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FIRE RAZES FOAM FACTORY IN LAGOS

Published in Environment
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 11:18

 

Samson Folarin.

Foam manufacturing company, SaraFoam Nigeria Limited, which is located in the Kirikiri area of Lagos State, has been gutted by fire.

It was learnt that the fire, which started around 1pm, destroyed property and materials worth millions of naira.

Our correspondent learnt that the fire would have spread to The Sun Publishing Limited, which was beside the company, but for the intervention of firemen from the Lagos State Fire Service.

It is the second time in less than three months that fire would gut the company.

The Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe, said three fire trucks were combating the flame with support from firemen from Julius Berger.

In a related development, two fighting tenants set each other’s houses on fire at Awoyaya Elefo in the Lekki area of the state.

The PUNCH learnt that the men, who cut each other with machetes before resorting to arson, sustained injuries and were rushed to a hospital in the area.

Three houses were said to have been burnt down by the fire before firemen from the Lekki Phase II of the state fire service responded.

Fadipe, who also confirmed the incident, warned residents to be more careful as the dry season approaches.

“Everybody needs to be careful because we are gradually approaching the dry season when fire disasters are rampant. We must learn to switch off all electrical appliances not in use and be careful with the way we handle petrol. When there is any fire emergency, people must learn to call the fire service as soon as possible before the situation gets out of hand,” he added.

SOURCE: NEWSPAPER PUNCH.

WINNERS' CHAPELS REPAIRS 23-KILOMETER ROAD IN OGUN

Published in Infrastructure
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 11:09

Ramon Oladimeji

The Living Faith Church, otherwise known as Winners’ Chapel, said it had completed the rehabilitation of the 23-kilometre Atan-Lusada-Agbara highway in the Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State.

The church, in a statement on Tuesday by the Chairman of its Media and Editorial Board, Dr. Sheriff Folarin, said the road had, for years, been giving motorists a traumatic experience.

Folarin however said the rehabilitation would bring relief to the users as well as residents, noting that the gesture was part of the church commitment to assisting the government in providing succour for Nigerians in the face of mounting social challenges in the country.

The statement quoted the founder of the church, Bishop David Oyedepo, as decrying “the high rate of failing roads in the country,” pledging continuous support for the government.

He also charged organisations and groups in the country “to consider the peoples’ plight and to, in the spirit of corporate social responsibility, render meaningful assistance to the government in fixing roads and other collapsed social amenities.”

The church said it decided to embark on a total and permanent rehabilitation of the Atan-Lusada-Agbara road after it had on several occasions fixed certain worst spots, while waiting for the government to provide a permanent solution.

The statement read in part, “Aside from the Atan-Lusada-Agbara road, major rehabilitation is also being done from Anglican Bus Stop to Idi Pako linking to AIT, which is a 2-kiolmetre-long road; the abandoned, descending portion to Toll Gate of the newly-constructed Local Council-Toll Gate Expressway; Coca-Cola-Ilobu road, off Oju Ore; the totally collapsed Joju-Alisiba road (off Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway); and the Sifor-Estate road; the portion from Sango roundabout to Joju roundabout (right to the edge of the Sango-Idiroko expressway), which had not been motorable for close to a year, will be paved with interlocks to absorb shocks and the damaging effects of heavy duty vehicles and not fail anymore.”

SOURCE:PUNCH NEWSPAPER.

FIRMS TO BUILD N20BN SOLAR PLANT IN KADUNA

Published in Infrastructure
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 10:40

 

Akinpelu Dada with agency report

Access Infra Africa has signed a joint development agreement with Nigerian Quaint Global Energy Solutions for a $100m (N20bn) solar power plant of 50 megawatt capacity that is expected to provide electricity for over 600,000 homes in northern parts, the partners said on Tuesday.

The nation has chronic power shortage due to a dilapidated transmission grid and natural gas constraints, while the new generating and distribution companies are still struggling to be profitable since the 2012 privatisation of the sector.

Power output has risen since President Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated at the end of May, fluctuating at just under 4,000MW per day over the last few weeks versus just over 3,000MW under the former administration, according to transmission data. But the level is still far below the country’s needs.

Businesses rely heavily on expensive diesel generators, while the average Nigerian must put up with days of blackouts.

The ABIBA plant in Kaduna State, according to a report by Reuters, on Tuesday, is expected to be built in the next two years though the partners must still negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission before it can seek financing from banks.

Access Infra Africa, a renewable power developer with a presence in 17 African countries, will contribute the bulk of the 30 per cent equity put down for the project.

Quaint has also received a $1.3m grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency for ABIBA.

