By Benprince Ezeh
THE Board of Trustees, BOT, and Executive Committee, EXCO of 1004 estates Homeowners and Residents Association, HORA, has said that the video making the rounds on social media on the state of the estate with clear defamatory comments on the management of the estate is all false.
A statement signed by Femi Gbenle, legal officer of the association on September 27, stated that the allegations of mismanagement of outlandish sums of money by the associations are untrue.
“We thank all those who have reached out to us with questions and concerns as well as with words of support and encouragement. We wish to inform the public that most of the claims in that video are no more than a mix of falsehood layered with half-truths. Most of the content of their video does not reflect the current state of the estate.
“Our lawyers have been briefed to act on the clearly libellous attack on members of the BOT, EXCO, and other homeowners who have been defamed in that video and other false and negative publications. The merchants of blackmail, falsehood as well as the platforms, which they use, will face the full weight of the law.
“For the public, we state unequivocally that there is no ₦5bn or any other falsely quoted sum in 1004 estates that have been mismanaged or misappropriated. The key purveyors of these false claims are well known in the Estate for several infractions that include: non-payment of rent, service charge, and theft of electricity. Having been sanctioned for these infractions (consistent with the Estate bye-laws), and curbed by our recent press conference and the attendant public outcry, they have resorted to outright lies and half-truths via social media and negative press to divert attention from their illegal activities,” he said.
According to the association, members of the BOT, EXCO, as well as the various committees, are professionals who volunteer to serve the Estate pro bono and derive no pecuniary benefit from their office. “Anyone with a contrary claim should not stop at making cheap mobile videos but publish their evidence. The current EXCO is headed by Barrister ‘Lara Ademola who only became acting chairman in March 2020. General meetings are held twice a year in line with the provisions of the 1004 HORA Constitution, to give updates, including financial reports to Homeowners and Residents, and to also receive feedback.
“Suffice it to say that the Estate, like all other estates, is run from annual service charges collected from homeowners and residents. For the year 2020, the budgeted service charge is N626, 000.00 per flat, and for 2019 it was N546, 000.00. It is pertinent to point out that as of September 20th, 2020, collection rate for the full 2019 service charge was 85%, while for the current year – 2020 only 40% of the apartments in the Estate have fully paid, while 45% have paid half as at same date. Meanwhile, due to its complexity, the Estate provides a suite of services, using professional service providers, which most estates in Nigeria do not provide.
“These services include 24hrs power supply; water treatment and supply; Security; cleaning and gardening; waste (including sewage) collection and disposal; elevators; clubhouses; maintenance of common areas/facilities; and recreational facilities. 1004 Estate has 1,074 apartments and average collection rate annually is 60% – 70%. In the last 5 years, the average service charge amount has been about ₦500,000.00 This year is the first time since 2015 when 1004HORA took over management of the Estate, that service charge will amount to over ₦600,000.00,” the association stated.
The association said that one of the main attractions of the Estate is the 24-hour electricity supply, using a blend of public power and generators. “Unfortunately, the Estate has some residents who rather than pay for their electricity prefer to steal power by bypassing their meters. A forensic audit of our power account showed that over 40% of Residents in the Estate were involved in power theft. This organized power theft was so prevalent that it brought the power infrastructure to the brink of collapse, as receivables could no longer sustain power delivery to dues-paying Residents.
“At a point, the deficit from power theft was over ₦185 million and rising. These power theft and illegal connections apart from the financial impact also poses a danger of fire to the Estate. The firm stance of 1004 HORA under the Chairmanship of Barr Lara Ademola, in fighting these criminal acts has attracted extreme hostility and propaganda against her and other HORA officials, Homeowners, and the BOT by these perpetrators.
“Some concerns had been raised by residents and well-meaning members of the public on the structural integrity of our buildings in the Estate, especially the high-rise buildings. To address these concerns, a firm of structural engineers was engaged to carry out an integrity audit of the buildings, and their expert assessment reassured of the structural integrity of the buildings. They also affirmed that there is no impending danger of collapse of the structures,” it stated.
They said: “We are, however, not oblivious of the façade of the buildings and the need to improve on this. It is important to note that when the apartments were sold, it was mandatory for each buyer/homeowner to pay ₦300,000.00 as Asset Replacement Fund to be pooled for capital development and refurbishment of the Estate.
“The funds totalled about ₦322 Million at the time. Unfortunately, the then facility Managers, Messers 1004 Estate Limited, a company owned by Samuel Ukpong, with whom these funds were domiciled, failed to release the funds when the management of the Estate was taken over by 1004 HORA. We are currently in court with this company to release the funds with accrued interest believed to now be in the region of ₦600million. In February 2020 an Estate Refurbishment Committee was set up to coordinate the execution of needed civil, mechanical, and electrical works to improve the look and value of the Estate. This exercise is currently ongoing.
“On September 18, 2020, 1004 HORA held a press conference to draw attention to the threat to life, property, and peaceful enjoyment in the Estate by the same persons who engage in electricity theft and non-payment of service charge, but enjoy the protection of the Bar Beach Police DPO against sanctions imposed by the Estate in line with our community bye-laws.
“These are the facts of the matter, to which we have solid documentary evidence to show, we implore the public to be guided by the truth and not be deceived by falsehood. We ask that all members of the press and bloggers kindly verify all facts before publication,” the association said.
They also made clear that all homeowners and residents in 1004 Estate are united in the desire for a peaceful, harmonious, and family-friendly environment. “We, therefore, wish the public to know that all the perpetrators of falsehood and disharmony in the estate shall be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes; however, no matter how long and how far a lie has travelled, the truth always catches up with it,” they said.
– Oct. 2, 2020 @ 09:45 GMT |