and airline staff to mobile phone and fast food shop owners.
"I see demand from the middle-class higher than ever before," said Deolu Dara, Associate Vice President at Nigeria-based Avante Property Asset Management, which manages several multi-million dollar residential projects in Lagos.
A successful real estate investment in Nigeria can earn an returns as high as 30-35 percent, while rental income yields in cities such as Lagos and Abuja can easily reach 10 percent, developers and estate agents say.

Property in Lagos, a heaving metropolis of around 20 million people, can be among the most expensive in the world with two-bedroom flats costing more than $1 million in upmarket areas.
However, the top-end range is dominated by well established players and developers should target middle-income workers in major cities, such Lagos, Abuja and the oil-hub Port Harcourt. The most popular units fall in a price bracket of 20-35 million naira, developers and estate agents say.

Nigeria's middle class make up around 23 percent of the population and earn around 80,000-100,000 naira per month, according to report by investment bank Renaissance Capital.
In smaller cities and rural areas, a lack of information about land and regulation is off-putting, while a violent Islamist insurgency has made the north of Nigeria unattractive, despite huge unmet demand in cities such as Kano and Kaduna.

The majority of Nigerians live in poverty in shanty towns or in basic concrete block and iron-roofed houses they have built themselves, but building mass housing for the poor is not a popular investment.
"If you know the market, the people, focus on middle class and cherry pick your deals, you can clean out," added Dara, who said Africa's biggest oil and gas industry is also driving demand. One foreign oil major bought 300 flats recently.
Nigeria's construction and real estate sectors are growing at more than 10 and 12 percent respectively, a boon for foreign and Nigerian construction firms, including UPDC (UACN.LG), Cappa D'Alberto (CAPALBE.LG) and Julius Berger (JBERGER.LG).

Yet, there is still not enough quality affordable housing because business is frustrated by widespread corruption, poor state infrastructure and a lack of expertise and financing.
Constructing a block of flats costs three times as much in Nigeria than in South Africa, builders say, and many developments are abandoned when projects run out of money or become slums because they are poorly built.

London-based estate agent Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL.N) ranks Nigeria 96th out of 97 on its transparency index, just in front of Sudan but behind six other African countries.
Having support from powerful politicians or business magnates will help to avoid terminal financial pitfalls.
"It's a business that requires local partners and local knowledge or you'll run into problems," Dara at Avante says.

Avante's chairman is Wale Tinubu, the head of oil and gas firm Oando (OANDO.LG) and a close relative of former Lagos state governor Bola Tinubu, who still wields influence there.
London-based Actis has given directorships to Nigerian energy firm Seven Energy and local conglomerate UAC (UACN.LG).

Once the supply challenges have been overcome, there remains a problem with that huge latent demand. No mortgages. Unless you are willing to pay a 25 percent interest rate.
The mortgage debt-to-GDP ratio in Nigeria is under 0.5 percent, compared with 72 percent in the U.S. and over 30 percent in Malaysia and South Africa, government figures show.

"In places like America you seem to be able to buy property without a stress but it just isn't like that here," said Ike Ejekam, 31, who is about to buy a newly-built two-bedroom apartment for 20 million naira in a gated community in the popular Lekki district on the Lagos peninsula.

Ejekam represents the new breed of buyers who expect well-built housing with all the modern conveniences. He works at a branch of a local bank and is using his life savings and funds borrowed from family members to buy his property outright.

"I don't like to think about mortgages because it scares me when I see how difficult it is for my friends to get a loan."

Nigerian banks don't like giving out mortgages because reliable information about buyers and land is scarce, while there is no secondary market to offset the risks.

The government says it is trying to fix this by securing a $300 million loan from the World Bank to establish a mortgage refinancing company, which should free up some bank lending.

A Federal Mortgage Bank was also launched this year, which government hopes will help build 500,000 new homes. The bank plans to float a 200 billion naira mortgage bond, the proceeds from which can be handed over to home buyers with the state guaranteeing against default for five years.
The government is also discussing passing legislation to create a secondary mortgage market and to improve land laws.

"With this sense of urgency we could have a significant improvement in the mortgage market by 2015," United Bank for Africa (UBA.LG) CEO Phillips Oduoza told Reuters.
This optimism is also being felt by developers as dozens of well-financed projects are underway, including the Eko Atlantic City - a multi-billion dollar project built from 9 square kilometres of land being reclaimed from the sea in Lagos.

The billionaire Chagoury brothers, who are of Lebanese descent, are leading the mega-project, which will feature parks, swimming pools and skyscrapers with floor-to-ceiling glass. Banks, including France's BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), Belgium's KBC (KBC.BR) and several Nigerian lenders are on board.
In Abuja, UPDC has started its 228-unit 'Metro City', which consists of well-designed blocks with balconies built in palm-fringed private compounds. Privately owned Churchgate Group is building its ambitious $1 billion World Trade Centre, a series of skyscrapers housing offices, flats and upscale shops.
"Nigeria is a huge real estate opportunity," said Ejekam at Actis. "The story is getting out, slowly."
(Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How Lekki Gardens widens affordable luxury homes frontiers

The apprehension by most young families and other members of the growing middle class to own affordable cozy homes in a serene and high brow neighborhood seems set to be relieved by GT Rich Realtors, developers of Lekki Gardens.

Currently existing in four phases, all on the Lekki Epe Expressway of Lagos, Lekki Gardens is poised for a giant stride by providing over 1,000 luxury apartments for home owners and savvy investors.
The first phase of the estate comprising predominantly three bedroom duplexes and apartments blocks has been fully delivered to over 200 families who are currently reaping the benefit of tapping into the off plan scheme of the estate which kicked off sometime last year.
These proud home owners currently enjoy all the facilities of an uptown estate such as well paved inter-locked road network, water treatment plants, street lights, underground electrical wiring, over-night power supply and other facilities.

The second phase of the estate which is about five minutes away from Victoria Garden City (VGC), is currently fully subscribed with construction in top gear to deliver over 400 housing units of predominantly three bedroom duplexes and other house-types in time for subscribers to inhabit in the next few months.
Tucked behind the Lagos Business School, the third phase of the estate which is a mini-estate compared to the second phase and it  is expected to house over 150 families in three bedroom duplexes.
BusinessDay visit to the site revealed that construction was in top gear to meet delivery date. Roads, drainages were eagerly constructed and the lush green area of the estate was already mapped out while most houses were almost on decking level.