If successful, the solar farm would be the first in the country and largest such plant on the continent outside South Africa.

Other renewable energy projects became stuck in the PPA phase under the previous administration and stalled due to an unprofitable tariff, but the NERC announced a new feed-in tariff at the start of November for renewable projects up to 30MW.

Buhari has made increasing power generation a priority as better access to power will be key to his goal of diversifying the economy.

SOURCE:PUNCH NEWSPAPER.

 

THE POWER OF NEGOTIATION REAL ESTASTE

Published in Real Estate
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 10:27

 

Abiodun Doherty

There are several things that we do all the time without trying to understand and master them. One of the regular and unconscious practices that we engage in is negotiation. Every time you bargain with a product seller or a service provider or you present a proposal to others with the aim of gaining support and approval you are actually negotiating. Children and parents do it all the time. The only missing link is that we often do it without a plan and a strategy. However, if you intend to engage in real estate negotiation you ought to understand the basic principles.

First, to negotiate successfully you need to approach it with the right attitude. You must be convinced that practically everything is negotiable. Every party that comes to the negotiating table has primary concerns and interests that are often hidden. Your ability to identify them and look for creative ways of addressing those concerns may be all that you need to create a win-win situation for both of you.

Second, the more information and time that you have, the stronger you are when it comes to negotiation. The party that is under the greatest time pressure is the weakest in any negotiation. You do not need to become a private investigator in order to be a good negotiator. If you ask the right questions and keep your eyes open for clues you will possess more information about the transaction.

One of the simple questions to try to ask and get an answer to is the reason why a seller wants to sell his or her property. The need for money to meet specific deadlines is often a good indication of a time pressure. For instance, a property that is under mortgage and is in danger of foreclosure will definitely put the owner under pressure to sell .The closer to the deadline for foreclosure the more willing and flexible the seller will become.

This time pressure also sometimes applies to buyers as well. Many indecisive buyers are motivated to make a decision when they discover that they are about to be edged out of a deal by someone else. They suddenly become more willing to pay more. While this may be true at times there are also times when some unscrupulous agents have adopted that as a tactic in order to hasten the decision cycle.

Third, know what you want but be very flexible. Of course, if you do not know what you want you are not even in the game to begin with and if you are inflexible you are likely to offend the other party and lose the transaction entirely. Your aim should be to come up with a mutually beneficial solution that would be attractive to the seller and will also address your own concerns as well.

Fourth, understand and apply simple negotiating tactics suitable to each situation. Remember when you went to the market with your mother and she was negotiating to buy an item from a seller? After pushing for several discounts at a stage she would turn round and walk away from the transaction. More often than not the seller would call her back and strike a good deal with her. In real estate, if you are willing to walk away from a transaction you have more power.

In addition, you can never tell upfront how low a seller can go and how high a buyer will go in real estate transactions. Of course, there is a general tipping point at which a seller will rather not sell than go beyond and there is a price that could scare possible buyers away. The wisdom of knowing where to draw the line in a transaction is essential. Do not over stretch your luck to the point of appearing to insult the intelligence of the seller but at the same time there is no law against making a request. The worst case is a ‘No’ and then you can step up your offer.

This is one of the reasons why the vise technique is so effective in negotiation. The vise technique is a tactic used to get a better deal in negotiation by simply asking the other side to do a little better than whatever they have offered you and then wait for their response. Most people will feel obliged to do something by increasing their offer. The request should be followed by a pause or silence. It has been used by several power negotiators successfully.

This is a skill that is worth acquiring and developing due to its multiple applications to situations outside of real estate investment. But there is no gainsaying the fact that you will benefit financially from understanding how to apply this skill to your real estate investment venture.

 SOURCE: PUNCH NEWSPAPER.

EBEANO: THE FIRE AND THE FUTURE OF OUR LOCAL RETAILERS

Published in Environment
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 09:12

It is no longer headline news that the popular Prince Ebeano supermarket one of the most patronized chain retail malls that happens to be Made in Nigeria, went up in flames in Lekki Phase 1 last week, precisely at about 4pm on the 3rd of November 2015. For me it was a very sad occurrence not only because I take a keen interest in Commercial/Retail and Hospitality Projects but also because this is one of our own. In recent time, we have been served by Shoprite; a popular retail brand from South Africa. Clearly they have done enough of their homework to not only infiltrate the Nigerian market but also sit firmly as the sole foreign retail chain to have a foot print in almost all major cities in the Country.

Like me, some interested Nigerians may be awaiting the report stating the cause of fire but without much ado one can assume the fire was caused either by negligence of staff, carelessness of a customer, poor service infrastructure, lack of or inadequate firefighting systems, amongst others.

