Residents of Jakande Estates decry deplorable housing condition

At the time, the construction of hundreds of blocks of flats across different communities in Lagos State by former Lagos State governor, Lateef Jakande, was innovative and impactful.

Not only did the venture create jobs for artisans, but it also provided an opportunity for the poor and low-income earners to access decent apartments in an equally nice environment. In all, the Lateef Jakande administration built 16 housing estates during the Second Republic.

The landmark achievement remains unmatched by no other state governor to date. This explains why a former Lagos State governor; Bola Ahmed Tinubu said at the late Jakande’s funeral that nobody could equal his record in office.

Simply called Low-Cost Housing Estates, they were allocated to and occupied by low-income earners. Over time, however, the estates have been renamed Jakande Estates by residents and beneficiaries. That the Jakande administration was visionary and strategic about the housing scheme was reflected in the fact that they were cited in the outskirts of Lagos, which was often serene. The vision truly provided succour to the poor and middle-class citizens. All that happened 40 years ago. 
The unceremonious sacking of the Second Republic by the military through a coup, however, threw spanners in the wheel of progress of the developmental efforts of the then civilian governments. Lagos seemed the worst hit, as the coup not only halted the construction of the housing project but also buried another vision in the form of a fast rail line (metro line).

Sadly, four decades after, successive Lagos governments seemed to have completely forgotten that the estates exist, as they have been neglected. The deterioration is noticed in the lack of basic infrastructure in all the estates. Government’s failure in this regard is reflected across board, though in varying degrees across the estates.  

It is the same narrative practically everywhere: Aside from Mile 2 and Iponri Estates, which have some good roads, all other Jakande Estates visited had deplorable roads. Surprisingly, the last time some of the roads were constructed or reconstructed was about three decades ago. The central sewage systems have collapsed, where there is one. The Lagos State Water Corporation no longer supplies residents, even when a corporation reservoir is within or opposite the estate. The ambiance in the estates has greatly changed and the general arrangement has deviated from the original plan, as illegal structures, mainly kiosks and shops have been indiscriminately erected. Due to the dilapidated structures and deteriorating facilities, the Jakande Estates in Lekki, Lagos Island, Mile 2, Iba, Ipaja, and Ejigbo, among others, have lost their initial allure. 

Ilasan Housing Estate
ILASAN Housing Estate is located in Ajah. And because it is surrounded by neighbourhoods that boast of expensive-looking and well-constructed edifices, it stands out like a sore thumb; what with the rough, ugly-looking facades that are begging for touches of paint. In addition, some of the apartments are yet to be completed 40 years after. Successive administrations have simply not bothered to improve on the facilities beyond what was originally installed.

Lekki and its environs are low lands and swampy areas, which inevitably has an impact on Ilasan Housing Estate’s topography. The plight of residents is further compounded by the non-availability of drainages within the estate. So, when it rains, the whole place becomes water-logged and marshy. The majority of the occupants, who
were evicted from Maroko, have therefore resorted to self-help in the bid to overcome the perennial flooding. This they do by filling the roads and reclaiming the land within the estate with all sorts of materials, including refuse, which further degrades the environment. In the process, the roads have become marshy and filthy. Also, some blocks of flats have constructed their own septic tanks, while others channeled theirs into makeshift drainages constructed by them. 

The general look in the estate is that of utter abandonment. Here, it is a common sight to see makeshift buildings, with wooden bridges serving as walkways into many of the blocks of flats. These come especially handy when the community gets flooded.
A former president of Ilasan Housing Estate Landlord Association, Alhaji Tajudeen Jegede, said the residents have never had it good since they were brought to the estate from Maroko. He said rather than the government helping to alleviate their plight, it is being compounded. This is because the route through which rainwater flows out from the community has been obstructed by a fence and market.

He explained that many who were relocated to the estate were made to do the finishing job, as the estate was still under construction when it was abandoned. And since then, though successive governments always promised to improve the infrastructure, nothing has been done. Rather, residents are being constantly threatened with eviction. 
Reacting to the issue of the buildings erected haphazardly, which have further defaced the estate, Jedege disclosed that owners of the structures were forced to do so, as the government allocated uncompleted buildings and empty land space to some of the Maroko evictees. 

Adeniji Adele Low-Cost Housing Estate
IT is nearly the same story at Adeniji Adele Low-Cost Housing Estate. Though the residents were not relocated from Maroko, they have also been experiencing perennial flooding. Blaming the government for their woes, they said the sand filling at Ilubirin had worsened the yearly flooding.

