We live in a country where people hardly believe that anything works. I won’t blame anyone for this mentality anyway. A country where citizens would wake up only to be told that funds that’s almost equal to the annual budget of a modest state in the country has been discovered stashed away in some luxury flat and months down the line; no one has told Nigerians who stashed the funds away; people are free to conclude on matters the way they feel. However; since I am a major player in the country’s Affordable Housing sub-sector drive; I am privy to very useful developments in this. I can confidently tell Nigerians that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria is working again. The National Housing Scheme is putting roofs over the heads of Nigerians!
It all started out in early 2015 when I assisted my good friend Andrew; an Architect who runs a private firm to register with the National Housing Funds scheme. Before we could come to terms on the registration exercise, Andrew was a foremost critic of the Mortgage sub-sector of the Nigerian Housing sector. He had tales to tell of his father who made series of botched efforts right up to the days of the Jakande Administration In Lagos state. There was nothing you could say to convince Andrew. He narrated to me how as a young boy, he watched his father’s property being thrown into the streets by men of the then Lagos Property Company from a house he was said to have been allocated as a successful beneficiary from a Mortgage process five years after the property was allocated to him.

To Andrew; the word Mortgage only reminded him of that very sad experience. The only way to save him further agony was to avoid discussing Mortgage in his presence. It was this bad.
In March 2015, I got involved in processing a number of Clients; mostly of the informal sector for the National Housing Funds Facility towards owning their own houses. The day I would submit their registration forms; Andrew drove in with a friend of his who was in need of urgent legal services. I requested for two of his photo passports which he willingly obliged without questioning. I then pushed an NHF2 form and directed him to sign the necessary portions; he did without necessarily asking questions.

He would have thought it was part requirement for the company incorporation I was handling for him then. I submitted it along the other Applications and actually made an initial deposit of twelve thousand naira into the account with my personal money. I kept on furnishing the account with the monthly remittance of two thousand, five hundred naira till sometimes in November when the account was mature for loan application. Again, at this point, I was packing a set of clients for Housing offer through a developer, working with a Mortgage Loan Originator.

When I got to a point where I felt I could now win his confidence; I invited him to my office in Anthony Village, Lagos and notified him of this development and informed him of all I had done for him to successfully access the HNF funds for a housing option of his. I was shocked at his reaction. Andrew looked at me in the face for a moment and said; “barrister, if you cherish this relationship; drop this discussion…”

Akhigbe Dominic

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