The growth of commercial and hospitality developments in Lagos within the past 8 years has been phenomenal; from the towering hoteliers along the Ozumba corridor all the way to Oniru. To the office complexes & commercial Developments in most of inner Victoria Island; further to the conspicuous mixed-used high-rise developments, luxury short/long stay apartments, all along Kingsway road and Ikoyi. These developments have been encouraged by the new Lagos state Model City master plan for the Development of Victoria Island-Ikoyi Corridor, this master plan is said to run from 2013-2033 but was only finalized around February this year. (For details on the master plan, click here )

Haven known this, one needs to ask, as a Nigerian beyond insurance what kind of measures need to be put in place in order to pro-actively protect these huge investments. There has been no report from witnesses that any fire alarm went off, nor any sprinklers triggered on, neither were the available extinguishers sufficient or positioned appropriately to help tackle the fire. Another very disappointing yet not too surprising issue was the snail speed approach the fire fighters and the police took to tackling this fire. Regardless of the dwindling infrastructure by a gradually weakening government of Lagos state, one would think that the Lagosians, the service men, Nigerians would be on their feet immediately they hear it is one of our indigenous retail malls being gutted with fire. Alas! what do we do? - we sit on our behinds as usual, until it is too late.

Finally, regardless of all these known issues it is imperative that effort is made for an independent investigation to be carried out in order to determine the cause of fire. It will also be helpful if Nigerians begin to develop a culture of value for Nigerian lives and indigenous businesses, because they have the capacity to change lives for our people.

Subsequently, for future projects here are my few suggestions

  1. Legislation – Stricter conditions for executing a commercial, retail, industrial or hospitality project in Lagos or any other state for that matter. It is important for these laws, if available, be implemented as these buildings can have serious adverse effect on the Environment.
  2. Environmental Impact Assessment - An Environmental Impact Assessment must be carried out by Developers and enforced by the authority as a condition to the development.
  3. Approval Drawings - It is common for planning authorities to be interested in Architectural & Structural Drawings for residences but for Commercial buildings the Service Drawings (Mechanical, Electrical & specialized installations) have to be demanded as well without prejudice to any party.
  4. Automatic Fire Suppression systems - Planning authorities must insist on Automatic fire suppression systems which control and extinguish fires without human intervention. An example I have had personal experience with is the FM-200 fire suppression system which we used on a few sites in RCCG CAMP and it has been tested and proven.
  5. Routine fire drills - This should be carried out in such retail buildings just as it is in many commercial banks today, so as to monitor fire response time; this can save lives in time of actual fire
  6. Culture Change - The rather archaic "belief" that "God wont let it happen!" or "It is not my portion" would only get any business man into debt, if he fails to have the necessary precautions in his building, whether commercial or private.
  7. Precautions - This could include,
  • Insurance - The varying form of Life insurance and the varying forms of Fire & consequential loss insurance, Accident & workmen compensation and finally burglary.
  • Safety & Security - Installing safety measures from project design and planning.

Let us hope we now have a new set of ministers who will ensure they do everything within their power to resolve many of these issues so that our economy can be fairly diversified and positioned for the future

 

Written by,

 

Gregg Ihenyen - Gregg, is an Architect and Entrepreneur with over 7 years industry wide experience spanning Real Estate and Architecture; with a keen focus on hospitality & commercial Developments. He is an executive director atLavaar Atelier Company ltd, he lives and works in Lekki Metropolis. 

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Estate developers are lamenting plowing huge investments into the nation’s real estate sector following recent lull in the sector, especially now that they think the hotel and tourism sector is posting better returns on investments. SYLVA EMEKA-OKEREKE reports.

As investors and other economic players step-up actions to tap the potential from different sectors of the global economy, to stave-off the growing recessions, experts in the nation’s real estate sector have been making frantic efforts to go back to tourism industry, which hitherto was one of government’s revenue earners, regretting the neglect of the all-important sector.

Describing tourism development as a viable option to property business, experts believes that the present economic reality amid oil glut, has necessitated the dire needs for diversification into other sectors of the economy, including tourism industry.

According to some investment and property development experts who spoke with National Mirror, the sector suffered a setback due to the inability of earlier investors to recoup their investments as a result of non-patronage of the tourism business. However, some analysts have noted with assurance that the situation is a sharp deviation from the past, going by the current tourism index of over 65 percent return on investments.

An estate consultant, Mr Michael Asupo, pointed out the tourism sector was not only viable, but capable of generating huge revenue to state and federal governments as could be seen in some developed and developing countries of the world.