Acrid odour wafts from smelly wastewater flowing from the big drainage that runs through the estate into the homes. The area is also low land. And to restrict the stagnant water, some residents had constructed a barricade around the ground floor.

Also, due to incessant flooding and landfilling by some residents, the surroundings of most flats on the ground floor have been partially submerged by the big drainage passing through the estate. Some residents have even moved out, as the ground floor has sunk so low with just a few metres left visible above ground level.  

Alhaji Razak Noibi is a resident of the estate and Chairman of, Community Development Committee. He bemoaned Lagos Building Investment Corporation’s (LBIC) unperturbed attitude to their plight, which was the reason why residents discontinued paying any fees to the government agency. He said not once has LBIC come to carry out maintenance job on facilities within the estate. He pointed out that the estate has been so degraded that visitors usually wonder if human beings truly live in the estate.

According to Noibi, former Governor Babatunde Fashola pledged to do something about the estate, but could not before leaving office. But he hopes that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu would regenerate the area as he has also

Abesan Low Cost Housing Estate, Ipaja
At Low-Cost Housing Estate, Abesan-Ipaja, the President of the residents association, Mr. Michael Kehinde, said the unfenced estate is porous, thus opening it to all sorts of encroachment. “Armed people come into the estate to attack residents, especially in the early hours of the day and late at night. This is common and what makes it easy for the perpetrators is because we have no control over how people come in and go out,” he said.
He added that vehicles come in unhindered into the estate, which exposes the residents to attacks from criminals and hoodlums. 
Though the estate has drainages, it still gets flooded. This, Kehinde attributed to the non-linkage of the drainages, as they were constructed to encircle each zone within the estate. 

“So, there are a lot of places with stagnant dirty water whenever it rains. That brings me to the level of filthiness. Our estate is very dirty and efforts by residents to do some cleaning are frustrated by outsiders, who drive in at odd hours of the day to dump refuse, particularly around our high school and stadium,” he said.
Despite the fact that Lagos Water Corporation mini waterworks station is sited in the estate, the residents have no access to potable water. They have resorted to digging boreholes to access water.  
“The estate has no public water supply. So, each block of flats dug separate boreholes. Consequently, people are building chambers which overflow every time, making the estate very messy,” he stated. 
On why facilities within the estate are dilapidated, he put the blame squarely at the doorstep of the state government and LBIC for failing in their duty. Kehinde said though residents are expected to pay a maintenance fee, for almost 38 out of the 40 years of its existence, LBIC has not carried out maintenance work on any part of the estate. 

He said: “People discontinued paying the fee. LBIC is complaining of non-payment of fees, but the people are saying they will no longer pay because LBIC is not fulfilling its part of the arrangement.
“The same goes for the insurance premium, which the residents also discontinued paying. This is because all those who have experienced one form of a terrible incident or another, such as the roofs getting blown off by the storm and the apartment getting burnt, were never compensated. 
“There was another aspect that’s making it difficult for residents to pay the fees. Take, for instance, somebody who has not paid for a year for one reason or the other, and when such a resident wants to pay, LBIC would ask for arrears. The question is: Will LBIC go back to repair what was damaged during the years the premium was not paid. The answer has not been positive from LBIC, hence people are not paying, including the current premium.” 
A public park for commercial vehicles was located in the estate, but the residents are not happy about it, which prompted them’re petitioning the local council to move it away. The local council, however, refused to act. 

Kehinde disclosed that the association requested that the park be moved because it poses a huge security threat to residents. 
“About three years ago, a public garage was sited in our estate, prior to then, there was none,” he explained. “And we told them that in the original design, a public garage was not allowed in Lagos State Estate, but the local council found it convenient and still went ahead to open one in our estate. And when it turned out to be a danger because criminals were using commercial vehicles, motorcycles, and tricycles to come into the estate to commit crimes, we again cried to the council that the garage is removed, but the local council still refused.”

The Primary Healthcare Centre in the estate is still under construction, seven years after it started, with the structure about caving in. “There are about 6,000 flats within the Jakande Estate, Abesan besides the adjoining estates, such as Kings Court and Amosu, among others. In all, there are about 7,500 to 8,000 flats. Yet, we have no fully functional health institution. A former chairman of the local council made effort to erect one, but the project has since been abandoned. If that place got completed, not less than 12, 000 families would be using the facility. The health centre was constructed to roofing stage, but because it was abandoned, the building is gradually decaying and collapsing,” Kehinde said.  

