Lawmakers wade into 1004 estate crisis
The crisis that recently rocked the 41-year-old 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos, with respect to management of the place may not abate soon as duty tour by members of the Lagos State House of Assembly on oversight assignment has revealed an abuse of power by some leaders among members of the 1004 Estate Home Owners & Residents Association (HORA).
Members of the assembly Committee on Housing, led by Abdulrahman Yusuf, whose visit took residents by surprise, were shocked with serious lapses associated with the general maintenance of elite estate.
Some residents, during their interaction with the lawmakers, complained of arbitrary increase in annual service charge without commensurate service delivery or accountability to residents. The estate currently has 1,744 apartments with each paying annual service charge of about N650,000.
The lawmakers also had a first knowledge of how facility providers rendered services without accountability. This was evident in the multi-million-naira power plant where improper record keeping in diesel delivery that had gulped hundreds of millions of naira over the years.
While speaking with journalists, Chairman of the House Committee, Yusuf, said it would be premature to disclose the members’ conclusion on the visit until they have submitted their findings to the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Addressing journalists after the departure of the lawmakers, the CDA chairman, Mr. Matthew Ibadin, traced the current crisis in the estate to the financial impropriety that began soon after government sold the 1004 flats to private system.
Ibadin gave a historical account of how the management of the estate was wrestled from the Managing Director of 1004 Estate Limited, Mr Samuel Ukpong, who was initially in charge of the estate services. He alleged that handling of the services and collection of service charge were removed from Ukpong due to his inability to account for the money collected from residents.
Regrettably, he said it never occurred to the residents that removal of Ukpong was going to pave way for monumental fraudulent practices in which about N8 billion has remained unaccounted for in the past six years.
A resident in the estate, who is a retired diplomat and one-time Consul-General to Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Oluwatoyin Kayode Lawal, corroborating the CDA’s assertion, said: “A cabal is running the estate, and I must say there is a subtle ring of corruption going on in 1004.”