Construction at the fourth phase of the estate which is also on the Lekki-Epe axis is in top gear to deliver  residential apartments in the next nine months. “At the site, perimeter fencing and other infrastructure are currently being  completed,  while a  1.2km access road to the site has just been delivered to allow easy access to the site, Azuka Ugboh, the company’s media director, revealed to our reporter.
“Our  success stories have however,  been threatened by some  challenges which are affecting early delivery of the estates”, Ugboh said.

One of the major challenges we face is the doubt that has clouded the real estate sector in recent times, as clients fear that developers might not deliver on their promise, especially when it has do with off-plan sales.
However, at GT Rich we have been able to allay those fears by delivering the first phase in our series of Lekki Gardens.

“Also with the second phase fully subscribed, it is obvious our clients have a great deal of trust on us and that further informed our decision to see them as our partners rather than just clients,” he added.
“There is also the difficulty of the terrain on some of our projects because of the swampy nature of the Lekki environment; however, we have been able to tackle this by employing strategies that have helped us to dredge the areas,” Ugboh said, disclosing that they  construct their houses with raft foundation at some of the challenging sites to guard against future environment challenges

Friday, September 6, 2013

Nigeria’s farming reforms still face hurdles, say companies

Nigeria is reforming its farming sector to bolster production and draw investment but companies this week said more needs to be done to tackle entrenched corruption, poor infrastructure and rogue government agencies.

Nigeria’s annual economic summit focused on agriculture for the first time, in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s commitment to fixing Nigeria’s biggest employer. Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina, who has been praised by donors and businesses for his efforts, was keen to stress the success of reforms began two years ago.

He said subsidies used to reduced the cost of fertiliser for farmers were not longer managed by corrupt politicians but instead were given directly to farmers.He said food imports had fallen by 850 billion naira ($5.2 billion) and food production was up by 8 million tonnes, helping to create 2.2 million new jobs, Reuters reports.

The government wants to add 20 million tonnes of domestic food production by 2020 and rice, corn, sorghum, palm oil and cocoa have already increased, Adesina said. The world’s second-largest importer of rice, Nigeria aims to become self-sufficient by 2015 after introducing a 100 percent tax on polished rice imports this year, likely to mostly affect countries like India, Thailand and Brazil. Security sources and farmers have said one backlash has been a rise in smuggling of rice and sugar from neighbouring countries and into ports.

Higher cassava output has been used to make flour, reducing wheat imports mostly from the United States by almost 9 percent, Adesina who noted bank lending to agriculture had risen to 25 billion naira this year from just 3.5 billion in 2012
Duties on agricultural equipment have been scrapped and tax breaks given to companies willing to invest in both farming and industrial processes, as well.
The country’s reforms have drawn new foreign investors such food giant Cargill, seed company Syngenta and brewer SABMiller, while Dangote Sugar and others are investing more.
However, many companies asked to speak at the summit gave a less rosy picture, saying state and local governments still extort unofficial payments, while officials at ports and customs either worked around government policies or outright ignored them.
Confusing laws on land, much of which is owned or claimed by government officials, also mean it is difficult to expand. That has left 60 percent of Nigeria’s arable land fallow, farmers say.
“We’re still battling with the basics; visa processing times, port delays, access to credit, transport systems. Rhetoric is all we are getting. It’s time to walk the walk,” said Alan Jack, managing director of Shonga Farms, a mainly poultry and milk farming group which supplies the Lagos branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken, owned by Yum! Brands.
Jack said imported chicken from Brazil cost 135 naira per kilo, while a chick in Nigeria cost 180 naira, making government plans to emulate its South American rival unrealistic.
“Ports would scare the life out of anyone. It’s the worst thing about your system,” said Calvin Burgess, chief executive of Dominion Farms, a U.S.-owned firm looking to farm rice in Taraba state.
He said $10 million of agriculture equipment was delayed for almost a year because customs and other agencies sought bribes and noted Dominion had operated in Kenya for 10 years “without anything like these problems”.
The government says port reform is a key policy, but investors say progress is slow. Industry players were also critical of Nigeria’s dilapidated road network and
troubled power supply noting it is often more profitable to ship produce to the U.K. rather than transport it from Lagos in the south to the biggest northern city, Kano.
“We don’t benefit from any infrastructure put in place. We have to build our own roads and provide our own electricity,” said Gbenga Oyebode, chairman of palm oil firm Okomu Palm, said.
Nigeria is privatising much of its power sector, which should help improve electricity shortages that hurt the agriculture sector.
Nigeria’s reforms are needed to reduce reliance on a struggling oil sector and cut a $11 billion food import bill

Thursday, September 5, 2013

3Investor programme assures on 50% reduction in investment transaction cost

Real estate investors and consumers who subscribe to 3Investor Loyalty Programme, one of the newest products in the property market presently, have been assured of 50 percent reduction in their investment transaction cost and professional fees.

The product, according to its originator, also offers subscribers other opportunities such as access to about 30 percent discount on purchases from subscribed outlets such as malls, airlines, haulage, real estate events, current information on market conditions and new projects through a weekly newsletter.

Ruth Obih, MD/CEO, 3Invest Limited, owner and promoter of the programme, noted at its launching in Lagos recently that her company was concerned about the current transaction fees (commission) paid by real estate consumers on property , which hover between 10 and 15 percent.
Obih said the loyalty programme launched alongside a Real Estate Investment Network (RIEN) at the Property Buyers Forum (PBF) organised by the company in Lagos was designed to help real estate investors and consumers.
According to her, the product is to be driven by REIN, an investment nexus that seeks to connect sponsors with investors who are willing to invest in income-producing real estate portfolios to expand their income margin.
“REIN is expected to broker investments within the 3Investor circle by introducing projects considered investible to a network of investors who will pull funds together to execute projects under predefined arrangements and earn income on such projects on an agreed percentage to every member of the network who has invested in the project,” she said.

She explained further that “REIN is expected to help sponsors raise more funds for real estate projects by building investors’ confidence and closing the gap between investors and developers; thereby ensuring that more activities are ongoing in the real estate sector.

“As a company, we are committed to how the industry grows and activities that make for its growth. That is why we have created the REIN and the 3Investor as platforms that can help increase the number of activities in the industry. We believe that when there are more activities, employment will be inevitable and where there is employment, real estate contribution to the GDP will increase.”
To her, REIN is an annual subscription-base network that runs on the 3Investor platform of Standard and Premium subscribers; Standard subscribers are willing investors with an investment portfolio of N1,000,000 and above.

