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Realtors worry on abandoned national assets

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By Mercy Kelani

There have been continuous decay of the environment and buildings.

Many assets of the government, such as office buildings, were abandoned when the federal capital of Nigeria was moved from Lagos to Abuja 32 years ago. For many years, these assets have been unused leading to wastage to their value. Hence, this action has been a concern to many citizens in the country, especially the realtors that are into the Real Estate market in the country. This desolation of properties have made them to propose means and ways of utilizing the assets for commercial and residential opportunities to provide Revenue for the government.

The realtors stated that there have been continuous degradation and decay of the environment and the buildings, especially in the location of the assets, since the movement of the federal capital to Abuja by the federal government. This calls for an intervention of the government. The chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos State branch, Gbenga Ismail, advised that the assets spread across the country can be long-leased and maybe sold, just like the failing enterprises of the government that were privatized.

FG should transform resources into useful opportunities.

Ismail said that property was like a dead capital which has to be unlocked, stating that the inaction of the federal government could be a waste if resources were not made into useful opportunities. He highlighted former Ikoyi Hotel that was sold and privatized, but now has transformed to a massive estate. This shows the impactful development of old property, although the former Ikoyi Hotel cannot be categorized as abandoned assets of the government. However, the transformation of Eko Atlantic City is a good example.

Also, the NIESV chairman admonished the government to take inventory measures of its assets, seek viability studies and feasibility, and suggest a productive usage for the concession of the assets. The CEO of Fine and Country, West Africa, Udo Okonjo, shared her opinion. She pondered on the delay of the old federal secretariat complex in Ikoyi Lagos, which has not been converted to more usefulness, compared to the developments that are experienced in countries around the globe. She added that Nigeria is not known for abandoned monuments.

Conversion of the old federal secretariat should be considered.

In contrast to the development across countries, such as the transformation of the abandoned hotel facility in the UK, St Pancreas Renaissance Hotel, which was converted into an exclusive 5-Star hotel, there is a slow development in Nigeria. Pancreas Renaissance Hotel was renovated in 2011, after it was abandoned for 69 years. Grade 11 listed Gladstone Conservatory of Liverpool in the UK was also cited by Okonjo as an abandoned place for more than 100 years when it was known to be a Leisure Place. Nevertheless, there was a great transformation in 2007, which turned it into football, hospitality and wedding events.

She stated that it will be advantageous and of benefits to all citizens if the custodians of the abandoned federal secretariat proffered and suggested dynamic methods to rebuild and transform the building for residential and commercial purposes. She also added that the building can be used for play, live, or work. In addition, the building can also be used as multi-studio apartments or co-workspaces. Alternatively, the building can be used for trading space to reduce the 2.7 million deficit space in the country.

Resort International Limited has been having issues with Lagos gov’t.

Furthermore, the old federal secretariat mentioned by Okonjo has a feature of Subsisting Litigation. The Resort International Limited has been having issues with Lagos State government, after it bought the asset at the property market, on redeveloping issues. The redevelopment of the asset was stalled by the Lagos State government after the company tried to transform it into residential properties. Consequently, the Lagos State government requested that a fresh certificate of Occupancy (C of O) be received from the state government.


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