One major area that posed so much challenge to Nigeria’s development is the area of housing and property development. Virtually every city in Nigeria is faced with the challenge of affordable accommodation for its inhabitants, particularly those in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja which could be said to be the worst hit.
According to the world bank estimates, Nigeria needs to produce about 720, 000 housing units annually for the next 20 years, so as to be able to close the gap in her housing demand and supply.
The Minister of State for Works, Housing andUrban Development, Grace Ekpiwhre in a press statement recently posited that only 19.2 household in Nigeria live in their own homes.
In some highly populated cities like Lagos, statistical data have revealed that 65 percent of the 15 million residents of the city live in rented apartments, and spend over 50 per cent of their monthly earnings on house rent.
The same could also be said of the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja), Port Harcourt, Enugu as well as other major cities across the country where income earners spend a very higher percentage of their income on rent.
To make matters worse on the provision of affordable housing, land it self has become extremely difficult to acquire, and various land owners have tended to take advantage of the situation to keep prices at cut throat level, where as the average income earner, especially the junior public servants who depend on monthly salary can hardly acquire a plot of land, even if he had to save 50 percent of his monthly salary.
In all these, government, both at the federal, state, and local government have not really taken giant steps towards addressing the matter, even if it means granting loans for housing to workers enmass.
It is for these reasons that the efforts put up by President Umaru Yar’dua on the land reform agenda is most commendable because of some notable impediment it is viewed to address in respect to home ownership and access to land.
The land use act was promulgated as the law use decree in 1978 by the military government under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and is seen or viewed as a major obstacle to real estate development business.
Report citing the United Arab Emirate example quoted Abdul Kadiri of Ark Gold properties of advising Nigeria to go ahead – long for such reform for housing development, and such that can boast tourism.
According to him “The United Arab Emirate (UAE) is today world tourism destination, and this is simply because of changes it made in its land rules. In 2002, UAE liberalised its land rules, giving even foreigners freedom to acquire land and develop on same. Today, the story is what we see as Masdar City in Abu Dubai, Burji Dubai and Burj Al-Arab both in Dubai”.
It is true that much have been said about affordable houses and ownership of houses in the time past. The year 2009 is gone, and here we are in 2010, and the question still is the way forward to actualise this goal of addressing Nigerian’s housing deficit onward.
Government has so much part to play in this regard. Housing loans should be made available to public servants to enable them own and live in their own houses.
Apart from providing soft housing loans, government at various levels can as well acquire land and either build on the land and resell them to public servants, while the cost be deducted from their salaries over a period of a given time frame.
Private and over limited liability companies should also be encouraged to take the issue of housing for their workers very seriously through policies that will put them on focus for such important welfare matter.
At this point in time, the land reform becomes imperative because it is supposed to free land, not for the improvement of home ownership alone, but for other productive purposes like the agriculture, tourism and industries among others.
Nigeria is blessed with vast land and other resources, and if government will have the political will to implement the reforms and other solutions, only time will tell what we will achieve in a short while.
Farmer Cries Out Over Cattle Invasion
A farmer in Aluu Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr Nwo Nna, has cried out over cattle invasion of his farmland and crops.
Nna made this known in a chat with newsmen in Aluu recently.
He said that the most worrisome aspect of the development was the neglect by the herders of the Anti-Grazing Law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly.
The farmer who discribed such as vexatious and provocative, appealed for intervention by relevant agencies in order to secure their future.
“I got to my farm on Saturday morning only to see my vegetables, cassava, yam and the entire farm devastated by cows”, he said.
He expressed regrets that his farm, which was not at the road had experienced such attack for the second time.
The farmer noted that it would have been a different ball game, if he had met the herders in his farm.
“The saving grace was that I did not meet them. They should be called to order to avoid problems”, he said.
He also sought for urgent intervention of the Rivers State Government, Myyetti Allah and other relevant authorities to warn the herders to keep off people’s farms in the interest of peace.