Premium subscribers have their entry level pegged at N20,000,000, she said, pointing out that REIN differs from REIT – Real Estate Investment Trust – in that it does not bank or hold the investors’ funds and is not managed by a sponsor; “it only maintains the network of these investors and introduces investible projects to it and manages the project through an escrow account.”

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Nigeria: Delta Donates 60,000 Hectares for Cassava Farm Project

To support the cassava bread and high quality cassava flour development initiative, the Delta State government has donated 60,000 hectares of land in Abraka for a mechanised cassava farm.
The Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Greyne Anosike stated this in Abuja on Friday.
The statement said the gesture was also part of the state government's support to Federal Government's Agricultural Transformation Agenda, adding that the state government also provided a 20-hectare farm land for flour factory in Abraka.

The state governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, who announced the donation, commended the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, for taking agricultural practice to a higher level.
The statement also said the Delta Government was determined to exploit the potential of the agriculture sector as part of its medium and long-term strategies, to curtail unemployment in the state.
Mr. Adesina commended the Delta Government for the gesture and called on other state governments to partner with the ministry to realise the ongoing transformation of the agriculture sector.
The statement quoted the minister as saying that partnerships in agribusiness would create growth and development and called for a synergy between state governments and the ministry the sector's potential in job creation and economic empowermen

Friday, August 30, 2013

Flour Mills of Nigeria notifies NSE on agreement with Adecoagro

Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc has notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) that it has entered into a technical assistance agreement with Adecoagro, a leading South American Agro Industrial Company.

Adecoagro owns and operates over 278,000 hectares of high quality farmland and several industrial assets where it produces over 1.2 million tons of food commodities and renewable energy, including, corn, wheat, soybean, rice, cotton, milk, sugar, ethanol and electricity.

Under the terms of the Agreement, Adecoagro will assist FMN in the management and sustainable development of its Kaboji Farm, one of the largest commercial farms in Nigeria comprising 10,000 hectares near Kontagora, Niger State dedicated mainly to the cultivation of maize and soybean.

The Technical Assistance Agreement envisages a mutually rewarding co-operation between the two leading companies (FMN and Adecoagro) with the purpose of increasing the historical crop yields, helping to provide sustainable agriculture, maximizing returns on the farm, creating jobs and enhancing value for farmers and achieve maximum yield and sustain profitability in the farm’s operations.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

CBN Disburses N6bn Agric Loans to Farmers

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it disbursed over N6 billion loans to farmers under its credit guarantees as at December last year. A report from the Bankers’ Committee at the weekend,  also anticipated that with the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and collaboration between banks and counterparties, the loans under guarantee would have risen to over N20 billion by end of the first quarter of this year.
The increase in agric sector credit was linked to the N200 billion agriculture credit scheme and the N600 billion NIRSAL interventions.

The NIRSAL guarantees up to 75 per cent of bank loans to the sector. The NIRSAL initiative, which was conceived by the CBN, the Bankers’ Committee and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), seeks to create incentives and catalyse processes to encourage the growth of formal credit, direct and indirect, for the agriculture value chain, as a mechanism for driving wealth creation among value chain participants.

According to the central bank, NIRSAL is also expected to be a catalyst for innovative risk management strategies, long-term financing for agribusiness and significant job creation by new entrepreneurs.
“The mandate of NIRSAL is to act as the custodian of all credit guarantee schemes, interest draw back schemes, and commercialisation initiatives related to an integrated value chain approach to agriculture and agribusiness in Nigeria,'' the CBN said. Under NIRSAL, there are five pillars to be addressed by an estimated $500 million that will be invested by the CBN,” the programme document explained.

There is also a risk-sharing facility of $300 million, planned to address banks’ perception of high-risks in the sector by sharing losses on agricultural loans. There is equally an insurance facility of $30 million intended to expand insurance products for agricultural lending from the current coverage to new products, such as weather index insurance, new variants of pest and disease insurance. Besides, there is also a technical assistance facility amounting to $60 million, meant to equip banks to lend sustainably to agriculture, producers to borrow and use loans more effectively and increase output of better quality agricultural products, among others.

“The current improvement in the sector’s  was linked to access to credit through the new policy focused on increasing private sector participation, emphasis on the entire agriculture value chain, and using agriculture to boost employment, wealth creation and food security,” it added.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lagos community protests abandonment of World Bank project

WorldStage Newsonline-- Residents of Badia community in Ijora, Lagos have staged a protest to Lagos State House of Assembly overthe abandonment of Lagos Metropolitan Development Governance Projects (LMDGP), a World Bank assisted project aimed at developing shanties and slums within the state, in their domain.

Led by their representative in the House, Muyiwa Jimoh and Prince Kayode Obadiah, a community leader, the protesters displayed various placards with captions such as 'LMDGP, tell us why you want to sack the contractor?' No roads for PSP vehicles,' 'Apapa Iganmu: LMDGP, your system five is a failure,' 'Our houses have been demolished, please help us,' 'Gov. Fashola, we thank you for using good contractor for your roads' among others.
 (LMDGP had embarked on construction of roads, sinking of boreholes, ultra-modern schools, complex and canal constructions which the protesters claim had been abandoned in the area.

In a letter addressed to the state governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola and copied to the Assembly, signed by leaders of the community, it was alleged that LMDGP had taken over the project from the contractor (Seg.Mahen Co. Nig.Ltd). The residents wondered why the project was not re-awarded to another contractor.
"We are writing this letter to our Dear Excellency sir, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), the governor of Lagos state and the contractor Director, Mr. Dayo Oguntunde representing World Bank in Lagos State to please save our souls.

"The World Bank has visited this community before our communities were enlisted among the areas to be assisted and we are part of Lagos," the statement read.
Some of the projects already abandoned included Canal (System V), which according to the letter was supposed to  serve as alternative to the drainage had stopped since 2011 resulting into serious havoc affecting the whole community.
While championing the cause of his constituency during the protest, Jimoh hinted that "the LMDGP has terminated the project as we speak and has not re-awarded it." He therefore appealed to the state government to urgently intervene to save his constituents from impending danger.
In his response, the chairman, House committee on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity, Segun Olulade, who represented the speaker, praised the protesters for conducting themselves in a peaceful manner, adding that his colleague Jimoh had been proactive in his determination to making sure that the issue is amicably resolved.
"As a member of committee on Works,  I know the role he has been playing in ensuring that the matter is seriously looked into. I want to assure you that the House would surely look into it with immediate effect," Olulade promised.
Adding that the delay in completing the projects maybe due to the process of re-awarding the contract because the earlier contract has since been terminated because of misunderstanding between LMDGP and the contractor.

