30 — Vanguard, TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2018 Why Ikoyi apartments are empty — Developer — Says vacant upper class property in Lekki,VI, Ikoyi risen by 72% By Kingsley Adegboye IF you think the reason for the visible empty residential apartments that cut across the length and breadth of Ikoyi, a highbrow neighbourhood and one of the most expensive residential abodes in Lagos, is due to effect of the current economic crunch in the country, it is not. Rather, the cause of the emptiness is as a result of poor finishing of the apartments coupled with the use of poor materials during construction. Making this revelation to Vanguard Homes & Property, the Managing Director, Sujimoto Construction Limited, a Lagosbased real estate development company reputed for high class property development, Mr. Sujibomi Ogundele, said: “You cannot offer a Toyota for the price of a Bentley. One might argue that both cars will eventually ply the same road. But the efficiency and prestige of a Bentley speaks for itself. Any sane person knows that. While many will consider this outrageous, it is indeed a stark reminder of the realities experienced in Nigeria’s real estate industry today. “If you are an avid property enthusiast, developer or an observer, you must have noticed the surge in the number of empty apartments in Ikoyi over the last few years. This disturbing phenomenon must have prompted the well-informed and educative research publication of economy watch, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, to point out that the number of vacant property in the upper class real estate neighbourhoods of Lekki, Victoria Island and Ikoyi has risen by 72 per cent over the last 18 months.” •Residential apartments in South Africa Ogundele who noted that he was at a meeting with the MD/ CEO of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, for the first time, said their conversation touched on the matter of surge in the number of empty apartments in Ikoyi, pointing out that the padded cost of construction is responsible for outrageous prices of apartments in Ikoyi. According to him, to avoid drawing hasty conclusions and to guide our investment choices, investors should only listen to industry experts and verifiable perspectives as seen in the FDC research, and avoid the bandwagon of those listening to jaundiced opinions. Sujimoto Construction boss who stated that apartments that should not cost more than N100 million, are costing investors N400 million to construct, arguing that owners of such property have no choice but to let out an apartment at N40 million, thereby transferring the padded cost of construction to tenants. “What is the difference between •Residential apartments in Lagos locally fried plantain chips sold in remote areas and its equivalent sold in urban areas? Have you ever wondered why a good meal prepared in Ijebu Ode would cost less than one sold in Lagos? “An estimated rent for an apartment in Ikoyi is about $80,000. The same apartment in Lekki would cost $30,000. What do you think makes the difference? It is value arising from quality and location put together. If location is a fundamental principle in real estate, how much more luxury real estate? A developer who compromises on the quality of materials, has no right to place an exorbitant price on his products (apartments). “Thus, the argument for supply exceeding demand, as far as empty apartments in Ikoyi go, is unfounded. Luxury apartments are in high demand. Poorly finished buildings with exorbitant prices constitute the pile of empty apartments constantly being referred to in Ikoyi. Consider this: Are developments such as Tango Towers and Ultimate Towers in Ikoyi, empty? “If such developments are not empty, imagine what would happen when the Lorenzo by Sujimoto with its high-end features such as state-of-the-art facilities, exceptional returns on investment and competitive pricing, is completed? “During my interview on CNBC Africa, I pointed out that luxury is not expensive, but it is the intention to deliver luxury that is expensive. While the cost of a nice three-bedroom apartment in Johannesburg would go for about $350,000, the same apartment in Ikoyi would cost one million US dollars. If the cost of construction materials is the same all over the world, the price of marble, granite, cement, tiles, kitchen, doors, paints etc, why is cost in Nigeria about 300 per cent higher? “With the plummet of oil price and downward trend of major economies across the world, individuals and organisations no longer have loose money to throw around. And with the current downsizing by companies, prospective tenants demand full value for their hard-earned money. “Nigerian developers must realise that times have changed. The ‘quick fix, quick gain’ syndrome has ended. Real estate developers who fail to understand that the current investors and real estate enthusiasts are upbeat about quality and finishing after having seen same from their travels around the world, will soon fade away,'' Ogundele said. Litigation: Court awards N82.7million against oil company By Abdulwahab JUSTICE Letam Nyordee of High Court of Rivers State, has awarded the sum of N82.7million against Total Exploration & Production Nig. Limited, TEPNL, as compensation for a claimant, Mr. Ken Ojiri, whose property was directly affected by the company’s gas pipeline and the mandatory setback. In the suit filed by Ojiri against the oil company, he claimed that his parcel of land measuring 13.642 plots covered with