Residents fume over poor infrastructure in estate
Residents of Penthouse Estate, Lugbe, Abuja, are not happy over continued absence of essential facilities for conducive living at the estate.
As is the case with many estates in the federal capital city, the residents are frustrated over the inability of the estate developer, Penthouse Properties Limited, to provide infrastructure, especially internal roads within the estate, after collecting millions of naira from them.
The residents have complained that since they moved into the estate about eight years ago, they have not received value for their money in terms of infrastructure.
The chairman of the estate’s residents association, Ben Igbinosa, said since he moved into the estate in 2012, the estate has struggled with infrastructure including roads, drainage, water, electricity and security even after each household was compelled to pay an average of N1.3m.
“I bought into the estate in 2011, I completed my house in 2012 and moved in. As at the time I was moving in, I had paid some money on infrastructure but I was told I couldn’t do more until I cleared my infrastructure levy which I also paid. And by the time I packed in there was no water, there were no roads, no electricity and about 450 metre fence was not done. I used my generator for one whole year,” he said.
He said the residents had to take pragmatic steps in ensuring that they got electricity by doing the Bills of Quantity for the electrification of the estate, before the developer was forced to fix the electricity.
He said most of the houses were built by subscribers after buying the land for an average of about N2m. The estate comprises of about 400 houses.
Igbinosa said everyone was asked to pay the sum of N1.3m for a 2 bedroom apartment, N1.4m for a 3 bedroom apartment and N1.6m for a 4 bedroom apartment as infrastructural levy, and that majority of the residents have paid yet they were forced to provide some of the infrastructure themselves.
“When we kept on complaining about the state of infrastructure in the estate and tried to get the owner of the property firm, Mr Segun Olu Ibukun, to use the money we have paid to provide the infrastructure, he then began to complain that most people have not paid their levy. It was then that we realized that he granted a whole lot of waivers to some people. He granted concession of N500,000 to about 100 people”.
Igbinosa who said the residents had earlier tasked themselves and collected over N40 million to construct the access road to the estate, noted that the major worry for them now is the construction of the estate’s internal roads, stressing that they had to tax themselves N800,000 each in order to do remedial grading before the rains start. He however added that the developer has been sending text messages to the residents telling them not to contribute and promising that he would fix the roads.
“We resolved to make contributions to solve problems rather than wait for him. That was what we did in the case of access roads, as the estate we were driving through locked us out. We had to appeal to the adjoining estate for passage and we again taxed ourselves N100,000 each to do the 1.5km access road which we finished about six months ago and which everybody uses to access the estate presently,” he said.
He said the developer promised to start work on the roads (in May 2018) but “he never showed up.”
“What he said then was that he needed an additional N250m and that if we could do access road on our own there was no reason why we could not join him to do the internal roads.”
The residents’ association chairman therefore insisted that the developer should fix the roads since he has collected money for the infrastructure, adding that if he cannot do that then he should allow the residents sort it out without causing confusion.
“All the promises he made he has not fulfilled them. This is the eighth year. We cannot continue to wait for him. We have decided to cut our losses and do something about it. But he is now confusing the residents by telling them not to contribute,” he said.
Also speaking, another resident, Akin Ogidi, said he started building his house in the estate when they started tarring some parts of the roads, thinking the roads would be completed.
“All of a sudden they stopped the road work and it has been like that since 2011. By the time I moved in there was no light, there was no water and we kept making efforts for him (the developer) to at least provide water and electricity for us, he didn’t provide any. I had to get a borehole for myself,” he said.
Ogidi noted that efforts had been made over the years to get the developer to meet his own end of the bargain, but it appeared the developer had defrauded them.
Responding, Segun Olu Ibukun, owner of Penthouse Estate Limited, told our correspondent he will not comment on the issue, as the matter was already in court until the case has been determined.
“Most of what they have told you is not true; they have just come up with their own stories. When you talk about infrastructure you are basically talking about the roads, electricity and water.
“Electricity and water have been provided, part of the road has been provided and we intend to start work on the road maybe by February. But most importantly I am not going to talk about that any longer;, what I am going to say is that we have a pending matter in court, it will be irresponsible of me to discuss anything concerning that until the court case is determined,” he said.
The estate residents’ association chairman, Mr. Igbinosa, however, said the issues the residents have raised had nothing to do with the court. He said, “the court cases we have against him are because he was selling off the green areas and also because he was making himself the sole facility manager of the estate. Those are the two issues that are in court.”
PentHouse Estate in Lugbe