Who builds for the poor?

In Marslow’s hierarchy of human needs, shelter ranks second to food, which pre-supposes that without food, shelter is the most important of all man’s needs on earth. Similarly, the National Housing Policy (NHP) of 1991 states that every Nigerian has a right to a decent and affordable accommodation.
However, the housing situation in Nigeria today, where the demand-supply gap is as wide as 16 million units with only 10 percent homeownership, obviously belies both Marslow and the NHP.
A critical look at this deficit shows that it tilts stubbornly towards housing for the poor who can hardly afford the millions-of-naira property that the market offers. In a mortgage-free environment like ours, where homeownership is by cash and carry and there is no social housing arrangement by the government, the poor are mere spectators, begging the question as to who builds for them.

We are worried that whereas the government tells whoever cares to listen that its responsibility in housing delivery is creating the enabling environment, private sector operators in the housing sector have concentrated efforts at building for the rich and the wealthy, leaving the poor to their fate.

A one-time commissioner for housing in Lagos State told journalists at a groundbreaking ceremony that government cannot build low-cost housing because it also goes to the same market where building materials are costly, adding that they are also in business to make profit. But a developer who spoke to BusinessDay said low-income housing is the business of government, explaining that lack of infrastructure and cost of building make that segment of the market unattractive.

The developer said that his company, without any apology, develops and delivers housing to the mid-upper end of the property market, arguing that he would do mass housing only on the condition that he would get land free of charge, or at least it must be given to him at a huge concession. “Also, I must get title for the land just by asking, that is, once I apply, I am given. Even at that, it must be given to me almost free of charge or at a huge concession,” he added.
From these standpoints, we can appreciate the dilemma of the poor in relation to homeownership and, for us, it is a very pathetic, though not helpless, situation.

 Much as we believe in free enterprise and that the business of housing delivery is better managed by the private sector, we do not subscribe to a total abdication of the sector by the government because housing has a lot to do with policy issues. Apart from favourable regulatory issues around land matters, government should also be sincere and responsible enough to provide enabling environment for private-sector operators to come in and deliver affordable housing.

We align with the president of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) who has consistently canvassed some form of social housing for the very poor in society whose income cannot support homeownership. According to him, even though the housing sector is better driven by the private sector, government still has to enable equitable distribution of housing to ensure that everybody is properly housed, adding, “In India, for instance, there is the Council Flats with all manner of social housing components.”

We recall that when the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) was set up, part of its mandate was to develop rent-to-own and social housing for the class of Nigerians who needs them. Today, the authority has gone commercial, building houses where two-bedroom and three-bedroom flats go for N6 million and N9 million, respectively.
Because of its huge impact on productivity and economic growth, we are of the opinion that all stakeholders should explore possible ways of making housing accessible and affordable to the poor

Drama Consult premieres today in Lagos

DRAMA Consult, the film by German filmmaker, curator and international programmer, Dorothee Wenner, will be premiered today at the new leisure mall on Adeniran Ogunsanya Street (by Shoprite), Surulere, Lagos. Time is 7pm.

  The film celebrates an ethnographic expedition from Africa to Europe between real life businessmen who travel to meet with potential partners in Germany. Already, it has successfully been premiered at two big festivals — The Festival of Pan African Cinema in Ouagadougou, otherwise called FESPACO and the ongoing 34th Durban International Film Festival in South Africa.

  The film was shot in Lagos and Germany and it features business personalities and experts like Dolapo Ajayi, Sam Aniama, Jude Fejokwu,

Femi Ladipo, Biyi Tunji-Olugbodi, Alhaji Chief Musa Olukayode Adedipe Christian Wessels, and Dazaa Aniama. In the film, the businessmen from Lagos — a spare parts dealer, a real estate developer and a young shoe manufacturer with high-flying plans, accompanied by two smart business consultants, travel to Germany to link up with potential partners and investors.

  The film tracks the process of economic intervention as an adventure trip in the era of globalization. Wenner, who wrote and directed the film, is already in Nigeria ahead of the premiere. Wenner disclosed after the premiere in Durban that she had always wanted to do a film about Africa and Europe and she found Nigeria, which she has visited every year in the last 10 years because of her involvement with the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA), a good centre to focus the story.

  She noted, “There are a lot of prejudices about this great country, Nigeria and a lot of misconceptions and I felt that beyond giving the businessmen who are my protagonists the opportunity to explore business opportunities, efforts could be made to correct those other stereotypes like when people say, ‘Nigerian businessmen cannot be trusted.’ But here we see people who are ready to do genuine business and so on”.
  Drama Consult is Wenner’s second film. She produced and directed Peace Mission, a film that provided valuable insight into the Nigerian motion picture phenomenon.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nigeria: FG commends Rivers over land donation for housing scheme

WorldStage Newsonline—The Federal Government of Nigeria has commended the Rivers State Government for donating over 10 hectares of land to enable it execute one of its housing programmes.
The Minister of Housing, Ms Amal Pepple who said this when she inspected the parcel of land in Iriebe, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state stated that “we are very happy to have this collaborative effort because I am not happy that I have not really done anything in Rivers state.”
Pepple who was accompanied on the inspection tour by the Rivers State Commissioner for Housing, Mr Marshal Uwom also said that with the land, she could now put the stamp of her ministry ”which is the stamp of President Goodluck Jonathan in housing in Rivers state because it is his government and we are all working and ensuring that whatever he wants to do, we do them.”
Continue After The Break...

Achieving Sustainable Development Through Affordable Housing

 The damning 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria obviously has had negative impact on the nation’s economy. In the years ahead, there must be deliberate and sustainable plan to bridge the yawning gap and get the citizenry composed for economic activity to thrive in the country. This can be effectively done through implementation of robust housing policies. GEORGE OKOJIE writes

For over 25 years, managers of the housing sub-sector of the Nigerian economy drawn from both the public and private sectors have tinkered with the idea of providing mass housing for the people. But the profligacy of successive government officials deployed to handle the sector and obvious failure of leadership has made many Nigerians to dismiss the new National Housing Policy as another effort in futility.

This loss of confidence arose from the fact that the government has failed to realise that housing does not only satisfy the basic human need for shelter, but it is a key component of economic growth and development and forms a substantial part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of most developed countries.

LEADERSHIP Sunday investigations showed that, though Nigeria succeeded in churning out good policies in the past, its blueprints hinged on three main pillars of guaranteeing well-being and productivity of the people, provision of single digit mortgage and fostering sustainable and enabling environment for the private sector to operate optimally was never implemented.