For instance, some African countries like Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Egypt, South Africa and Tanzania have been making huge revenues from the sector. Asupo, who cited Tinapa and Ogudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River state, as big tourism potential capable of generating enough revenue to the state, said the lacklustre attitude of the past and present administrations in the state has affected the good intention of the immediate past governor of the state.

According to him, tourism potential of the country is higher that its real estate potential, saying in the past, cash was not rolling in the sector, assuring that once again, the sector would bounce back, considering the global oil.

He said: “As long as the economy continues to improve, the fortune of the tourism sector will continue to improve, compare to real estate industry” The industry player projected that the sector would witness impressive growth in the next three years, noting that tourism industry engages in hosting services such as hotels, bars, cruise lines, cattle ranching as well as other related businesses.

Asupo explained that the influx of foreigners as well as local and foreign tourists into the country, was capable of boosting the nation’s economy of the country, noting that the Gross Domestic Products, GDP, of some African and western countries come from tourism industry.

He therefore urged estate developers to channel their funds in developing the tourism industry, stressing that in due time, the sector would play major roles in the revenue generation of the country as well as the GDP.

Similarly, Funso Adeyemi, a tourism analyst, said the industry remained a multi-billion dollar business, stressing that it is the most economically-active of the sector’s developments, especially in accommodation and food services.

He said that prior to the discovery of oil as a major source of revenue Nigeria was primarily an agrarian economy with little or no investments in tourism industry. The oil boom of 1980s, he said, brought high demands for tourism industry, especially hotel businesses, as Nigerian military government was isolated from international community. This was coupled with the influx of foreign nationals into the country.

However, he said, the country’s return to democracy in 1999 saw a resurgence in the sector, as improved economic and political stabilities in business environment, which encouraged foreign and local investments in oil and gas as well as telecommunications, thus playing down on tourism development.

Tourism business, especially hotel investment dates back to 1942, with the unveiling of Lagos Airport Hotel, followed by other hotels like Bristol Hotel in and Federal Palace hotel. Consequently, more hotels opened across the country in 1960s and 1970s, including Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, Eko Holiday Inn and Festac 77 Hotel as well as Gateway Hotels in Abeokuta. Others include Ijebu-Ode and Ota, which were developed by government in the absence of capacity in private sector.

Adeyemi said, there was an influx of regional and international chains of hotels as Nigerian hotel industry was not significantly affected by the 2008 and 2009 global economic crisis Regional and internationally branded hotels continued to open in the country, especially in Lagos state, Abuja and Port Harcourt among other areas. Tourism investments cut across other sectors and such potential cannot be underestimated, considering serious population growth in the country.

For instance, overcrowding as well as overpopulation of in some academic institutions in the country is capable of encouraging governments as well as the private investors to build and run hostels. Presently, a lot of Nigerian banks are involved developing hostels, hotels among other tourism potential in some institutions of higher learning. Some of the banks, including Spring Bank, Zenith Bank among others have stakes in some of the private and public institutions in the country.

This is not applicable to Universities alone, but also Federal and state Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Technical Colleges as well as Teacher Training Institutions. Experts have maintained that no matter the location of the institutions, whether rural or urban areas, they can still generate a lot of traffic, especially during academic session.

The rush for such investments makes the rent higher than most urban areas with the same square meter area of rooms. According to experts, the returns on investment is high as students pay yearly, thus generating lump sums of money to build more or add to the existing ones, which can easily be rented out again.

‘’Your contract with students is usually on yearly basis, which terminates at the end of every session. You are paid before new tenants come in, unless the present occupier can afford to pay new rates, which are usually added almost every year.

The student sojourn is always short and transitory, which makes it easy for you to increase your rent, after he must have packed out’’, an estate developer stated. For potential investors, there are two options through which they can participate, one is by going into partnership arrangement with more tertiary institutions to obtain land under leasehold agreement, build and manage the hostel on agreed terms. Also, to speculate for land around tertiary institutions, obtain necessary titles and approvals from government agencies, build and then manage the hostel.

The hostel does not have to be located within the school premises, but should at least be in the town or close to the school, hence the closer it is, the higher the rate. One can start with small rooms, about 4-5 rooms on a half plot of land and grow steadily to build bigger ones in the institutions scattered all over the nation. Banks; mortgage and other financial institutions can collaborate in this regard.

A reliable investment, hotels produce constant and predictable returns. They represent an alternative to investing in traditional real estate markets, such as the residential and tertiary sectors. The hospitality industry is built on solid fundamentals and is able to weather economic storms.

