Prospective homeowners allege hijack of Lagos housing schemes by monebags, politicians
This insinuation far from the truth, says official
Mrs Titi Akinlowo’s dream was to have a roof over her head and become a property owner in Lagos; eight years after, her hope seems dashed.
To actualise that vision, she had visited the Lagos State Mortgage Board (LSMB) to subscribe for the Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS), a government initiative created to encourage and support home ownership of First-Time Buyer (FTB) residents to purchase decent and affordable homes.
Then, several projects were on the card, her interest was on Ogba housing scheme, which was at the foundation level. Surprisingly, she was told the project was over subscribed.
When all efforts failed, Akinlowo also made attempt to buy into Igando scheme, named after the first civilian governor of the state, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande Gardens, comprising 492-flat commissioned recently. But her move again didn’t yield any fruit. In her frustration, she bought a land in Lekki-Epe axis, which was taken over by land grabbers.
Akinlowo is one of the many dissatisfied first-time homebuyers that however, are not confident that they will ever own a home due to their sad experiences in the Lagos Homs scheme and searching for a down payment for the houses.
For many Nigerians, owning a home is an essential part of the dream that conveys a number of economic benefits, such as the ability to accumulate wealth and escape from yearly rent payments.
Specifically, some of the disenfranchised buyers have accused politicians and moneybags of using cronies to buy and resell the houses. They also allege that government officials collude with moneybags to purchase the homes.
However, senior officials of LSMB said, such deals don’t occur in their schemes, especially the rent and own projects. The General Manager of the board, Mr. Bayowa Foresythe, told The Guardian “this insinuation is far from the truth. We have various testimonials to the fact that the low and medium income earners are the beneficiaries of this scheme.
“It is your income that will determine affordability and once you pass the affordability test, allocation is done based on supply because the housing deficit at the moment is in millions and basically that is what the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is trying to reduce,” he said.
He said the mortgage agency changed its focus from the conventional mortgage system to Rent –To – Own scheme, which offers homes at five per cent equity contribution to end-users.
Statistics from the state government show that those allocated two-bedroom flats in Igando, Iponri and Sangotedo, other than paying the five per cent down payment, paid a monthly payment of N68, 555; N210, 938 and N105, 469 respectively.
Foresythe said: “Our goal is to bridge the housing deficit in the state by providing affordable homes for residents through the Rent-To-Own programme in which subscribers are to pay only five per cent equity contribution and payments are spread over 120 months (10 years). This, we believe, will sustain mortgage culture and increase home ownership drive in the state.”
Foresythe, noted that the state requires 400,000 houses to bridge the state’s deficit, making reference to 2018 World Bank statistics.
He said LSMB has provided 4,096 affordable housing units, either through mortgage or Rent-To-Own schemes to over 20,480 people in the past six years of its existence.
According to him, these housing schemes are spread over the five divisions of the state and in getting these houses, allotees are considered on a first-come-first-serve basis, after meeting the affordability criteria.
He said: “One person getting a home translates to an average of five people in a home, you may consider these number of houses provided so far as marginal to the current realities. But ours is a work–in progress as other partners are also engaging in the same process of providing decent and affordable accommodations with the state government.”
Foresythe said about 2,500 family members have benefitted from Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande Gardens at Igando. “Multiplying the number of flats (492) by five, which is the average size of a family, this will give you 2,460. What this simply means is that we have provided shelter for 2,460 family members in the state within a short period,” he said.
He said the governor is passionate about providing affordable housing for Lagos residents, adding that the government plans to complete schemes in Ajara, Badagry, and Sangotedo in Eti-osa and Odo-Onosa in Agbowa areas.