Implementing The National Housing Policy

Interestingly, at the inauguration of a committee constituted by the Federal Government to produce a National Housing Policy for the country in 1985, the then Minister of Works and Housing had said, “Government plans to take positive steps to ensure that the less privileged members of the society, including the wandering psychotics who require confinement and rehabilitation, have access to dwelling houses.”

In developing the blueprint that was to drive that template, the technocrats were said to have paid attention to the need for the provision of mass housing in a decent, safe and healthy environment with infrastructure provided at an affordable cost. of ordinary Nigerians with shanties and slum conurbations becoming more pronounced in urban centres of the country.

In the face of UN-Habitat estimate of housing deficit of 17 million units in Nigeria, experts and stakeholders in the nation’s built environment are of the view that there is urgent need to think outside the box for a viable operational model for the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme to succeed in Nigeria.

According to Okika Ekwem, a United States-based realtor, the federal government needs to come in, look at what is happening in other civilised world and test-run the model. He advocated the operational model of America’s Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) popularly known as Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae, he said is the US equivalent of Nigeria’s NHF, saying the huge success of the mortgage industry in America is traceable to its efficient operations mainly as a secondary mortgage institution.

He said “In the civilised world, there is a secondary market for real estate financing where commercial banks or individual brokerage banks lend money to people and thereafter sell the securitised certificate to the secondary market and come back again to lend to individuals”. The realtor added that the US government usually chatters bigger financial houses that buy off these securitised mortgage notes from the banks and are a bit insulated such that even where people fail to pay, they are assured.

On the way forward, the Head of Dipo Fakorede and Co., a firm of estate surveyors and valuers, Mr Dipo Fakorede noted that though the nation has one of the best housing policies in the world, it lacks the ability to implement the policies. In his words, “Government needs to play its role with the establishment of primary mortgage institutions. What they do abroad is that once you are 18 and working, you have access to mortgage, which you pay over a number of years. But here, you have to get land, pay contractors and build, that is the why property value continues to rise.

“The primary mortgage institutions must be in place for people to have access to mortgage facilities. Government must also build houses; they have good housing policy, which they never implement. Private sector operators are doing their best but we are all out to make money.

“As a businessman, when I develop houses, I will want someone who will buy, give me my money and I move on. But even in the private sector, the problem there is finance. Housing is capital intensive; you need a lot of money when developing houses. So, the government must come in to peg the interest rate and then people in the private sector will be fully involved. And the government should be sincere in terms of providing the enabling environment.

Harmonising All The Parameters

“All the parameters for developing housing must be brought down in a friendly way. Cost of land is expensive, especially in Lagos. If you want to build terrace houses, for instance, you will need a land of about 2, 000 square metres and you should automatically have about N250 million if you wish to acquire that. Then, you talk about approval and then you may be spending about N800 million at the end. So, how many years will it take you to recover your money if you are doing a mortgage arrangement?

“Government must come in, create enabling environment and give a chunk part of the budget to the housing sector so that there will be mass housing development and prices of houses will go down. Let them also make provision for workers to get mortgages for 15, 20 or 30 years depending on their ages, which is the way it is done”.

Legislating Lending Rates

The views of Mr Adeniji Adele, a frontline estate surveyor and valuer is not different from that previously expressed, except that he  told LEADERSHIP Sunday that  there is need to do something about the country’s faulty legislation which is one of the things frustrating effective funding of housing projects. Adeniji pointed out that the way out is for the legislative arm of the government to put in place an Act to reduce lending rate by mortgage and banking institutions.

“This will further reduce the risks associated with lending funds on the basis of real estate “Mortgages”. In addition to the above, the legislatures should legislate to ensure the following:  Single digit rate for mortgage for a term of between 15 to 25 years; Use of property pledged as security for loan should be well appraised; and due diligence should be carried out on the borrowers.

“Title to the property should be checked. Bureaucracy in getting government approval or consent on land matters should be reduced; if government could embark on provision of infrastructures and facilities, it will spur the development of even more remote areas even if only for use of tourists.

“As incentive to private developers, Government should negotiate with them on the provision of infrastructures so private developers will not be speculative on the provision of infrastructure and uncertainty over the conditions of infrastructure by both parties”. The lack of a robust mortgage financing system in Nigeria has made the rate of home ownership in Nigeria one of the lowest in Africa.

Nigeria’s Poor Home Ownership

Apparently disappointed about the housing provision in the country, the Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Mr. GimbaYa’uKumo, said recently at a public forum that the country’s homeownership rate of about 25 percent is much lower than contemporary countries.

He juxtaposed the nation’s abysmal homeownership rate with countries such as Singapore 90 percent, Indonesia 84 percent, Kenya 73 percent, Benin Republic 63 percent, South Africa 56 percent and Libya 41 percent while that of the United States is put at 70 percent. He explained that mortgage credits account for less than five percent of total lending portfolio of Nigerian banks and just about 13.5 percent of mortgage lending by primary mortgage banks (PMBs).

The mortgage finance expert said, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) supervision report 2008 reveals that 90 percent of housing developments in Nigeria are self-financed through personal savings for periods upwards of 10 years. He pointed out that housing not only satisfies the basic human need for shelter, but it is a key component of economic growth and development.

“The supply gap for low and middle income groups is huge, reaching a crisis level in some cities in the country, which is heightened by the rapid urbanisation of the population.” He noted that the World Bank has predicted that the housing problem in Nigeria will become even more acute, resulting in a housing crisis by 2020 if adequate measures are not taken,” he added.

World Bank’s N48bn Facility

Ya’uKumo said in line with its mandate, the bank has been mobilising domestic and foreign funds into the housing finance sub-sector, while also collecting and managing the NHF in accordance with the NHF Act for the purpose of providing affordable homes to Nigerians. He said the $300 million, about (N48 billion) liquidity facility from World Bank for the overhauling of the nation’s mortgage sector will soon be ready to enhance sustainable housing finance in the country.

President Goodluck Jonathan has continually said his government is taking steps to address the housing needs of Nigerians, saying the on-going restructuring of the Federal Mortgage Bank is geared towards making home ownership easy in the country.

According to him, “The Federal Mortgage Bank is being restructured to meet the demands of the sector, especially mass housing.  In addition, the Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Institute is being set up with the aim of revitalising the nation’s mortgage financing institution with a $300 million liquidity support from the Word Bank. “It is expected that this programme, which will be launched this year, will enhance the level of financing available for mortgages across the country”.