The farmer further explained that it was becoming a regular practice for herders to parade their cows along the roads, and such cows stray into farm lands and destroy people’s means of livelihood.
While declaring that Rivers people are hospitable, the farmer warned stranger elements, who do not have respect for the laws of the land as well as terrorise other people’s means of livelihood, to take their lawlessness elsewhere.
Other farmers who also responded called for the establishment of a system that monitors the activities of herders.
According to them, it will enable those who take their cows into farms to be identified and adequately sanctioned in the event of any invasion by the cows.
This, they said will bring a lasting peace and as well serve as a deterrent to others.
By: King Onunwor
EFCC Blames Frauds In Banking Sector On Insiders
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission last Wednesday said most frauds in the banking sector were perpetrated by insider Information, Communication Technology employees.
Head, Cybercrime Section of the EFCC, Abbah Sambo, made the declaration at a national seminar on Banking and Allied Matters for judges in Abuja recently.
Sambo, who represented the EFCC Chairman, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, at the seminar, said that most banking sector frauds handled by the commission showed that bank employees aided the acts.
He also expressed regrets at the increasing rate of cybercrime in spite of efforts by the commission to tackle it.
Sambo observed that in years past, young people involved in cybercrime were not ICT savvy, but today, it was ICT graduates that are the champions in perpetrating the crime.
He attributed the increase in cybercrime to moral decadence and peer group influence.
“The rate at which young men are perpetrating cybercrime is seriously alarming.
“When we arrest these criminals, one major reason they give for going into the crime is peer influence.Their friends are into it and they want to run with guys that drive the best cars and have the best girls in town”, he said.
He hinted that most times when the criminals were arrested, a lot of assets on them, are registered in the names of their parents.
“Cars in the names of their mothers and houses in the names of their fathers. There is a fundamental issue relating to decay in moral coverage in the society,’’ he said.
Sambo said that the greatest challenge in fighting cybercrime was the knowledge gap, and noted that the criminals were getting more sophisticated.
According to him, the criminals had the ability to talk to one another seamlessly by sharing knowledge, unlike law enforcement agencies.
“A lot of the people trying to combat the crime in the field tend to lack the drive because they do not have adequate training,’’ he said.
He stressed the need for adequate sensitisation and engagement with youths, especially from secondary school level to let them know the ills of crime.
The two-day seminar was organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in collaboration with the National Judicial Institution.
SEC Frowns At Resurgence Of Ponzi Schemes
The Securities and Exchange Commission has frowned upon the resurgence of Ponzi schemes and illegal fund managers in the country’s financial sector.
The Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, made the observation of the development at an enlightenment workshop with the staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on in Abuja over the week.
Yuguda said that the unlawful schemes had continued to enjoy massive patronage of the populace and remained a source of concern for regulators in the financial sector.
According to him, the commission was poised to continue to apply measures and seek the cooperation of relevant stakeholders toward combating the activities of these Ponzi schemes.
He expressed regrets that the upsurge of the schemes had undermined the reputation of the financial markets and dampened investors’ confidence, among other things.
“SEC firmly believes that the country’s capital market can attain its potential if market operators and participants contribute their respective quotas to the growth”, he said.
He also explained that SEC was committed to always ensure and maintain an environment that was enabled by the appropriate regulatory framework, timely and affordable access to market.
“The commission is also committed to zero tolerance for infractions, heightened investor confidence and awareness, innovative product development and good governance practice”, he said
“There is the need to restore investor confidence and improve the participation of retail investors in the market.
He further pointed out that the demography of investors in the country’s capital market showed that the young population do not participate in the capital market, and only a few Nigerians invested in the capital market.
The situation, he said, created a huge challenge to the market growth and the commission and added that it was striving to change the narratives by instilling a fair, transparent and orderly market.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, represented by Mr Stephen Okon, Director Home Finance, urged investors to take advantage of the various initiatives in the market.
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