Oke-Afa Low-Cost Housing Estate
ALTHOUGH the main road into the estate was reconstructed in addition to about a kilometre of the three kilometres of roads within the estate, the estate is not immune from the government’s neglect. 
The President of Oke-Afa Estate Residents’ Association, Alhaji Chief Olawale Salami said the community had a circular road that was not motorable, but the council chairman constructed about a kilometre, with almost two kilometres left impassable. “The aesthetic of any estate is the beauty of its roads,” he said.
The residents are also unhappy with the demolition of kiosks and shops within the estate, which was undertaken in November 2016 by the immediate past administration, as it inflicted pains on many shop owners, aside also rendering many jobless afterward. 
Salami explained that night marauders have been tormenting residents, as they regularly come to vandalise cars and steal, and then run away when residents blow whistle.

But things have recently taken a turn for worse, as the marauders now come fully armed with guns, daring residents to come and confront them when vandalising cars or stealing. 

He said: “We are strategising and making efforts to halt all these. We have reported to the council chairman, who is cooperating with us on the issue. 

“Another big challenge is the primary school. The place has been turned into a robbers’ den and a spot for smoking Indian hemp. The rooftop has been blown away. The dilapidated state of the school is another challenge. So, we have sent an emissary to the government to come to repair the school. In the whole of Ejigbo and Oke-Afa, there are two secondary schools. One is located here and the other in Ejigbo with a population of over a million.

Essentially, what I am saying is that majority of the students leave this environment to school in Isolo every morning, contributing to the traffic gridlock. There is a space to construct another secondary school within the complex of the existing one. I thank God for the foresight of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, who provided spaces for various developmental projects. So, our secondary school can still accommodate another one to make life meaningful for the students.”
On the damaged sewage system, Salami said series of letters had been written to the Ministry of Environment to notify them of the breakdown, but nothing has been done. 
“If it is functional, it is the best system that makes the environment clean. Because of the sloppiness and flatness of some places within the estate and the fact that the taps are no longer functional, we have a breakdown here and there, which makes the environment dirty. I pity those living in Zones 17, 18, and 19, whose buildings are tangential to the sewage itself. Just imagine the mess and odour.” 
Salami, like other estate presidents, complained about LBIC’s failure and habitual manner of reneging on its promise to carry out repairs whenever there is need, despite residents paying maintenance fees.  
“I have a personal experience. My roof got blown off sometime in early 2007, and I rebuilt it myself. This is because if you do not do it when another rainy season comes, it will destroy your property. So, the response to repair and call to duty is called to question.”

Admitting that LBIC complained that residents do not pay maintenance fees, he explained that the process of payment is cumbersome, as residents are required to go to Alausa CBD area, where LBIC office is located to pay.

“The transport fare is not less than N1000. Since LBIC abandoned its office within the estate, many residents were not ready to waste money on transport to Alausa, especially as many of us are pensioners. Some residents’ legs are not so good again. If they want residents to pay, LBIC should collaborate with the residents’ association in each estate to collect fees for LBIC or establish a revenue office within the estates.”
Amuwo-Odofin Low-Cost Housing Estate, Mile 2

FOR residents of Amuwo-Odofin Low-Cost Housing Estate, Mile 2, insecurity is one of the challenges they are grappling with.

The president of the landlords and residents association, Prince Adeyemi Ailara said: “I grew up here, had my primary and secondary school education here. The current state of insecurity is alarming. I remember vividly that when we were young, the estate was fenced round with barbwires. We also had mobile policemen at both ends of the estate. There was a barricade that prevented articulated vehicles from entering the estate. Then, the Mile 2 commercial vehicles park was not this close to us. Now, there is a thoroughfare, honking of horns at odd hours of the day, with many hoodlums coming into the estate freely. Articulated vehicles are parked indiscriminately on the road, blocking the free flow of traffic.”

But this is not all. The estate’s drainage system is also bad. Ailara said the drainages and canal were desilted twice a year, but all that has changed. And when residents write to appropriate authorities, help does not come quickly enough. 
“Now, it is when we have blockages that government come around to something, after many complaints. Some blocks of flats now channel their feces into the gutter because the government came to demolish the central septic tank with a promise to construct a modern one, but this is yet to be done.”
Opposite the Mile 2 estate is a Lagos Water Corporation mini waterworks station, but the residents of the estate have no access to potable water.