Way forward

President Jonathan has emphasized that government places high premium on provision of affordable housing for Nigerians adding that accommodation is one of the strategic imperative for guaranteeing the wellbeing and productivity of every person. It is believed that for Nigeria to achieve sustainable housing for all, a new thinking cap need to be put on by those saddled with the responsibility of implementing the national housing policy.

Also, the legislature, banks, private developers, primary mortgage institutions, civil society organisations, private sector players and concerned Nigerians need to rise to the occasion to ensure that every Nigeria can afford as well as well find the modalities for accessing loans to build their homes easy and palatable. If all Nigerians find it easy to secure housing loans and own their homes, experts believe the country will be in a better stead to achieve the United Nations Million Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the Vision 20-2020 much faster.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Doctor Loses N5m To Land Agents

Police at Lion Building Division, Campbell Street, Lagos Island, southwest Nigeria, have arrested a suspected land speculator, Amusa Suleiman Ishola, 32, for allegedly conniving with three others now at large to obtain N5 million from a medical doctor, Njoku Obiageli, under false pretence.

He was alleged to have tricked the woman along with his accomplices to part with her money on the pretence of selling a parcel of land to her at  Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, a claim he knew to be false.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lagos advises residents against patronising unregistered estate agents

There are many unscrupulous estate agents in Lagos.
The Lagos State Government on Thursday urged residents to desist from patronising unregistered estate agents while looking for decent accommodation.
Jimoh Ajao, the Special Adviser on Housing to Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, told newsmen that such agents could run away with their money.
Mr. Ajao also urged residents to patronise only estate agents that registered with the Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Department (LASRETRAD). He advised agents and property service providers to register with the department in compliance with the stipulated laws.
The governor’s aide said that the agency was set up to check activities of unscrupulous estate agents who had bastardised the noble profession. He said that the major concern of the state government was the need to provide affordable housing for the increasing population.
“This informed the various strategic steps taken by the government to check activities of quacks in the real estate sector of the state,” he said.
Mr. Ajao said that the agency would enhance the state’s position as an investment destination and further create a sustainable climate for doing business.

Man arrested in Nigeria over attempted real estate Crime in Western Australia

A man has been arrested in Nigeria over the attempted fraudulent sale of a home in Western Australia, in what is believed to be the first arrest of its kind by Australian authorities.
WA Police worked with Consumer Protection and a real estate agent over eight months to intercept the sale of the house in Falcon, south of Perth.

The owners of the home are based in South Africa.
Ntuen Promise Ekenmini, 27, was apprehended by Nigerian authorities yesterday when he went to collect documents using a fake drivers licence in the name of the real home owner.
Police allege the attempted fraud began when a man contacted the property manager of a Mandurah real estate agency on 17 December, 2012, pretending to be the owner of a home being managed by the agency and requesting documents relating to the rented property.

He allegedly used an email address in the name of one of the real owners, who is a resident of Johannesburg, and requested all future correspondence be forwarded to it.
On 18 January, 2013 the agency received a request to sell the property and a sales agreement with false signatures was returned to the agent, together with copies of fake passports of the two owners, a husband and wife, as well as a forged document purporting to be from the Australian High Commission in Pretoria confirming their identity.

The agent became suspicious and reported the attempted fraud to authorities.
In conjunction with the police, the agency engaged with the alleged offender - at one stage instructions were given to deposit $AU785,000 into a bank account in South East Asia.
Detective Senior Sergeant Dom Blackshaw says police are investigating whether the crime is linked to previous cases of real estate fraud in the state.
He says six of the seven cases involved owners who live in South Africa, have investment properties in Perth which are rented, and have had their identities stolen.
"There's every chance that these people are the same offenders; however, we are working with the police in Nigeria to identify whether that is the case," he said.
"The offenders are very tenacious; they haven't given up. This has been eight months that they've been contacting the agent.
"They've been changing email addresses, telephone numbers, even to the point they've been threatening the agent when things have been delayed."
"We need to be constantly vigilant. We can't afford to rest now and think 'ok we've caught someone, that's the end of it'. There will be further attacks from further offenders in those countries and we need to be very mindful of that."
Mr Ekenmini is expected to be charged with fraud and theft.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Nigeria: Lest We Be Surprised Again

President Goodluck Jonathan's latest remarks about the activities of the deadly Boko Haram sect were probably made in all sincerity but they merit a comment if only because he inadvertently admitted lapses and unpreparedness by government with respect to its most important function,
i.e. securing the lives of Nigerians and their property. Speaking at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday night during the breaking of Ramadan fast with Muslim members of the diplomatic community, Jonathan said the activities of the Boko Haram sect and its tactics of terror took the nation by surprise.

The president regretted that attacks by the sect resulted in the death of thousands of innocent Nigerians, including security operatives. He however said that with the Federal Government's commitment and with prayers by Nigerians, the insurgency has been significantly contained.

Only recently, Defence Headquarters in Abuja announced that the special military operation mounted in three North Eastern States since May has reduced the level of insurgent-perpetrated violence in the region by ninety percent. For once, this was a claim by Nigeria's security agencies that appears to accord with realities on the ground.

While many Nigerians initially doubted that the military-led security operations in the North East and other states could ever contain the murderous sect's activities, the surge ordered by the president since May when he clamped a state of emergency on the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe has evidently worked. So successful has the operation been that the military-led Joint Task Force, which up until May was seen by local residents as a bigger threat to their lives than the insurgents, has undergone a complete reversal of fortunes in its public image.

Where once community leaders were calling for its withdrawal, hundreds of youth now formed vigilante groups, nicknamed themselves "Civilian JTF" and proceeded to help JTF in manning check points and in combing neighbourhoods to fish out insurgents.
Hence the president is right when he says the Federal Government's actions have ameliorated the situation, even though he also acknowledged Nigerians' prayers. Inevitably, as the violence dies down, hopefully for good, the national soul-searching will commence as to exactly what happened during Boko Haram's reign of terror, how and why we got there as well as what we must do to consolidate on recent gains and, most importantly, prevent a future recurrence.

President Jonathan unwittingly kicked off this debate in his recent remarks to the diplomatic community when he said the nation [read: the Federal Government] was taken by surprise when the insurgency exploded first in the North East and later spread to many other Northern states.

Why was the government "taken by surprise"? To begin with, the manner in which the security agencies, most notably the police, handled the case of captured sect leaders should have been a warning to the authorities that fleeing sect members could be bent of revenge. Even before the events of 2009, Boko Haram sect's activities in the previous decade should have attracted high interest from the security agencies, especially those ones of them that are in charge of intelligence gathering and risk assessment.

