Professionals in the housing industry, including other sundry stakeholders in business sector of the economy, are worried that many abandoned properties belonging to the Federal Government in Lagos are rotting away, despite different calls and efforts by individuals and firms to resuscitate the multi-billion naira worth edifices.
Concerns emanate from the fact that despite the cry over accommodation deficits in Nigeria, the affected buildings are allowed to rot away, especially, in a country with an estimated 17 million or more housing deficit, with Lagos alone accounted for shortcomings of over three million.
Stating what professionals considered as obvious reality, a commentator Waheed Adenekan, a builder by profession stated that doing something positive would be an advantage to Nigerians if the custodians of these properties, particularly, the old Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi, valued at N40 billion a couple of years ago, should just jettison politics and proffer creative ways the buildings could be transformed for commercial or residential purposes.
Expressing his disgust for the appalling state of these infrastructures, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Chief Babatunde Ruwase, described the abandonment of these properties as ‘sheer economic waste’.
The LCCI chief urged those who are custodians of these properties to see reasons rather than sentiment, by allowing the most reasonable course of action to be taking so that they would be put into productive use.
Among the abandoned properties were the old Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi, which has become bone of contention, owing to what some leaders of “Lagos origin”, claimed to be their property.
Another one was National Assembly Complex at Tafawa Balewa Square, currently being managed by an investor, though, with cloud of uncertainty blowing around its operation as a result of opposition by the same Lagos leaders, under the chairmanship of Chief Femi Okunnu, who was a former Commissioner for Works under General Yakubu Gowon’s military government. There is also Independence Building that housed the Defence Ministry and former Federal Ministry of Commerce, at Tinubu Square, all have been left unused since the seat of power was moved to Abuja.
“Specifically, Old Federal Secretariat especially, can be used as retail facility, or can be used as a hostel by some academic institutions in Lagos, such as University of Lagos, Lagos State University, Yaba College of Technology that doesn’t have residential hostel, even, by the Nigerian Law School”, suggested Mr. Lanre Adedoyin, an investment consultant.