Ailara said: “It is no news that almost all the blocks of flats have one or two boreholes. Some residents could not dig boreholes because of the underground soil in such an area, which produces coloured water with zinc. At the earlier stage of moving into the estate, Water Corporation was supplying water and it does not need boiling to drink.” 

On the non-maintenance of the estate, Ailara explained that residents stopped paying insurance premiums and maintenance fees because appropriate authorities failed to keep their side of the bargain.
He explained that over the years, the two parties have crossed each other’s paths. “There were rules and regulations guiding residents. Along the line, however, some residents did not abide by these rules. One of them is the erection of kiosks and shops. And I will not blame the residents, as it was due to the bad economic situation in the country, so you will expect such.
“My suggestion on that is, if it can be made official, with LBIC giving a prototype of what structures to put up as kiosks and shops, it will be a good thing. With the little relationship we have had, they made us to know that it is degrading the estate. They do not want all manner of structures to be springing up.”  

Iba Low-Cost Housing Estate, Ojo
IBA Housing Estate is under Ojo Local Council. Unlike Amuwo-Odofin Housing Estate, whose central sewage system has collapsed, Iba Housing Estate never had one. At different points within the estate were damaged and uncovered septic tanks spilling their contents onto the roads.

The president of the residents association, Kunle Aribikolasi, said the challenges residents are contending with revolve around decaying infrastructures. He explained that the estate roads are bad, though the local government often comes to reconstruct the main entrance road, all other inner roads are very bad.

He disclosed that the estate was designed to have central sewage, but along the line, it was cancelled and each block of flats built a septic tank.

“Unfortunately for residents, this area is swampy. So, no amount of energy put into evacuating the septic tank has any effect, as it gets filled almost immediately with an overflow. Over the years, the buildings have not been maintained by LBIC. The agency completely abandoned the aspect of maintenance; they are only interested in getting money from residents.

“For example, majority of the residents of the estate have stopped paying insurance premium. This is a block of six flats and any fire incident affects the others. The flat above got burnt about five years ago. While others repaired theirs, one of the residents failed to repair his flat, and the apartments directly under and adjacent it is having issues, as rainwater drips into their places.

“This is part of what LBIC ought to be doing. If everybody has insurance for their flat, the flats would have been rebuilt. But because of lack of monitoring and supervision, 90 percent of the resident no longer take insurance for their property. So, when there is any bad occurrence, there would be nothing to fall back on, which is why the majority of the flats are dilapidated.”

Aribikolasi is, however, not happy that structures, especially kiosks and shops, are being built indiscriminately within the estate.

“This has turned the community that should naturally be a residential place into a commercial area. Majority of the shops and kiosks owners claimed they got approval from LBIC or LSDPC. Some of the kiosks and shop owners are residents, while others are not. The crux of the matter is that there is no proper control on the erection of shops and kiosks in the estate.”

He stated that occasionally, the estate gets flooded, but it flows out after some time when the rain stops. He added that the residents are also faced with insecurity, which he claimed is promoted by the activities of members of neighbouring communities.

“The estate has secondary and primary schools, but the neighbouring communities do not have public schools. So, everybody wants to come into the estate, the reason they created many illegal inlets and outlets. Recently, we tried to block these illegal entrances, but heads of the neighbouring communities seriously resisted it, because it would be difficult for the pupils and students to access their schools through the main gate.

“Our neighbouring communities, such as Igbo-elerin, Ibatedo, and Ipaye do not have a primary or secondary school and these are big communities. Also, for their trading activities, they come to the estate, which poses a security threat to the residents. But we have to find a way to manage them and ensure that the area is well secured.”

Another resident of Iba Housing Estate, Mr. Idowu Odutejo, said LBIC does not properly maintain the estate. “When residents have problem with roofing, it is usually a major issue among flat occupants, especially if the rooftops got blown away, LBIC is usually slow in effecting repairs.”

He revealed that some time ago, LBIC pledged to change the roofing sheets to asbestos from zinc roofing sheets. But while it changed some, others were not replaced, which made some residents stop paying the insurance and maintenance fees.

“The occupants of the topmost floors often bear the burden alone, although it should have been shared if the insurance and maintenance fees were in place. This year alone, I have repaired my roof seven times, despite having changed to asbestos,” he said.

Source : The Guardian

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