a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) located at Rukpokwu in Port Harcourt, was unlawfully entered into by Total Exploration Nig. Ltd, without his permission. According to him, he bought the said parcel of land for the purpose of establishing an oil service station and other businesses in January 2011 for N106,413,840 million. Already, TEPNL, has filed an appeal over the judgment of the trial court, praying the court for a stay of action pending the determination of the appeal. The claimant, however, argued that in July 2011, the company with its surveyors entered, “delineated a right of way and mounted survey beacons on the land without any form of notice,” claiming that the land had been jointly acquired by the Federal Government of Nigeria and Government of Rivers State for them to construct a high pressure gas pipeline, the Northern Option Pipeline, NOPL. Ojiri submitted that there was no acquisition as neither the state nor the federal government revoked his right of occupancy over the land till date, claiming further that a year after the acquisition, TEPNL offered him the sum of N1.5 million as the compensation for only 2.9584 plots of land and surface rights, even though the presence of the gas pipeline condemned the entire land. He said that the controversies surrounding issue of compensation continued while the company mobilised Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, its contractor, to forcefully enter the land and proceed with the construction of the high pressure gas pipeline with the aid of armed security men, which made him to file a suit No. PHC/1711/2012 against the company praying among other things that the court declare that the Defendant being a private limited liability company, “has no right to compulsorily acquire, enter or embark on any form of activity pursuant to the Oil Pipeline License No. 1489 on any part of the claimant’s land measuring 13.642 plots and situate at Rukpokwu in Port Harcourt and covered by a Deed of Assignment dated 26th January, 2011 without the payment of sum of N140,900,000.00 as compensation to the claimant for the land as assessed and contained in the Professional Report dated 16th July, 2012 and N67,158.00 for surface right.” Besides, he prayed the court to declare that the claimant having purchased his land for business purpose is also entitled to compensation for loss of profit and expenses as a result of the defendant’s interference with the claimant’s land.
Vanguard, TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2018—31 Martin Luther King Jr and the legacy of a permanent influence WEDNESDAY 4th April this year marks 50 years down to the very day, when African-American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was felled by an assassin’s bullet in Memphis, Tennessee. The year was 1968. He was visiting the notoriously racist southern state to support striking sanitation workers. It is one of the great ironies of history that a man who had dedicated his entire life to fighting social injustice strictly through nonviolent peaceful means was himself killed in such a violent manner. Many people do not realise that he was only 39 when his life’s work was ended. Many saw it coming. His house had once been bombed, with his wife and children barely able to escape. A deranged woman once plunged a butcher’s knife into his chest, missing his heart by a hair’s breadth. The FBI under the demoniac Edgar Hoover had hounded him relentlessly. He had a premonition of his own death. At a church service the night before, he left his last testament in his famous Mountaintop Speech: “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. THE Nigerians who cross the Sahara on their way to Europe were exploited by all kinds of people: in Nigeria in Benin by the agent, in Sahara, on the way to Agadez, by Bedouins and Berbers who extorted money from them. In Libya, they were sold as slaves usually because they could not pay the asking price which had doubled since they left Benin or for any capricious reason by the racketeers. Many thousands die in the Mediterranean Sea while crossing Italy or Greece. When rescued; they sought asylum. Many ended up in immigrant camps, with little food and water. Some escaped or are helped to escape for a fee to get to Europe, the Promised Land. Those who did regard their ordeal as a success. Some soon settled down, marry, work; send money home to parents, build houses, in Benin and elsewhere, etc. All these economic migrant adventurers claim that the reason for leaving was there were no opportunities in Nigeria for them to work. There is some evidence to support this: for example, 6 million Nigerian were refused university places in five years. Nigeria has massive graduate unemployment even among the few who go to university. There is no viable scheme for skill acquisition and no political will to engage the unemployed beyond slogans. Frustrations make them fall into the hands of racketeers – African and European, which make them prey to the recruiter (huntsmen) and racketeers. We in effect have a self-perpetuating myth because the inadequacy of Government, business, and family to respond at all levels. The upshot is the inability to manage ambition, even when these ambitious are irresponsible and unrealistic. Europe’s hunger for cheap labour, cheap sex, stories which Europeans tell back home about opportunities in Nigeria/African encourage the traffic; expatriate salaries in Africa compared to local salaries merely exacerbate a bad situation. Some feel that if Europeans can earn such