Lagos, estate residents bicker over facility managers
The recent approval of facility managers by the Lagos State government to oversee its own housing estates across the state has pitched some resident associations against the authorities. The state had through the Ministry of Housing announced the engagement of facility managers to oversee its housing estates. Some of the approved facility managers, include Arthur Momson Limited (Alhaji and Alhaja Adetoun Mustapha Estate Ojokoro); Akinpelu Akinwunmi and Associates (Abraham Adesanya Housing Estate Ajah); Power System Services Ltd, Baba Omojola Estate Gbagada, Jide Taiwo and Company(Millennium Housing Estate, Ibeshe) and Dolphin Direct Limited(Mobolaji Johnson Housing Estate, Lekki) among others.
Under the policy, facility managers will undertake arrangements for security personnel, refuse disposal, lighting of streetlights and cleaning and sanitation of jointly owned facilities and liaise regularly with the government on the state of the facilities.
The facility managers are to act as the agents of government in the management and maintenance of the estates particularly common facilities, while the residents pay the facility managers. Although, the government claimed that the policy was to tackle the deplorable of the estates, residents, however, are not comfortable with it especially when they are paying for the services.
Some of the resident associations, who had employed the services of estate managers for direct handling of the services, felt it was a ploy by government to rake in money from the appointed facility managers especially when it was not done through open bidding.
According to an official of new estate residents association, there was no need for a new facility manager as the estate already has one.
The official, who preferred not to be named, regretted the exclusion of the residents in the appointment. According to him, the estate will only comply after proper consultations with all the stakeholders.The Guardian learnt that several resident associations are averse to the policy because they were not carried along with the appointments.
Some of them, who have already employed estate managers for the maintenance of facilities in their estates, told The Guardian that it is a ploy to take over the jobs from them.They stressed that since government will not be the one paying for the services, there is no basis for such policy as they already have contracts with facility managers for the job.
According to them, what the government should do is to monitor adherence to the rules of engagement to ensure conducive, decent and healthy environment in the estates.
But the State said the policy was to give professional touches to the estates, some of which are in despicable conditions.Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Housing, Mr. Wasiu Akewusola, who spoke to The Guardian on the matter said, the policy was made in the best interest of the residents and the state.
According to him, before now, some the residents associations were managing them on their own but the state want professional activities and touches in our estates.The state, he said, do not want some retirees, who are executives of the associations managing the facilities because facility management is a profession on its own that requires skills and expertise not like claiming to be contractors in the construction industry.
He said: “We want professional touches in our estates that is why we said facility managers will be appointed in our estates not that we want to impose facility managers on them. But if any of the estates has a facility manager who is registered with us, they can have them in the estate. But not that the chairman, the secretary or officials of the associations will just be managing things and eventually destroyed many things believing that they are doing good to the estate.”
Akewusola said the ministry would continue to dialogue with the resident associations to resolve the gray areas. He stressed that the facility managers were not imposed on the estates. The Permanent Secretary said if they know that they have facility managers that are tested, that they believe on, they should register with the ministry after which they will be sent them back to them.
According to him, the policy behind it is that the facility managers are allowed to work and if they are not doing well, the residents can complain but not that the person has never work for them and they are complaining that they don’t want them.The Lagos state government has 18 existing housing schemes and 24 new ones; the appointment of facility managers is expected to create new jobs in the state.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Chapter of International Facility Management Association (IFMA) has commended the State government on its plan to engage facility managers for the professional management of its estates.The groups’s acting President, Mr. Segun Adebayo, expressed readiness to support and complement this laudable initiative through advisory and recommendation of credible and reliable facility managers with professional capability and pedigree.
“This plan in our view is long overdue considering the value–adding benefits the government and the residents of the estates will derive from its effective execution. “It will not only promote the wellbeing of the residents but also create a sustainable model of management of the estate through professionalism and international best practice.
“The plan will also create jobs and employment for artisans and technicians in Lagos which will further translate to the preservation and enhancement of the life cycle of the assets in the estates in particular and the entire estate in general,” he said.
IFMA has been a progressive partner with Lagos State Government through quality collaboration with Lagos State Infrastructure Asset Management Agency and Government Technical Colleges in the State. The strategic partnership and collaboration with the State agencies and technical colleges has led to several initiatives like Facility Management Advocacy, Mentorship Programme for the student of the technical schools and celebration of World Facility Management Day, an annual global celebration of the achievements of facility managers across the world.
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