By Andy Esiet
The recent Public Private Partnership Initiative between Rivers Government and a private concern, Afriprops Development Company, Limited, for Port Harcourt’s new city housing development at Olive Crest Estate had no doubt been trending in Nigeria’s South-South.
The development under the leadership of Gov. Nyesom Wike is aimed primarily at bridging what Afriprops management called the widening gap of housing needs in Nigeria and generally and Rivers State in particular.
It also follows a passionate appeal by Power, Works and Housing Minister, Mr Babatunde Fashola, to real estate developers in Nigeria to price their developments to fit current economic realities.
Of course the need for affordable housing, whether pro-poor or not, has always been a primary objective in the hierarchy of needs for humanity including those residing in Nigeria, Rivers and other cities across the country.
But experts believe that such needs are also largely dependent on policies and political will of government.
Speaking at the official signing and hand-over ceremony of Olive Crest Estate site to Afriprops by the Rivers government at the New Rivers Vision House, Igwuruta-Ali, Engr. Francis Njoku, Afriprops’ Managing Director, said the PPP arrangement was desirable for affordable homes for Nigerians.
He said that the handover ceremony for the development of Olive Crest Estate performed by Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority (GPHCDA) to Afriprops“aimed primarilyat bridging the widening gap of housing needs in Nigeria generally and Rivers in particular.
Njoku, who also expressed optimism that the estate would reduce the widening housing deficit in the country, disclosed that Nigeria currently has a housing deficit of about 17 million.
According to him, Rivers being one of the most industrialised states in Nigeria with three-times the size of Lagos has a good percentage of that deficit.
“The estate covers 46.11 hectares of prime land comprising of residential built area, site and services for residential and commercial plots. It is our desire to create and build not just houses, but homes for maximum comfort and class,2 Njoku said.
Njoku also lauded the state government’s investor-friendly initiative and its “very transparent process that produced Afriprops’’ as one of the partners that would work for the housing and home development in the new city.
He also assured that Olive Crest Estate would be self-sustaining, equipped with 24 hours electricity supply; underground cabling system; industrial borehole water treatment plant and water reticulation and storm water drainage.
He said the facility would be equipped with smart technologies; water parks and ample parking space; swimming pool, restaurants and bar and sporting and recreational facilities, among others to demonstrate Afriprops’ commitment to the partnership with the Rivers State Government.
He said that Afriprops, will also build its Regional office and asset Management Company within the estate, assuring that the project would be completed with specifications as cited in its Memorandum of Understanding with GPHCDA.
He said that some of the features expected at the new estate included “Global C of O with deeds of sub-lease and Deed of Assignment of 75 years’’.
The company currently runs a promo on Olive Estate to give away what it termed great and mouth-watering discounts of up to 30 per cent to “early birds’’ stakeholders willing to subscribe within 90 days
On its part the Rivers Government also restated her desire to hand over the development of housing estates in some parts of the new city currently undergoing construction to private investors.
Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, the Chairman, Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, (GPHCDA), reassured on government’s intention at the occasion.
He said that by the development, Afriprops, a leading real estate management, property development, infrastructure concessioning and infrastructure contracting company of choice in Nigeria, was expected to address housing deficit in Rivers.
He noted that Afriprops would collaborate with GPHCDA to build new homes and state-of-the-art facilities at Olive Crest Estate in the new city.
Alabrabra said: “We look forward to an estate that will help populate Greater Port Harcourt because any city without people is a ghost city.’’
According to him Gov. Nyesom Wike is ever committed to bridging the housing gap adding that GPHCDA is very happy, willing to welcome, partner willing investors like Afriprops for the development of the new city.
He also pointed out that a major obligation of Gov. Wike’s administration is to provide land for the development of massive housing and estates for the people.
Alabraba also expressed the hope that since the land had been provided by government for the actualization of the project Afriprops was expected start work immediately as soon as all contract formalities were concluded.
Also present at the signing and site handover ceremony were Mr Victor Halliday, a Director of Afriprops and Directors of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority including its Administrator, Ambassador Desmond Akawor