Beautiful houses, deplorable roads: The story of Abuja estates
Nigeria’s capital territory, like its counterparts in other parts of the world, is adorned with arrays of architectural master pieces, with some of the most exquisite residential buildings in the country, said to be located in Abuja.
From Asokoro to Maitama, and even developing areas such as Lokogoma, Abuja is home to a number of housing estates, with various categories built to meet the housing needs of the different classes of FCT residents.
To tackle the housing deficit in the city, the Federal capital Territory Authority, FCTA, under its mass housing scheme, issues development lease to private developers. The FCTA partners with such developers by providing them with lands and other social amenities for estate development.
The housing development plan of the FCTA allows for increased private sector participation, where the organised private sector is allowed up to 51.8percent contribution. With a liberal land allocation policy, the plan provides a competitive environment for estate developers, who continually struggle to outdo one another in architectural designs and buildings.
Despite this healthy competition amongst developers, most of them pay little or no attention to the provision of basic infrastructures. It is therefore not surprising to find that most sprawling estates are without good sources of water supply or motorable roads within their vicinity.
Of all the amenities absent in these estates, the most visible and most dominant, is the absence of good road networks. After paying millions of Naira for a property in these estates, residents are forced to ply these roads on a daily basis leading to unnecessary wear and tear on their vehicles.
The roads are in their worst conditions in the rainy seasons, as most of them are either untarred or without drainages leading to flood.
A visit to most estates along the Lokogoma axis of the FCT shows most estate with bad road networks. Though some of the estates have a semblance of tarred roads, these roads are defaced with ditches and potholes. The poor states of the roads are attributed to the inferior materials used in the road constructions.
In one of the estate visited, METRO observe that the coal tar on the roads were completely ruined, living large patches of asphalt all over the road. These patches store up water, living the muddy soil to trap vehicles that venture such patches.
The situation is not only in privately developed estates, but also in public estates such as the Gwarimpa estate, Gaduwa, estate, to mention a few. Though the roads in these government quarters seem to have been constructed with better materials compared to those in private estate, their conditions are gradually turning out the same due to years of lack of maintenance.
A resident of one of the estates, said since the houses were sold to their new owners, government intervention in these areas have been minimal. The new owners have been left to deal with the provision and maintenance of amenities like roads.
Mr. Muftau Balogun who resides in Gwarimpa, said though most roads in Gwarimpa estate are still in good state, some areas need urgent intervention. “The area around the works and housing roads by the polo field, linking to Mr. Biggs is in terrible condition. The road by Chambian plaza in 5th avenue, gwarinpa village behind Mr. Biggs, and the Setraco gate are all in bad shape. We know that that the houses are now privately owned, but why should government allow such legacy projects to go into waste simply because it is no longer owned by government?
“Government still has the responsibility of providing social amenities like roads. Agreed each landlord can carry out some patch work area their homes, there is how far they can go. Do you expect landlords to move in with excavators just to construct a 100 meter road?”
Investigations by our correspondent shows that most of the estate have been remained unoccupied for years, due to the bad road networks, poor state of the houses themselves, and the outrages amounts charged in these estates despite these deficiencies.
For instance, at one of the estates visited, only the houses close to the entrance of the estate are occupied. The houses on the outskirt seem deserted, as it appears prospective tenants avoid taking a home that requires them making the torturous journey from the outskirt to the gates.
A tenant at one of the estates along Lokogoma told our correspondent that most tenants in his estate hardly renew their tenancy due to the conditions of the road. The tenant, who said he had had to change apartments since he moved into the estate, condemned the developers for fleecing tenants by build and constructing substandard houses and roads.
The tenant, who gave his name as Mr. Femi Obadofin, recounted an experience where the perimeter fence around his house collapsed into his building as the soil in the area was water logged.
“The estate owners had to change my apartment after the fence collapse into my kitchen. The problem is these estates a built with substandard materials. It’s like no proper soil testing was carried out on the area to determine what material to use. The developers ought to have used better materials in the road and house construction, so it can with stand the pressure underneath.
“How do you explain that a house that is just a few years old is in this state already? The developers are only interested in maximising profit as well as recouping their investment fast. They don’t care about the state of the estate and hardly bother to comeback for maintenance, we tenants are left to repair whatever we can, and manage the ones beyond our reach.”
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