Revenues and profits have risen steadily over the past decade. The sector is particularly dynamic in France, which remains the world’s premier tourist destination with a 6 percent increase in visitor numbers in 2012. As wider hospitality industry continues to face a slow recovery, savvy hotel owners and managers are looking inwards to ensure better technology to run their facilities.

While some hotel organisations have used the present economic downturn to adequately plan for the future through improved technology and staff investment, many others are shedding costs.

Progressive hospitality organisations have currently heeded the warning signs that dynamic markets and changing industry requirements are part of the new ‘normal,’ and have taken time to invest in the right training to be better placed to effectively conduct business in the market place.

In consideration of how investment in hospitality technology can support business growth, it is important to look at what operational efficiencies can bring, including improvements in staff activities and morale to generate more revenues.

As hotel industry continues to move towards a more dynamic and interconnected environment, it is vital that correct technology infrastructure is in place to meet this challenges. Importantly, hoteliers also need to realize that the hospitality industry is constantly changing and a lack of upto- date technology and older strategies will not always be applicable to new, unique situations.

For instance, with the increase in choice of distribution channels for a hotel, it is no longer appropriate to expect a Reservation or Revenue Manager to handle a multitude of manual Extranets to ensure revenue management and pricing integrity.

 

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL MIRROR

The Fulcrum

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 09:50

The Fulcrum

 

 

 

   “I think it really is tragic, spending the better part of your foundational years within one institution of    

    learning or another and still being unable to make anything of all the knowledge you have acquired.   

    Sadly, most of us realize rather too late, the colossal waste constituted by our misplaced priorities to

    our time, effort and money. There has got to be more to education than just cramming facts and

    memorizing definitions, more to succeeding than just coming out in the top ten. I daresay this truth   

    mostly comes only when the young ‘soon-to-be-graduate’, in a reflective mood, becomes

    apprehensive about ‘life after school’.”

Deborah Adefolalu

 

The Nigerian educational system is flawed. This very conclusion, which is a painfully obvious fact, still finds itself being the topic of heated debates and the “commonplace rhetoric” within and around institutions of learning. From a tender age, we are taught to focus more on grades and awards and less on understanding underlying principles and applying them to real life situations. And although there have been considerable and for the most part, slow and steady improvements in standards and infrastructure, the fact still remains that we have a long way to go. This brings me to the main point I want to establish.

 

“Even if we find somewhere to push the blame, it won’t make the problem go away.”

 

If the school you attended (or if you went to school at all) mattered, then every graduate of Harvard (or any other Ivy League university) should be on the Forbes list of the world’s most wealthy people. This is clearly not the case and although my intent is not to excuse the underperformance of the government, I am diverting our attention to the immaterial aspects of the cause of our education related problems. Whether or not the government is doing as much as it should is not the (main) problem. The issue lies in the fact that Nigeria is full of people who know so much and do so little. And so it is not the problem of not having knowledge, but not applying (or not being able to apply) it. The value system we are born into worships accomplishments, but not accomplishments in the real sense of the word, but accolades and titles. It’s all about the certificate. Everything ends when you get to wear the invisible ‘I-went-to-school’ badge. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “Let me just get this certificate. A ‘two-two’ is enough for me. I’m going into business”, I would give Dangote a run for his money.  It’s this mindset that chokes the creative energy in a lot of people.

 

 

People will tell you to hang in there. “Work hard at school”, they’ll say, “You will graduate soon and then you’ll be free.” Don’t believe them, it’s a trap!

Anonymous

When I stumbled across the above statement about a year ago, I got scared. I began to re-evaluate the three years I had spent in school. I had dropped a lot of things I really loved doing just to ‘make more time for schoolwork’. I used to tutor Mathematics, play the keyboard and was just getting a hang of oil painting. Ironically, my grades kept dropping despite the drastic measures I had taken. A classmate remarked one day, “Debbie, your life is like a triangle. School, home and Church.” I had felt proud then, thinking it meant I was extremely focused, only later to realize how much time I had lost and how I had missed out on a lot of experiences and opportunities. There is nothing more frightening than being only a few months to your graduation and not having the slightest idea what you will do with your life afterward. 

 

Akan Nelson, who is a recent graduate from the University of Rochester NY, wrote about this in his blog (akannelson.com) sometime last month. 

 

College was all about performance. It should have been about intellectual growth and skill building, but it’s hard to focus on serious learning when 50% of your final grade rests on one exam. I spent too much of my college career proving my intelligence. The tests and final papers were all proofs. I chose classes according to my strengths, and too many times I ignored classes I was interested in. I wrote learnt material, I got fantastic grades — it felt great.