huge salaries in Africa, why should Africans not have such differential pay in Europe? Even legitimate services – an expatriate doctor or engineer – earns well above his Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will; and He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you; but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land….so I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…” All hell broke loose following the news of his assassination. Black youths set fire to shops, warehouses and buildings. Sporadic violence broke out in Washington DC, Chicago, New York City, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Baltimore and other cities, with some 45 people died, over 2,500 wounded and some 15,000 arrests were made by law-enforcement agents. President Lyndon Johnson, himself a progressive reformer, was at his wit’s end. Robert Kennedy, a presidential candidate and younger brother of the assassinated John F. Kennedy, made an impassioned speech that seemed to have calmed Victor, CNN, Libya and slavery (2) Nigerian counterpart in Nigeria. When the Nigerian doctor or engineer works in Europe the Nigeria has no such luck: in fact, his pay, some claim, is usually less. Victor was sold as a slave, rescued in Libya, deported to Nigeria. CNN traced him back to Benin where his story originally began and thus informing CNN’s story of how the trade is conducted. The CNN does not tell us how or by whom Victor was rescued. When slaves are sold it is usually for life but Victor is able to escape. Large swarth of Southern Sudan is occupied by Nigerians – at last count – over 1.5 million – usually people on their way to Mecca who failed to do so. There are Nigerians in almost all the countries in Africa. But they are not slaves. Long before the CNN exposé, Nigerian women have been recruited and trafficked, mainly by people from East European countries – Serbia, Montenegro, Chek, Slovakia, and Russia. Others are Italian, Dutch traffickers who use a different route – He had, he claimed, returned to poverty which was worse than slavery the women fly into these countries and join an elaborate network of prostitution, menial labour during which they pay off their recruiters, sometimes with promises that the Nigerians arrange for their sisters, and relatives and friends as new fodder for the system. Hundreds are enterprising, work hard, pay off their debts, marry locally, and send money home. Benin is full of houses built by women who live overseas. Back to Victor: he is vocal in captivity – and returns to Nigeria. If CNN can find him, so can many other organizations. What has happened to Victor and other returnees in Nigeria? Our security service presumably has debriefed them. If so how come no arrest of the traffickers in Benin and elsewhere despite the boast of Edo State Attorney General. There are Nigerian’s who are enamored to NGOs. Why is there not one trying to help returnees? Government response has so far been short of any coherent policy and woefully the waves: “For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust…against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my own family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort….to go beyond these rather difficult times. My favourite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” Barely two months later, on 5 June 1968, was Robert Kennedy mortally MLK often said that a man has not begun to live until he has found a life-purpose big enough to die for wounded by a Palestinian fanatic named Sirhan Sirhan. Martin Luther King Jr was born into a privileged middle class family on 15 January 1929. His father was a Southern Baptist Minister in Atlanta, Georgia. MLK attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, graduating at the rather young age of 18. He went for graduate work at Boston University, where he earned a doctorate in Systematic Theology. After graduation, as fate would have it, he began his pastorate at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He was barely 25. Like most Southern cities, Montgomery was mired in Jim Crow racism. The young pastor, barely in his twenties, was caught up in mass boycott of public buses by black people protesting discrimination. On December 1 1955, a seamstress by the name of Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the “coloured section” of a public bus. Her subsequent arrest provoked a mass demonstration by the black community in Montgomery. A movement was born, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The people looked for leadership and they found it in the frail shoulders of this newly arrived young pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. The rest, as they say, is history. Martin Luther King Jr. did not seek fame. Rather, it was fame that sought him. He had a dream and a calling. His dream was to liberate his longsuffering people from racial oppression. His calling was to be the servant of his people. MLK often said that a man has not begun to live until he has found a life-purpose big enough to die for. His campaigns centred on desegregation, voting rights, fair wages and access to education and health. His high watermark was the famous March on Washington in 1963, which culminated with his famous “I have a Dream” speech; one of the greatest in the annals of political rhetoric. MLK became a leader of world stature. In October 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. In 1965 he led the marches from Selma to Montgomery. In 1966 the movement turned its attention