The spate of insecurity ravaging Nigerian cities has taken its toll on property developers and contractors, handling various housing projects in Abuja and neigbouring states such as Kaduna, Niger and Nasarawa.
The operators had expressed concern that insecurity on sites may result in variation of contracts and increase in contract costs. They said, if the situation persists, with the pandemic currently entering its third wave, it would be difficult to deliver thousands of houses under construction in the affected states.
An estate surveyor and valuer, Mr. Tanko Yunusa, told The Guardian thatinsurgency and kidnapping in the country had impacted negatively on the real estate sector due to the location of sites.
He explained that contractors and developers working on various sites need to survey sites, design layouts, cleared sites before construction, but now most firms avoid embarking on such mission as they are susceptible to attacks by either kidnappers or bandits and gunmen.
On safety atsites, Yunusa said: “This has reduced the pace of construction work and sale of building materials, including the engagement of artisans and suppliers.”
“This sector of economy has been slowed down with ripple effects on the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Employment generation, equally, is affected, while the housing needs remain high in all parts of the country.”
The Vice Chairman, Real Estate Developers Association (REDAN), North Central Zone, Muhammad Kudu Muhammad, told The Guardian that insecurity had taken a toll on real estate development in Abuja, Kwara, Niger, Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau states.
Muhammad added that the situation had forced developers to be creative after closing down their sites. “We believe that the higher the risk, the higher the returns will be in the built industry in future.”
He said: “What we are hearing in the media is exaggerated. What we read on insecurity issue is not what really happened in some of the states in the zone.x
“Already, the challenges are there, but some real estate developers are not prepared for the business. They use insecurity as opportunity to run out of construction sites. In Abuja, many have abandoned sites, not because of fear of attacks, but working capital due to the economy,” he stressed.
“Due to the spate of insecurity, we are suffering because we have to adjust our working hours, from 8a.m to 5pm as compared to 7 a.m till 9 p.m. We have joint task force in Kaduna, in terms of community policing, called ‘Strike Force,’and with this, we are able to wave off attacks,” Muhammad said.
He however, stated that they incurred losses in operations, and cost that supposed to be transferred to the end users as a result of title documentations in Kaduna and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Also, Chairman, REDAN Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, Mr. Osilama Osilama, said that developers are afraid of kidnapping, banditry, attacks from gunmen, adding, that the ugly trend had affected the delivering of affordable houses to citizens.
Osilama also stressed that pandemic has disrupted the housing business, market plan and profits; as the lockdown resulted in low patronage, while developers are in-between the buyers and the federal, state and local governments.
“A lot of people today are just saving for survival, and a good number of potential homeowners have adjusted because of insurgency. This period could be best described as ‘just have to stay alive and go through it,” he added.
The Chairman, FCTA Ministerial Taskforce, Mr. Ihkaro Attah, told reporters recently that they had arrested over 150 beggars over insecurity because they realise that their syndicate drops them at strategic positions in the city.
Speaking on insecurity, the Executive Director of Shelter Origins, a faith based group, Mr. Ezekiel Ojo, said they have not experienced any kidnapping and banditry cases on the construction sites in their domain.
Ojo regretted that the issue of attacks by gunmen has been over blown out of proportion in the media, saying: “Our workers are safe and they are working tirelessly to deliver houses to their clients.”