 

But in my quiet moments I knew I was spending too much time being smart and not enough time getting smarter. I was working with a performance mindset when I should have been working with a growth mindset.

 

Although this shows that this is not a problem particular to Nigerian higher institutions alone, I am narrowing my scope to familiar territory.  

 

What is ‘The Fulcrum’?

 

Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

 

More than ever, as I work in the real world, where success isn’t as clearly defined as meeting a final paper deadline or getting a 91 on a test, the importance of maintaining a growth mindset has become increasingly apparent.

 

In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented

Akan Nelson

 

I believe the fulcrum is the place of Understanding - the element of balance in educating professionals in the built environment and just about any other field there is. Between knowledge and application lies understanding. Knowing a thing should not be top on our priority list. Akan Nelson calls it the Growth Mindset, as against the Performance Mindset. You see, people don’t get that if you take time to grasp concepts, search out their applications in real life situations, their limitations and unexplored potentials, it would be absolutely impossible for you to fail. This is hard work because most times, the nature of your course load will not afford you the time to read as wide. But if you can stretch yourself just a little bit, you will find the time to squeeze in enough out-of-the-box information to give you ‘edge’. This principle helped me develop interest in a lot of courses even when they became quite tiresome. Sometimes at the library I would get up and browse the shelves or check out websites on my phone (my all-time favourites are Encyclopedia Britannica, eHow, WikiHow, About.com and Wikipedia). “But what if you learn all those things and none of it comes out in the exam?” Like I said, you are not doing this to do better on a test; you are doing it to attach a greater sense of value to yourself by increasing your depth.

 

I am currently on my 6month SIWES training (Industrial Training or IT) and last week, we started work on one of the roundabouts here in Niger State. The heavy rain of months past had caused the monument, consisting of sheet metal (flat metal plates) and tubular steel (‘poles’) to form a stack of books, to come crashing down. The renovation involves working with structural steel and reinforced. Funny, I couldn’t remember any of the formulas from Structures class but I was able to follow the construction process. I was able to ask the right questions and relate with site workers even though I have hardly any experience with steelwork construction. Also, applying lessons from Building Components and Methods (the most ‘hardcore’ undergraduate Architecture course), I was able to interpret the section and detail drawings, and even pointed out a mistake to the carpenter in charge of formwork! I was glad that all those days we had to read ‘Chudley’ and ‘Barry’ and learn detail drawings (and specifications) by heart paid off in the long run.  

 

As a final point, I believe that whether or not you want to practice architecture, you should still give school your best shot. I have classmates who actually never wanted to study architecture. Some fell in love with it along the line but many others are just itching to finally be done with school. I was talking to one of my classmates last semester and I was stunned when he told me he did not like architecture AT ALL; he had always wanted to study Biochemistry. I was shocked because not only does he work extremely hard; he is also amongst the top ten performers in a class of over a hundred!  I was far too astonished to ask how he ended up in architecture in the first place. Moral of the story? The most important thing is building a reputation of excellence. If you can commit to distinction in a field that you either are not interested in, or one that stretches every mental and physical fibre in your body, then there would be not a single iota doubt that you can thrive and succeed under any circumstance.

 

                                                                                  Fortune Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos

NIGERIAN Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has succeeded in moving the Court of Appeal, Lagos, to set aside a ruling of a Lagos High Court, which held that the corporation’s suit on the lingering crisis on the ownership of an imposing complex, popularly known as Fortune Towers, situated at No. 27/29 Adeyemo Alakija Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, was an abuse of court process.

 

The corporation, being the provisional liquidator of Fortune International Bank Plc (in liquidation) on appeal, named Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and Cowrie Business Solutions Limited as respondents.
Following the Court of Appeal’s ruling, the matter was sent back to the trial court to be heard on its merit. However, The Guardian confirmed that talks are on-going reach an amicable out-of court settlement of the dispute. But as at press time, the next hearing date could not be ascertained.

Fortune International Bank Plc (FIB Plc), a licensed commercial bank, maintained a banking relationship with first respondent, Union Bank of Nigeria and in the course of the relationship, the latter granted overdraft facilities to FIB Plc, which were later secured with a deed of legal mortgage. Fortune Towers, which originally belonged to FIB Plc, was pledged as collateral in the legal mortgage.

On 16th January 2006, the Central Bank of Nigeria revoked the banking license of FIB Plc for failing to meet up with the minimum capital requirement of N25billion for commercial banks. Consequently, an Interim
Management Committee (IMC) was appointed provisional liquidator to control and manage its affairs. The appellant later commenced winding-up proceedings against FIB Plc at the Federal High, Lagos.

