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COOPLAG flags off ambitious housing estate in Banana Island

The project is sited on a 12,000SQM of land and will consist of 32 units of 5-bedroom semi-detached triplexes, 24 units of 4-bedroom flats, 4 units of 3-Bedroom Penthouse on a highrise of 7 floors.


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A model of the Autograph by COOPLAG

Shell Staff Cooperative Investment and Thrift Society, COOPLAG has flagged off the construction of a signature housing estate in one of Nigeria's most expensive piece of real estate, Banana Island, Ikoyi Lagos.

Named “The Autograph by COOPLAG”, the ambitious world-class housing project will be one of the biggest projects to be undertaken by COOPLAG so far.

The General Manager of COOPLAG, Yinka Omidosu told Nigeria Today at the ground-breaking ceremony on Saturday that the project is sited on a 12,000SQM of land and will consist of 32 units of 5-bedroom semi-detached triplexes, 24 units of 4-bedroom flats, 4 units of 3-Bedroom Penthouse on a highrise of 7 floors.

“It’s a project we are hoping to complete within 24 months. Everything external about the project will be done. Infrastructure in the estate will be done including a playground, swimming pool, power supply and other facilities that world-class estate deserves,” he said.

The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by several dignitaries including the Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNPECO, Mr Bayo Ojulari, Federal Director of Cooperative, Abuja, Alhaji Idris Ali Sani, Managing Director of Cooperative Mortgage Bank, Kabir Tukur, Executive Director of Access Bank, Mr Victor Etuokwu and President of COOPLAG Mr Rotimi Akintomide.

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The Managing Director of SNEPCO, Mr Bayo Ojulari, while congratulating all COOPLAG members on the project noted it was an important step in the quest to reduce Nigeria’s housing deficit, adding that Nigerians can draw inspiration from the project on how best to leverage collective investment.

He said: “The more Nigerians who can own their own houses and get out of the whole renting thing, the less the pressure on the overall society. So, that’s the first thing for me about this project. The second thing is that projects like this also helps to build confidence in the minds of other people that it is possible.

“What is happening is that a lot of people in Nigeria try to do things on an individual basis. When you see two, three or four people come together, things are a lot easier. What the cooperative society demonstrates is that even something you cannot achieve individually, collectively, you can achieve it.

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Managing Director of SNEPCO, Mr Bayo Ojulari laying a foundation block during the ceremony

“I can tell you, that hardly will any of the members, on their own, afford a land here now, just based on their salary and everything even if they save. It is not easy. But when you see quite several people come together, it is much easier to buy the land and then over time you then build.

“So, the example I hope this will also show to Nigerians is that we should not always be thinking of doing things on our own. So, I think this is a reminder to Nigerians that it is time to form more cooperatives. And collectively, a lot of projects like this which people think are unattainable suddenly becomes achievable.”

He added: “The vision for us is that housing, like in most other developed countries, should not be something that puts people under immense stress. Housing is a basic need in life. Apart from food, it is the next basic thing, and for me, all Nigerians should be at a point having a good shelter of choice should not be far-fetched.”

Also, read COOPLAG Trade Expo 2019: How one of Nigeria's largest trade expo ended with fanfare

Also speaking, Federal Director of Cooperative, Alhaji Idris Ali Sani, described the COOPLAG project as an important project in the federal government’s drive to reduce housing deficit.

“We are all aware of the existing housing deficit in Nigeria which has been a serious challenge to our governments for decades. To address this, the government has been adopting different schemes aimed at encouraging Nigerians to acquire affordable homes, some which include the establishment of FMBN, federal government housing scheme, federal staff housing loans board and other similar schemes by state governments. Despite all these efforts, the gap of housing needs by Nigerians is still very wide and is growing day by day,” he stated in an address.

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Federal Director of Cooperative, Alhaji Idris Ali Sani laying a foundation block during the ceremony

Continuing, he said: “This development also necessitated the involvement of private housing developers who build and sell houses to Nigerians particularly civil servants and other business owners at an agreed instalment payment rate.

“Shell Staff Investment and Thrift Cooperative Society (COOPLAG) is playing a greater role in this regard as we had witnessed in the past, the commissioning of their estates and witnessing today, the ground-breaking ceremony of laying the foundation for another new housing estate. This is quite commendable.”

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Executive Director, Access Bank PLC, Mr Victor Etuokwu also laying a foundation block during the ceremony

According to him, it has become “impertinent to draw our attention to the need for Nigerians to be more focused and harness the abundant opportunities that exist in our great nation. Nigerians have no reason to be sleeping under the bridges or paying exorbitant rent.

“Let me use this opportunity to make a special plea to Nigerians to organise themselves into registered cooperatives under the enterprise they operate; this will provide them with an ideal platform to link up with relevant mortgage institutions like the Cooperative Mortgage Bank, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, and many more to benefit from their services”.

On his part, the President of COOPLAG, Mr Rotimi Akintomide said the project has become a dream come true for him as one under whose watch the project was conceived. He assured that his passing on the baton to another set of management committee by next year would not pose any threat to the completion of the project.

He said: “Personally, it has been a personal dream. I happened to have lived close to a Shell estate in Satellite town. So being able to come up with projects on behalf of my members, makes today one of my best days as a cooperative member and as a Shell staff.

“At COOPLAG, we have been known for keeping our eyes on the ball. So, when the time comes for an election, succession, every member is passionate about how their funds will be preserved. And so, I have no doubt in me that the succession, as usual, will be seamless. And let me shock you, whoever is going to succeed me because of our succession framework, will definitely take us to the next level.

“I believe that our exit won’t become a hindrance to the completion of this project, because until the last day, we will close-mark this project. And even when we hand it over, there will be a transition engagement where we will let them know where we stopped and where they need to pick up from. And we would always be behind the scene to support the next management committee. Don’t forget that I was also handed over 168 units of COOPLAG gardens and we successfully completed it. And that’s our model.”

With several housing schemes successfully completed in Lagos and Port Harcourt to serve hundreds of its members, COOPLAG is now reputed for its invaluable contribution to Nigeria's drive to plug a staggering housing deficit which is estimated at over 20 million units.

Watch the groundbreaking ceremony below:

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