MURPHY ADEBARE, a real estate professional and Managing Director of Milling Coast and Topaz Gardens explains the crisis in the Estate/Housing industry in Nigeria in this interview with Journalists in Lagos
Can you share some of your success stories with us?
My job is to build houses and develop a city. I do this as the MD of TOPAZ GARDENS. My firm has estates and housing properties scattered in all over Africa and very soon, we’ll expand overseas. We have done a lot of developmental projects in TOPAZ GARDENS.
We have built houses, roads as we are also into civil constructions too. We are into dredging, blocks construction, properties development and we have gone far in the business. I think for the past 12 years now, we have executed about 5 to 7 housing units which were estate schemed, not only in Lagos and Abuja or Nigeria but across the land of West Africa.
Can you please compare or contrast government policies on housing in places you’ve done businesses?
Actually, with what we have achieved in South Africa, I think South African government is really ahead of its Nigerian counterpart because they are helping real estates like us to develop ourselves. They believe in providing homes to people and they also believed in we are in a good position to do that. Nigeria is not yet there in term of quality policies to facilitate housing business. We hope we will get there because there are no such facilities for us in Nigeria.
You have to struggle on your own to try spring up your company and you have to be able to get your own money. The capital to start operating is not there. There is no housing mortgage for Nigerians. The mortgages we hear in the news are for the mighty and well-connected politicians. They are not accessible. We are looking unto the government to give us mortgage loans. By doing this, lots of homeless Nigerians will be sheltered.
But Nigeria has policies for mortgage loan and there are mortgage banks in Nigeria (cuts in)
You cannot access Nigeria mortgage loan, it’s not possible because. it depends on people you know before they can give you mortgage for housing project. If Nigeria government is telling you they will give you mortgage, you should know they’re just trying to deceive the public. Ask any real estate how many of them has access to the federal government mortgage, they are just trying to deceive the public. A common man cannot have mortgage in Nigeria, it’s not possible. And in term of government’s support for self-growth in this business, Lagos state government is this worse.
What do you mean by this?
Lagos state is not helping matters for people like us. We are helping Lagos state government to develop Lagos into modern city and at the end of the day when you do so, the same government will appear suddenly and seized your house and grab your land.
Why is this so?
Lagos state government is fond of seizing peoples’ land in the name of public interest. They may claim the land will be used for Agriculture or infrastructural development only to seize the land and started selling within themselves. They’ll give you all different kinds of excuses and all that in their attempt to seize your legitimate properties.
Has the Lagos State Government Seized Your Land Before?
They seized my land in Sangotedo area. They seized another one in Lekki Eleko. The state government is notorious in land grabbing. Officials of the state government are grabbing lands with impunity and disregard to rule of law and most especially the present administration. They will grab your lands and sell it again. But by law, government doesn’t have the right to sell Lands. It’s only Lagos state that does. They seized lands indiscriminately, demolish peoples’ homes and render them homeless. That is why you see too many touts and people sleeping under the bridges.
Have You Ever Seek Redress in Court?
We are already in court; Lagos state does not obey the court of law. Go and ask anybody, Lagos state does not obey the law, they are the ones that make the Law and they are the ones that break it. That’s the painful truth.
They’re condemning cultism when the family are homeless, what do you expect the children to do. When you say no to cultism and you render families homeless, the families in Oreki Lekki homeless and you say you condemn cultism. Somebody that is homeless with lots of children, what you are expecting from them, we should all think about it.
What’s Your Advice to Government As Regards Housing business?
I appeal that government should repent because most of them have sold their hearts to the devil because of the love of money. I have never imagined that somebody in this 21st century will not obey the court of law, how can the government destroy houses without a court order.
This present administration have destroyed over 20 locations in Ajah town, from Lekki town to Epe, they have destroyed a place in Oniru side which they are already in court, they destroyed a settlement in Jakande, they are still in court, they destroyed Okun Aja side which they are still in court, they destroyed my own land in Sangotedo which we are still in court, they destroyed Oreki Lekki, which we are still in court but funny enough, they don’t obey court orders.
What’s Your Advice for Victims of Alleged Land seizure?
Our problem in Nigeria is that everybody believes that government is bigger than everything but I’m telling you now that most of our Nigeria people are not following due process. If government grabs your lands, what you need to do is take them to court. Many people don’t believe that you can win government but I will give you one hope which is that, “there is no court case that Lagos State concerning land that have taken to court that they have won since 2000. Lagos state has never won any land case in case