Meanwhile, when the IMC took over the affairs of FIB Plc, it discovered that there were disputes between the first respondent and FIB Plc, which led to two separate suits at the Federal High Court, Lagos and the High Court of Lagos State.

In suit No. FHC/L/CS/1321/2005 filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, FIB Plc, claimed against Union Bank, declaratory and injunctive reliefs.

FIB Plc complained about unilateral deduction from its account as legal charges for the perfection of the legal mortgage with Union Bank, refusal to set off treasury bill it deposited as clearing collateral, the charge of illegal and arbitrary interest; and that, in the circumstances, the mortgage held by Union Bank over Fortune Towers could not be foreclosed.

FIB Plc filed an application seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining Union Bank from appointing a receiver under the legal mortgage or selling or attempting to sell Fortune Towers or taking benefit of the mortgage.

 

In its ruling, the trial court refused the application and held that FIB Plc had no legal right in the property. Dissatisfied, FIB Plc appealed to the Court of Appeal.

However, while the suit at the Federal High Court was pending, thugs and hoodlums invaded Fortune Towers. Consequently, FIB Plc instituted another action at the High Court of Lagos State against UBN Property Co. Ltd and the Union Bank as first and second defendants claiming declaration that the invasion and entering of the property, as well as issuing and circulating of notices to all tenants by the defendants were unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, null and void. The claimant also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining them from invading, entering, issuing or circulating notices or otherwise dealing with the property and general damages. Similarly, FIB Plc also filed at the High Court an application for an order of injunction.

The first defendant and first respondent filed their own application praying for the same order against the bank.

In its ruling, the trial court dismissed the FIB Plc’s application but granted the defendants’ application. Dissatisfied with the ruling, FIB Plc, appealed to the Court of Appeal and applied for an order of stay of execution of the order of the High Court, but the court refused the application.

In the suit at the High Court, Cowrie Business Solutions Limited applied to be joined as a party. The reasons it gave were that the Federal High Court had made an order winding up FIB and appointed NDIC as provisional liquidator and that Union Bank had sold and handed over possession of Fortune Towers to it. The application was granted.

Meanwhile, Union Bank sent a letter to all the tenants in Fortune Towers informing them of the sale and hand over of possession of the property to Cowrie pursuant to the power of sale in its deed of legal mortgage with FIB Plc. They subsequently issued a notice to quit and deliver up possession to FIB Plc/NDIC.
At that point, NDIC instituted an action at the Federal High Court, seeking a declaration that the disposition of Fortune Towers by means of sale or assignment by Union Bank to Cowrie when the property formed part the assets of FIB Plc in liquidation whilst a winding up proceedings was pending and a provisional liquidator appointed was ineffective, illegal, unlawful, null and void.

It also sought an order setting aside the purported disposition and the notice to quit; and an order of injunction restraining the respondents from disturbing the appellant in the performance of its statutory duties as provisional liquidator of FIB Plc as it relates to the management and exercise of all possessory rights over the property until the bank was fully and finally wound up by order of court. The appellant also filed an application for interlocutory injunction.
Following the service of the process, the Union Bank filed a statement of defence while Cowrie Solutions filed a statement of defence and counter-claim.

Also, Union Bank then filed an application by which it sought an order dismissing the appellant’s suit on the ground that same constituted an abuse of court process.

According to the bank, the grounds for the application were that the ownership, management and control rights in respect of Fortune Towers were subject matter of existing litigations between the parties and their privies in suits No. FHC/L/CS/1321/2005 and No. ID/1098/2008 and that the decisions of both the Federal High Court and High Court of Lagos State in the suits declared that FIB Plc no longer had further interest in the property and the decisions of the courts in the suits, which held that FIB Plc had no further interest in the property, the appellant being a privy of FIB Plc lacked the necessary locus and competence to institute the action and in the process sought to re-litigate the same matter in respect of the same subject matter.

 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

Evicted Ayobo allottees get fresh land allocation

Published in Environment
Monday, 09 November 2015 09:14

RELIEVE may have come the way of more than 2, 000 Ayobo allottees, under Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos, whose homes were demolished between July and August 2007, by the immediate past administration in Lagos, the state government has commenced the process of reallocating the victims.

The victims’ homes had been demolished over the pretext that the location where the property was situated is government acquisition landed property.
After going through series of checks, close to 700 of those affected have been shorted for reallocation. However, as at last week, about 200 out of the number had received the new allocation paper from the government.

