MURPHY ADEBARE, a real estate professional and Managing Director of Milling Coast and Topaz Gardens is no doubt a housing guru. Adebare has been in the business of roads and building construction for a while. And while appraising his youthfulness, energy, passion for quality housing construction, Adebara has uniquely carved out a niche for himself in the building industry. Within 12 years of its existence, his housing firm, TOPAZ GARDENS AND PROPERTIES is not only a household name in Abuja, Lagos, Port-Harcourt but also in over seven African countries. Recently, Adebare speaks with selected journalists and appeal to governments at all levels to prioritize peoples’ basic needs of food, clothing and shelter as the only panacea to mass uprising.
Sir, can you share some of your success stories with us?
My job is to build houses and develop a city. I do this as the MD of TOPAZ GARDENS. My firm has estates and housing properties scattered in all over Africa and very soon, we’ll expand overseas. We have done a lot of developmental projects in TOPAZ GARDENS. We have built houses, roads as we are also into civil constructions too. We are into dredging, blocks construction, properties development and we have gone far in the business. We have executed too many projects with lots of people, companies, etc. I think for the past 12 years now, we have executed about 5 to 7 housing units which were estate schemed, not only in Lagos and Abuja or Nigeria but across the land of West Africa.
Can you please compare or contrast government policies on housing in places you’ve done businesses?
Actually, with what we have achieved in South Africa, I think South Africa government is really trying ahead of its Nigerian counterpart because they are helping real estates like us to develop ourselves. They believe in providing homes to people and they also believed in we are in a good position to do that. Nigeria is not yet there in term of quality policies to facilitate housing business. We hope we will get there because there are no such facilities for us in Nigeria. You have to struggle on your own to try spring up your company and you have to be able to get your own money.
The capital to start operating is not there. There is no housing mortgage for Nigerians. The mortgages we hear in the news are for the mighty and well-connected politicians. They are not accessible. We are looking unto the government to give us mortgage loans. By doing this, lots of homeless Nigerians will be sheltered.
But Nigeria has policies for mortgage loan and there are mortgage banks in Nigeria (cuts in)
You cannot access Nigeria mortgage loan, it’s not possible because. it’s depends on people you know before they can give you mortgage for housing project. If Nigeria government is telling you they will give you mortgage, you should know they’re just trying to deceive the public, ask any real estate how many of them has access to the federal government mortgage, they are just trying to deceive the public. A common man cannot have mortgage in Nigeria, it’s not possible. And in term of government’s support for self-growth in this business, Lagos state government is this worse.
What Makes Lagos State Government different?
Lagos state is not helping matters for people like us. We are helping Lagos state government to develop Lagos into modern city and at the end of the day when you do so, the same government will appear suddenly and seized your house and grab your land.
Lagos state government is fond of seizing peoples’ land in the name of public interest. They may claim the land will be used for Agriculture or infrastructural development only to seize the land and started selling within themselves. They’ll give you all different kinds of excuses and all that in their attempt bto seize your legitimate properties.
Has the Lagos State Government Seized Your Land Before?
They seized my land in Sangotedo area. They seized another one in Lekki Eleko. The state government is notorious in land grabbing. Officials of the state government are grabbing lands with impunity and disregard to rule of law and most especially the present administration. They will grab your lands and sell it again. But by law, government doesn’t have the right to sell Lands. It’s only Lagos state that does. They seized lands indiscrimately, demolish peoples’ homes and render them homeless. That is why you see too many touts and people sleeping under the bridges.
Successive government in Lagos is fond of seizing peoples’ lands and reselling seized lands to their cronies. The present administration is the worst administration I have ever seen in term of grabbing people lands and rendering peoples’ homeless.
They have a lot of excuses, you know when a thief wants to steal your things, they will definitely bring such excuses to grab your land. They will tell you that you don’t have a document and when they tell you you don’t have a document, these same people will revoke your document and give to another people.
They will say they want to use it for public use and that’s the main trick the Lagos state government uses, at the end of the day, they will start selling it to individuals and they would have revoked the document in your possession.
Have You Ever Seek Redress in Court?
We are already in court; Lagos state does not
obey the court of law. Go and ask anybody, Lagos state does not obey the law, they are the ones that make the Law and they are the ones that break it. That’s the painful truth. What Lagos state is doing, they are inviting what happens to Arab world to Lagos.
They’re condemning cultism when the family are homeless, what do you expect the children to do. When you say no to cultism and you render families homeless, the families in Oreki Lekki homeless and you say you condemn cultism. Somebody that is homeless with lots of children, what you are expecting from them, we should all think about it.
What’s Your Appeal to Government As Regards Housing business?
I appeal that government should repent because most of them have sold their hearts to the devil because of the love of money. Can you imagine, the present governor is close to 60 and he’s still joining himself into these kind of things, what else do you want to use money again for. At the age 60 ,55 going to 60. If a man that’s almost 60, what kind of food does he want to eat again
We as indigenous Lagosians, we are going to stop them, we will not cause any violence but we will stop them by the same law they made. I have never imagined that somebody in this 21st century will not obey the court of law, how can the government destroy houses without a court order.
This present administration have destroyed over 20 locations in Ajah town, from Lekki town to Epe, they have destroyed a place in Oniru side which they are already in court, they destroyed a settlement in Jakande, they are still in court, they destroyed Okun Aja side which they are still in court, they destroyed my own land in Sangotedo which we are still in court, they destroyed Oreki Lekki, which we are still in court but funny enough, they don’t obey court orders.
What Are They Using The Seized Land For?
What they do, I have told you, they will lie that it’s for public use and at the end of the day they will begin to sell the land to another company.
Let me give you an example, Lagosians and Nigerians as a whole should be careful about those companies that are mentioned, they destroyed people’s lands in Eleko and sold it for Gracias homes, they sell it for real estate Delight companies, they sold it to other real estate in Eleko, they are presently working on the land.
Were They Challenged in Court in Places You Mentioned Too?
The court injunction stopped them but they did not abide by the law because what they do is they will grab your land and position their police there. Go to my land in Sangotedo, you will still see police there. How can somebody be so evil, how can they position police that are supposed to protect the people against the people. You’re corrupting the Nigeria Police Force by positioning them on lands that you grabbed.
What’s Your Advice For The So Call Victims of Alleged Land seizure?
Our problem in Nigeria is that everybody believes that government is bigger than everything but I’m telling you now that most of our Nigeria people are not following due process. If government grabs your lands, what you need to do is take them to court. Many people don’t believe that you can win government but I will give you one hope which is that, “there is no court case that Lagos State concerning land that have taken to court that they have won since 2000. Lagos state has never won any land case in case you don’t know