Nor was Boko Haram the first time ever that a misguided quasi-religious group took up arms against the Nigerian state. The Maitatsine group serially unleashed mayhem in Kano, Bulunkutu, Tudun Wadan Kaduna, Yola, Gombe and then Funtua between 1980 and 1993. Any security agency worth its salt should have known that such a thing could happen again.

Of course, the socio-economic milieu that enabled deranged clerics to recruit thousands of misguided urban youths for such operations still obtains in Nigeria; in fact it has decidedly worsened since the 1980s with a larger reservoir of unemployed youth and wider economic disparities. As such, all that is needed at any one time is for some event or person to ignite the powder keg. At the beginning of the Boko Haram palaver, the Federal Government was much distracted by many of its leading members' belief that the insurgency was but a reaction by Northern power brokers at their loss of presidential power.

It took a long and precious time before leaders of the Jonathan administration came round to realise that this was not the case, that is if they ever did. Nor do the Nigerian security agencies have any good excuse because in the 52 years since this country's independence, the security sector has gobbled up a larger proportion of the national budget than most other sectors. That it was caught napping when a ragtag sect went to war suggested that the sector did not utilise all those monies properly.

The most important thing now is to prevent these sad events from ever occurring again, not only in the North but in any part of Nigeria. It is clear now that security agencies, in particular the State Security Service [SSS] must pay special attention to odd quasi-religious groups and closely study their trouble- making potential. The police too must do something to enhance its capability to handle internal insurgency in order to prevent the military from taking over its duties as happened in this case.

As for the military, which should never have been involved in this campaign if only the police were trained to handle it, the impact of these operations on its professionalism will only be felt in years to come.
When all is said and done however, it is a steady improvement in the economic fortunes of Nigerian citizens, effective poverty alleviation measures, widening of educational opportunities, effective skills acquisition programs, reduction in wealth gap, just implementation of social programs, banishing the cancer that is corruption as well as credible political leadership that will together erode the pool of disenchanted and misguided youths available to undertake any crank project that anyone will dream up. All these must be done as much as possible to prevent ourselves from being taken by surprise again.

Ogun and the quest to boost food production

Ogun State Government is truly shifting focus to agriculture in the belief that it would be good for all Nigerians to cultivate the land for products that would serve local and international consumption.
That is why the government has expressed displeasure at the colossal waste of scarce resource on the importation of food that the country has capacity to produce, a development that has impacted negatively on the nation’s economy as it fuels domestic inflation, displaces the local production and creates rising unemployment in the nation.

Governor Ibikunle Amosun, while declaring open this year’s National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development meeting with the theme: “From Farm to Table: Developing Agricultural Value Chain to create Wealth and Jobs and Assure National Food Security”, held in Abeokuta, Ogun State, had lamented that “it is rather unfortunate that despite the abundant agricultural potentials and the comparative advantage that the nation as the production of many crops, Nigeria still imports over N1.3trillion worth of wheat, rice, sugar and fish every year. Our country, Nigeria, is said to be the world largest importer of United States’ hard, red and white winter wheat and second largest importer of rice’’, the Governor said.

He added that for Nigeria to become an agricultural industrialised economy, agriculture should be seen as a viable business venture and very well funded.

Therefore, due to the effort of the government to give more attention to agriculture, a Model Farm Estate aimed at resuscitating the farm settlement concept of the defunct Western Region of Nigeria was established at Owowo near Abeokuta, to encourage youth involvement in sustainable agriculture.
This is just one of the many projects the government is embarking on, and in the nearest future, the state will become the country’s food basket.

•Deborah Odulate, Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, Abeokuta.

Burutu Community Petitions Jonathan, Transport Minister

The people of Burutu community in Delta State have petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, over alleged sale of their land occupied by the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) in Burutu.
The community, in a letter written by its lawyers, M.E. Ukusare and Associates, entitled: ‘Burutu Community Lands/Property Occupied by Nigeria Port Authority in Burutu, Delta State’ and made available to THISDAY in Lagos yesterday alleged that the Chief Executive Officer of Akewa Global Services Limited, Chief Kenneth Donye, was laying claims to a vast array of Burutu community property, which he (Donye) alleged had been bought by his company from the federal government

The people said there was never a time their property was sold to the government, group or any individual and wondered why Donye, who was among the people who challenged the move by the Federal Ministry of Transport to auction the property currently occupied by over 1,000 indigenes and non- indigenes of Burutu, should now turned around to be the buyer.

The letter stated that Donye had, through a letter to chairman of Burutu community and copied to the President, Burutu Youth Forum in the state, intimated them that his company had bought a list of 21 units of property at the Burutu Port Yard, from the federal government.
While questioning the legality of the purported sale of the property, the community however, implored President Jonathan and the Minister of Transport to “call Donye to order, as it is impossible for an individual to lay claims to ownership of more than three quarter of the entire Burutu community.
And also, review the purported sale of the community’s property occupied by the NPA with a view to ascertaining the true state of affairs of the said property vis-a-vis Donye’s alleged ownership claims.”
The letter said the community wanted the government to “pay the Burutu community people the accumulated ground rent due to them since 1968 when the last rent was paid by the United Africa Company Nigeria (UACN) at the rate of twenty pounds or its equivalent in naira from 1968 till date.
“And return all lands/property occupied by the NPA in Burutu to the members/people of Burutu community in the event that the Federal Government of Nigeria no longer need same for public use.”

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nigeria: Fashola Orders Sealed Kalu's House Re-Opened

FORMER Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, and Lagos State government, Tuesday, disagreed over the reason for the sealing of Kalu's property in Park View Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Meantime, Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola has ordered that the house be reopened.
While Kalu's aide linked the sealing of the house to the criticism of Fashola by Kalu over the deportation of 72 residents of Lagos, who are of South East origin, the Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Media, Hakeem Bello, said he believed the action has nothing to do with the alleged deportation of Igbos from Lagos.

According to him; "Fashola's administration has no time for trivial matters."
Emeka Obasi reacts
Reacting to the sealing of the Park View house of Kalu, his Special Adviser, Media, Emeka Obasi, said it was done as a revenge for the criticism of Kalu, who is the Coordinator of Njiko Igbo, a group fighting the cause of the South East.

Obasi said the property had been there for several years and that sealing it after just two weeks of his boss criticsing Fashola over the deportation issue was an indication that there was more to it.
Obasi said Kalu was not the only Igbo to have suffered such fate in Lagos State "after the wicked and ungodly act of deporting legitimate residents of Lagos State."

