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SPEECH OF HON. JIMOH AJAO SPECIAL ADVISER TO THE GOVERNOR ON HOUSING


I am honoured to receive you all today for the second time in a year on the issue of Real Estate Transaction. Today’s workshop is what I might pragmatically call the Re-launching of Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Department (LASRETRAD).

I am also extremely proud to be the Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State that has such a vast store - house of the best human, energy and capital on offer anywhere in the world. That the challenges of Real Estate Transaction in Lagos State is complex cannot, but be an acceptable reality; but our partnership with you have lifted our spirit, and have encouraged us to carry on the battle to take Lagos to the realm of true and sustainable minimum level of human development for all our people as it relates to Real Estate Transaction.

Perhaps you may ask, what are these minimum levels that are generally acceptable by developed economies around the world? A reasonable level of predictable and trustworthy Real Estate Transaction frame work, a decent and uplifting housing accommodation fit for all Lagosians, affordable accommodation with decent sanitary and leisure friendly environment.

Ladies and gentlemen, your presence here today, relate to the extreme fundamental aspect of Real Estate Transaction and our theme: CODE OF CONDUCT OF ESTATE AGENCY PRACTICE IN LAGOS STATE.

This we can clearly acknowledge impacts on all other aspects of our governance, vision and indeed other facets of our business activities. As we all know and by now appreciate, beyond the usual challenges of touting by unscrupulous Estate Agents, fraud of all kinds on Real Estate are now becoming prevalent. Hence, hardly will you pass through a street without seeing the inscription ‘‘CAVEAT EMPTOR’’, ‘‘BUYERS BEWARE OF 419’’, ‘‘THIS PROPERTY IS NOT FOR SALE’’ on buildings. Lagos State faces these peculiar problems because of its sheer human density driven by ever increasing population due to endless survival rate and economic driven immigration.

For those who attended the first unveiling of LASRETRAD, you will recall the dire situation we were in. In a state with so much educated elites, artisans, industrialist, merchants, vibrant press and people from diverse ethnic groups, “Real Estate Transaction cannot be an all comers affair”, if we want to remain an international player in real estate business.

As I made clear to you then, the situation was truly desperate and something had to be done. To drive this Real Estate based economy and further facilitate trade in Real Estate in Lagos State, our transaction must be transparent. Now that this Government has successfully established LASRETRAD as a regulatory and administrative body to institutionalise our collective response to Real Estate related fraud, we must help ourselves by continuing what we have started because we are all involved in the first instance.  

As the audit and activity report of the department has shown barely few months in operation, the issue of agents collecting fees from principals, clients and the third party on the same transaction must be discussed. Percentage of agency fees to be charged determined, and issue of acceptable bill boards on display needs to be clarified. Also the use of make shifts or unacceptable office accommodation have to be resolved.

May I at this junction inform this gathering that LASRETRAD is currently proposing a training academy for untrained / unenlightened Estate Agents.                

Confidence, in the business of Real Estate in Lagos State which is in tandem with the mission statement of this department i.e. an articulated transaction mechanism that will sustain Lagos position as an investment destination in Africa, must be established.

Fraud is a business, and as our response becomes more successful, the members of the criminal fraternity have become more creative, our law enforcement Agents, especially the Nigeria Police have a big role to play here. It is the responsibility of everyone to nip in the bud the activities of quacks and all other illegal trade practices on Real Estate Transaction in Lagos State. We need to sensitize on attitudinal change and ensure protection of citizens from all forms of extortion when seeking accommodation.

These are our primary goals and with your support, I know we can achieve them.

As we remain committed to our vision to provide affordable accommodation and policy framework that will drive the sector, we do not accept that any difficulty is insurmountable. We therefore ask you to join us on this journey of great expectation to deliver a credible regulatory framework that will sustain Lagos position as an investment flourishing post, a pride and favoured destination of Africa.

Thank you and have a fruitful deliberation.

 

Hon. Jimoh Ajao

S.A. (Housing).