Sunday, December 9, 2012


When rich men die in Nigeria, is seems the controversy over their properties lingers for years after their death and sometimes for a lifetime. Whether or not they leave a will behind,in many instances makes no difference whatsover to who gets the proceeds of his wealth. We have heard the stories of prominent families where the children have publicly been at war with one another for many years after the deaths of their fathers. Recently a prominent Nigerian died leaving the family home to his wife in his will. It is reported that the older son has taken up residence there, saying that in their culture, the first male child will take over the fathers property. What then does this make the law? An ass?

The Minister for works has promised that from next year, all construction projects below N5 billion (approx $157m) will be handled by Nigerian contractors with the necessary capabilities! He said that this policy was designed by the Federal Government to help build local capacity and promote local content in the industry and rely less on expatriate companies. He said that over 80% of the of the capital budget of all tiers of government is expended on in the construction and engineering industry, which is dominated by foreign contractors and consequently creating a loss in income for the country. The policy he claims is aimed at redressing the imbalance. We sincerely hope so.

The Federal Government has approved the allocation of N2billion(approx $63m) for the construction of the official residence for the vice president in Abuja!  In 2009 N7.1 billion was allocated for the design and construction of an official residence for the then Vice President. We are not clear what has become of that residence. The new official residence is reported to be contracted to Julius Berger and must be completed in 20 months as the Vice President currently resides in the guest house meant for president’s visits! Also 2.2billion naira was approved to construct an additional banquet hall to host presidential ceremonies

Meanwhile, N1.5 billion was allocated for the development of a rail line and N1 billion for health care facilities! Reporters were told at a meeting that the N50 billion allocated overall for infrastructure development for the FCT was inadequate and further intervention funding would need to be found!?……

I had to visit some large estates along the Chevron Alpha beach area, which are still in the finishing stages of construction and still fairly inaccessible due to the untarred roads. What struck me about these estates that have been so widely marketed for years, is how poor the infrastructure and quality of construction is. The completed units have been empty for so long that they are already showing signs of decay due to the proximity to the ocean and the high salt content in the air. The developers are obviously having financial challenges as they are not getting the returns on these properties that they had projected for loan repayments. With so many properties lying empty it makes a mockery of the government policies to build more affordable homes for people

I got a call from a gentleman who wanted my thoughts on setting up an on-line interactive property site. Whilst I thought the call would be brief, he went into facts and figures, keeping me on the line for at least 20 minutes. I jokingly told him I would charge him consultancy fees, to which he spent a further two minutes laughing. I was certainly amused by his proposition, which is what kept me on the phone for so long, but what was clear to me was that he had not researched the property market well enough to realise that his proposal while having good intentions, may not work in the Nigerian property market, which in reality adheres to no regulations or law. I wish him luck anyway!

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