He added, "Why is it that it is now that the property is being sealed, barely two weeks after my boss disagreed with the action of Fashola? We maintain our stand and this will not distract us from fighting for the people.

"The action of the Lagos State Government remains unconstitutional because every citizen of Nigeria has a right to live in any part of the country. Fashola should remember that the Igbo community constitutes about 35 per cent of registered voters in Lagos State and they should be treated like they matter in the scheme of things."

Hakeem Bello comments
The Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Media, Hakeem Bello, when contacted, said he could not give any details on the development as he had not been briefed on the matter.
He, however, said that if the owner of the building had committed an infraction against any of the state laws, he or she should be ready to be sanctioned when the long arms of the law finally caught up with the him or her.
" I don't think it has anything to do with the alleged deportation of Igbos from Lagos. Fashola's administration has no time for trivial matters," he said.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Carlson Rezidor to open Park Inn by Radisson Abuja Kaura, Nigeria in 2015

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group will unveil the 150-room Park Inn by Radisson Abuja Kaura in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2015. The full service mid-market property will be located in the Kaura district of Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. The property will feature a restaurant and bar, a club lounge, a rooftop bar, a business lounge, 6,561 sq ft of meeting and conference facilities, a gym and wellness spa, and an outdoor swimming pool, a release stated.

Wolfgang M Neumann, President and CEO, Rezidor, said, “Nigeria is a focus country for our business development. The country’s economy is one of the fastest growing worldwide, and we see considerable growth potential for our core brands Park Inn by Radisson and Radisson Blu. With this signing we bring our portfolio to eight hotels in operation and under development in Nigeria."

Fitch Downgrades 13 Distressed Classes of JPMCC 2008-C2 on Dos Lagos Sale

Fitch Ratings has downgraded 13 and affirmed nine classes of J.P. Morgan Chase Commercial Mortgage Securities Trust, series 2008-C2. A detailed list of rating actions follows at the end of this release.
The downgrades reflect the expected losses after the sale of the largest asset in the pool, The Shops at Dos Lagos (12.4% of the pool).

The Shops at Dos Lagos, a $124 million real estate owned (REO) retail property, was sold July 23, 2013 for $30 million. Including advances, appraisal subordinate entitlement reductions (ASERs), fees and other unpaid amounts of approximately $41 million, the loan loss severity will be approximately 109% on the current loan balance.

Realized losses to the trust will reflect the full principal balance of $124 million. Losses are expected to be incurred as of the Aug. 12, 2013 distribution date. Classes C through Q, currently rated 'Csf' or 'Dsf' by Fitch, will be affected. These classes rated 'Csf' are downgraded to 'Dsf'.

The additional amount of $11.4 million will cause permanent shortfalls to the transaction. These amounts were part of the total $27 million ASER (advances not made due to an appraisal reduction). Therefore, the sales proceeds of $30 million will be used to pay fees, expenses, advances and $16 million of the total $27 million in ASER amounts. The remaining $11.4 million in ASER amounts will not be repaid, while the most senior bondholders with an interest shortfall will recover $16 million in interest. No additional interest is expected to be taken from the trust due to the disposition of the Dos Lagos asset.

The property is a 345,847 square foot (sf) lifestyle/entertainment retail center built in 2006/2007; therefore, the property was not fully stabilized, with no operating history. The loan transferred to special servicing in October 2008 for monetary default after the borrower indicated the property was significantly affected by the downturn in the economy. The special servicer foreclosed on the property and, along with a third party management team, worked to stabilize occupancy. The last reported occupancy was 72.5%.

The property represented phase one of a two-phase, 534 acre development that was significantly pressured by economic conditions in 2009. The development included a residential subsection, a golf course, hotel, office building, a senior housing development and a 135 acre wildlife preserve. The retail center was 95% occupied at issuance; however, occupancy steadily declined to a low of 68% in early 2012. The borrower cited slower-than-anticipated growth in the residential neighborhood for the decline in performance, as tenant sales, rental rates and ultimately occupancy declined.

The super senior classes' Rating Outlooks are revised to Negative due to the erosion in credit enhancement and continued risk of both principal and interest losses as the pool becomes more concentrated. After the sale of The Shops at Dos Lagos, eight loans (18.4%), including three REOs (1.8%) remain in the pool. Downgrades are possible if expected losses increase or if these classes are affected by repeated interest shortfalls.

Fitch downgrades the following classes and revises Recovery Estimates as indicated:
--$116.5 million class AM to 'CCsf' from 'CCCsf'; RE 50% from 100%;
--$14.6 million class C to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%;
--$10.2 million class D to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%;
--$10.2 million class E to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%;
--$13.1 million class F to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%;
--$11.7 million class G to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%;
--$16 million class H to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%;
--$14.6 million class J to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%;
--$14.6 million class K to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%.
--$8.7 million class L to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%;
--$4.4 million class M to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%;
--$5.8 million class N to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%;
--$4.4 million class P to 'Dsf' from 'Csf'; RE 0%;

The following classes are affirmed and Rating Outlooks and Recovery Estimates revised as indicated:
--$71.2 million class A-3 at 'Asf'; Outlook Negative from Stable;
--$45.6 million class A-SB at 'Asf'; Outlook Negative from Stable;
--$354.6 million class A-4 at 'Asf'; Outlook Negative from Stable;
--$145 million class A-4FL at 'Asf'; Outlook Negative from Stable;
--$60.4 million class A-1A at 'Asf'; Outlook Negative from Stable;
--$61.2 million class AJ at 'Csf'; RE 0% from 40%;
--$14.6 million class B at 'Csf'; RE 0%;
--$2.9 million class Q at 'Dsf'; RE 0%;
--$1.7 million class T at 'Dsf'; RE 0%.

Classes A-1 and A-2 have paid in full. Class X was previously withdrawn.
Additional information on Fitch's criteria for analyzing U.S. CMBS transactions is available in the Dec. 18, 2012 report, 'U.S. Fixed-Rate Multiborrower CMBS Surveillance and Re-REMIC Criteria', which is available at '' under the following headers:

Structured Finance >> CMBS >> Criteria Reports
Additional information is available at ''.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

--'Global Structured Finance Rating Criteria' (May 24, 2013);
--'U.S. Fixed-Rate Multiborrower CMBS Surveillance and Re-REMIC Criteria' (Dec. 18, 2012).
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
Global Structured Finance Rating Criteria
U.S. Fixed-Rate Multiborrower CMBS Surveillance and Re-REMIC Criteria