farther north, to Chicago. Their focus was on segregated housing. The SCLC became a nationwide movement mobilising African- Americans and all men and women of good conscience in the fight for social justice and human dignity in the United States of America. When MLK turned his attention to the injustice of the Vietnam War, it seemed to the Establishment that he inadequate. An old adage is don’t give fish to a person: rather teach him how to fish. If a CNN reporter can identify the traffickers in Nigeria, so can our security forces – why not persecute and jail them for their activities? The usual panacea of job training, counseling, etc. should be employed in Nigeria for Victor and his ilk. What is the ministry of Nigeria Foreign Affairs doing in Libya? We always had a robust security service system in Libya and Niger and Chad? What happened? Is there no Consular Service in Libya? However, we should ask the Bleeding Hearts of the United States and Europe, who broke Libya? The traffickers started operating fully, after the West removed the most effective Government in Libya since 1966. They orchestrated the destruction of Gadhafi without replacing him with an effective Government – a feat they repeated in Egypt and Iraq and Iran. Western interests in these areas are different and opposed to the progressive interests of the people of the area. The West must own the vessel they broke in Libya in as much the same way as they must own that broken in Egypt and the rest of the Maghreb. Why does Libya want slaves? Don’t they have enough workers? The CNN does not tell us this because it would explain why a widespread practice of two or three auctions is held daily in Libya. Victor wants to be a designer but there are technical colleges in Nigeria – why didn’t he go there? What was his qualification which made him unable to get a job? Many of the returnees have claimed that they saved N1.5 million which they spent on the Libyan adventure. According to CNN, there is international complicity in the trafficking of slaves. The arrival of these economic migrants is one of the feedstock for the far right movement and the isolation politics in Europe. The world response when CNN aired this programme operation of slavery was had crossed the Rubicon. He was labelled a rabble-rouser, communist agent and a philanderer. He had to die. Despite all his detractors, his name and legacy will endure through the ages. MLK was a drum major for social justice; an apostle of peace — the moral conscience of America. Without his legacy the idea of an African-American as president of the United States would have been wellnigh unthinkable. By the sheer moral force of his spirit, MLK transformed the very meaning of what it means to be an American. MLK was in Accra on 6 March 1957 when Ghana celebrated its independence as a sovereign nation. He identified with the leading independence leaders of the New Africa. He saw the destiny of the Mother Continent as inseparable from that of his captive people in the Americas and the islands of the seas. But we must never idolise any human being. MLK had his own shortcomings – after all, he was only human. What stood him apart was that he had moral courage. And he was a man of compassion, truth and justice. And he loved the Lord greatly. The world will never be the same because Martin Luther King Jr. passed through it. He once appeared to me in a dream several years ago when I was a struggling young university lecturer in London. He was in tattered rags with dirt and wounds all over him; silently weeping. Without words, the message came to me: that the work that he lived and died for is not yet ended. We must take up the baton where he left it. With the immense suffering, poverty and injustice that we see everywhere around us – in Nigeria, in Africa, in the world — the work of God has only begun. against the West. This was massive. The reaction in Nigeria was tepid and even indifferent. The West moved to repatriate 15,000 instead of the miserable 1000 per month. CNN traced those repatriated – CNN comes to Nigeria, to an unsavoury neighbourhood where they men Pusherman, Eveke and an army of traffickers – selling hopes through trafficking human beings. The pusherman Eveke arranged for them to go to Auchi the North of Edo State. The programme now introduced the possibility that women were or might be abused – Eveke - knows and tell them – gives them condoms. The arrangement was that you pay nothing at the beginning; payment was to be made in Libya. In my more cynical mood, I would have doubted several aspects of this arrangement. The CNN did not find one female in camp in Libya. Eveke’s “introduction” of condoms may have been to sex up the story by CNN. Thus a customer presumably carried the money and contraception during the trip. The Edo Attorney General condemned the traffic, threatened prosecution and imprisonment but gratuitously added that the causes of human trafficking had “deep cultural roots, which must be exposed and pulled out”. Really!! Mr. A.G. what could this possibly mean? We are told that Victor was responsible for his mother and three siblings – Victor was of an indeterminable age anywhere between 26 and 36 years old. He had, he claimed, returned to poverty which was worse than slavery. He hoped to go to Europe again through Libya Victor is responsible for mother including a baby and 3 siblings but have no father. Victor looks like 30 years old, what was his CV and what did he do to collect N1.5million plus the other money that was lost to rescue him? C M Y K