In a letter signed by the Executive Secretary, Land Use Allocation Committee (LUAC), Messrs Olukayode Ogunnubi, titled “Allocation of State Land at Ayobo Residential Scheme (Extension), dated September 21, 2015, 90 days was giving for the beneficiaries to meet certain conditions.

According to the allocation letters, allottees are advised to obtain clearance from the Executive Secretary before lodgment of the certified cheques to the bank, (one of the conditions to meet), failing of which the allocation/payment may be nullified.
Besides, it was also forbidden for any allottees to alienate or sublet the plot in part or wholly without prior written consent of the state governor and that payment must be made within 90 days of the notice of the letter.

While most allottees are still in joyous mood over the development, relations and dependants of those that are no longer alive are at lost on what to do in view of the condition that allottee was not allowed to alienate or sublet the plot in part or wholly without prior written consent of the state governor.

Their fears stem from the reality that civil service is encumbered with a lot of bottlenecks. “To see the governor is not all that easy. Besides, correspondence may take many months, if not years to reach the Governor. This is part of our fears”, said relatives of dead allottees who spoke with The Guardian, on condition of anonymity.

 

Some also want government to either reduce the money to be paid “in view of colossal loss we had incurred when our houses was demolished”, pleaded some allottees.
The detail payment is as follows: Amount ground rent N7,200; Normal Premium, N180,000; Stamp Duty/administrative charge, N25,000; Registration/Conveyance fees N25,000, making it “Total 1st year land charges, N237,200!

However, major concern of the allottees was a particular proviso in the letter, paragraph 4, that states thus: “This allocation is subject to other implied and expressed conditions for allocation of State Land under the State Law Cap. 130 Laws of Lagos State, and the Land Use Decree No.6 of 1978”.

To those who are not educated, this clause is of concern because it is possible for the officials to hide under the provision and do the unexpected.

But contrary to their fears, officials are of the view that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode “is too compassionate” to create hindrance to the smooth possession of the allocated land.
“In the first instance, if the Governor doesn’t have the interest of people at heart, he would not approve the allocation letter.

“People should realize that the issue on ground is official matter with legal implication that could not be done otherwise. However, there is nothing to fear as very thing was done in good faith”, said an official in Land Bureau.

It would be recalled that over 2,000 residents, mainly landlords of Orisumbare phase two Ishefun in Ayobo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), after the demolition exercise, have been pleading with government to rescind its decision, but it was to no avail, despite their claims and presentation of genuine legal documentations. The then Special Adviser in the office of Governor Babatunde Fashola, Mr. Sunny Ajose, told them that, “as far as the state government was concerned, the area was still unoccupied”.

 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

FG commits to sustaining lands, housing policies

Published in Events
Monday, 09 November 2015 09:14

 

 

AS the nation is facing massive urban growth that could exacerbate existing problems of congestion, pollution, and traffic safety, the Federal Government has pledged to grow the housing sector and harness its potential for sustainable national development.

said his administration remains committed to sustaining key lands, housing and urban development policies, such as the Housing Policy, National Urban Development Policy, National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan, Vision 20:2020, National Building Code, and the ongoing Medium Term Successor Plan (2016-2020).

In a keynote address he delivered last week at the 46th Annual Conference and General Meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) held in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Making cities in Nigeria functional, the President stated that, to complement these efforts, government has activated the Roadmap for Nigeria’s Housing and Urban Development Sector while producing a National Land Policy to induce far-reaching reforms in land administration and management in the country.

 

“I am delighted to be informed that, in preparing these strategic documents, members of your esteemed Institute served creditably as the core consultants and resource persons,” said Buhari, adding that effective design, provision, maintenance and improvement of public spaces on a continuous basis in all facets of physical planning and development activities.

He added: “In addition to the human management skills, we need the technology and sustainable flow of finance to fully exploit the city’s transformative potential to spur the informal sector, infrastructure, productivity, mobility, and gainful employment for our citizens. Here, the issues of urban governance, urban transportation, planning for the socially disadvantaged, parking facilities and open spaces become critical.

“Human settlements can only facilitate the growth and development of the various aspect of our national life if it is inclusive and properly managed. In Nigeria, the emergence of cities that will serve as engine of growth and development will depend to a large extent on the collaboration and partnership between the public and the private sectors of the economy, as well as broad-based consultation, such professional town planners.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Interarchtiv is a Media House with a Focus on Architecture, the built Environment, Innovative solutions to complex urban problems in our society and environmental issues. We are interested in how architecture & the environment influences the lives of people & how people in turn interact with the former. We believe our environment shapens our perspective, efficiency, creativity & general well being. 

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