By Echeburu Oby & jummia Abu
Princess Nana Ngozi Dahiru, a business woman, a member of (PCRC) Police community relations committee, the vice chairman of the FCT command/ who doubles as the national coordinator for women committee (PCRC) nationwide. Markets Efab properties and also manage the Efab Lokogoma estate. In an interview with Viewpoint Housing Media, she talks about how insecurity in the country can be tackled.
Viewpoint: what is your view on the construction of affordable housing in the country?
Dahiru: my view is that it is very good and it is doable. Affordable housing is very important to every citizen but if only the government is willing to lay down the foundation. You can’t have affordable housing by any developer if he is not supported by the government. When we talk of affordable housing, it is a house that a buyer can buy with at most five to seven million Naira, anything higher than this is not affordable. When I bought this property from Efab under mortgage it was supposed to be seven million Naira but because I bought it through mortgage the price came down very well which was very good and this was about 10-12 years ago.
Viewpoint: Is Efab linked with FMBN or any other mortgage bank?
Dahiru: No! we have our own mortgage bank which is the First generation mortgage bank which we use to access loans through the federal mortgage bank for people. Efab processed everything for me when I wanted to get mine, for us getting it is not hectic but for the money to come from the mortgage bank is very hectic, it doesn’t come easy. It is when they have paid us that we will then allocate a house to you then you start paying install mentally by whatever the agreement is.
But if Nigerians want affordable houses which I know we all want, the government must get it right this time by giving lands to the developers, put primary infrastructures like good roads, portable water, electricity and give them the lands by telling them to go and develop on it, the money that will be charged for the land should be a token. There should be a warning not to sell higher than a particular amount which will be supervised to be sure that the structures are solid. With this we would have affordable houses for everyone.
You can’t expect a developer to spend billions in a portion of land that can take like 1000 housing units or say at most 500 housing units, he will have to do his infrastructures there because Efab did every infrastructure by its self. In Efab lokogoma we are using 17 transformers which was bought by Efab. the only thing Efab doesn’t provide is water so individuals drill boreholes for their selves.
If the government provide lands and primary infrastructures then give to these developers to build, they will build and sell at government price, still the developers will also make their own profit. The developers we have are really trying, without them Nigerians will not have houses.
Viewpoint: Due to the insecurity challenges in the country, does Efab properties suffer any form of low patronage as experienced by other developers?
Dahiru: The whole property companies in the country suffer from low patronage, not just Efab, in fact we are better than so many developers because we are known. We can still give you some conditions of payment if we trust you that’s why we are still able to get small small business in times like this. The business has dropped to 10% from 100% for every developer. Go round Abuja and see empty estates with no occupants, not that people don’t want them but because of the prices people cannot affordable them and instead of the developers to lock up the apartments and allow them depreciate, they rather give them out on one year rent so that if they see buyers they can sell them off immediately.
The insecurity situation in the country is terrible, it affects everything even the market woman in the market, it affects her business, it affects our health, our educational system. There is nothing it does not affect. If you don’t have peace anywhere you cannot function well. The insecurity situation in the country is a shame and shamble.
Viewpoint: What advice do you have for the government on how to go about the insecurity issues in the country?
Dahiru: The only thing the government needs to do is to be sincere. Let them be sincere about giving adequate security to Nigerians. Once they are sincere about this, Nigeria will succeed. They have just started community policing if you treat them the way you treat our policemen, they will compromise.
The police men that are in charge of internal security are paid little to nothing, you pay a policeman 50,000-60,000 Naira and give him a gun of 600,000 Naira to go to the road to apprehend criminals, as you send him out of his station no allowance or anything, if he dies on that duty the family is on its own, compensation became a big problem. Immediately the officer is buried after 2-3months time they ask the family to leave the barracks apartment if the said officer lives in the barracks, those barracks that are dirty and inhabitable. How do you expect another officer that saw the type of treatment his colleague’s family faced to say he will continue to work diligently and die for this nation? It can’t work.
The government cannot say there is no funds for this, there is money if the presidency cut down on their allowances and so on, we would be able to fund our police officers well and be able to employ more officers because the population is too low to handle all these crimes. If the government can do what Governor Wike did in Port Harcourt, Rivers state when five policemen were killed by hoodlums, he gave their families the sum of 20,000,000.00 Naira each immediately with no delay. With this motivation there is no policeman that is not ready to die for his country while on duty.
Can any ASP or DSP afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Abuja? No! they rather look for slums and stay there. So it is what you put into a system that you get. The government must get it right this time, nobody is blaming President Muhammadu Buhari, it is the same system he met but he came to repair so let him use his good office to get it right because if he gets it right this time, the government coming after him will not be able to change it. The police work 24 hours every day from the Inspector general to the sergeant yet the government finds it very difficult to pay them well.
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The government needs to repair the police barracks by giving them decent accommodations, give them good equipment, let them have good motivating salaries.
In conclusion Dahiru is advocating for 120,000.00Naira as salary for a police constable which will go in that manner up to the Inspector general of police. This will help in motivating the police to fight against corruption and prevent further crimes from happening in the country. With the suggested amount of money for salary, they will be able to acquire decent houses.