They said they were under pressure from their landlords to leave the flats they were presently staying. They explained that since they thought that they would move into their new apartments after winning the draw last year, they had made known their intention to leave.
The winners, who belonged to the Mushin scheme, said despite paying millions of naira into government coffers for the required 30 per cent commitment fee, the state had yet to complete the project.
The residents, who declined to give their full names so as not to be victimised, appealed to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to “intervene urgently”.
One of them, Akin, told our correspondent that he won a three-bedroom flat in the September 2014 draw, and paid N5.2m.
He said, “I was asked to pay 30 per cent of the total money within 14 working days. I paid N5.2m, which was the commitment fee.
“The timetable they gave us showed that I was supposed to move in around December. But they later said it was not feasible, pleading that I should give them more time.
“I am in a fix now because nobody is communicating with me. I have been served a notice to quit by my landlord because I told him I had got a new place and would be moving out last year.”
Another beneficiary, Ladi, said he paid for the scheme with all his life savings.
He said relatives and neighbours whom he told that he had become a landlord now made mockery of him.
Ladi, a civil servant, said, “As we speak now, the place is not habitable. There is no water or electricity and the few people on the site said the government was starving the contractors of funds. I gave my life savings to this project and the painful thing is that I have nothing to show for it.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that the management of the Lagos HOMS, during a meeting with the beneficiaries, apologised for the delay and promised to meet with Ambode.
Fisayo, who won a two bedroom flat, told our correspondent it was agreed that they would get a feedback two weeks later, but the representatives failed to do so.
He said, “We wanted to be part of the delegation to the governor, but they said it was not necessary. They said they would get back to us in two weeks, but three weeks later, there was no communication. After we sent many messages to their email address, they finally replied us that our grievances had been forwarded to the appropriate channels.”
A copy of the reply from the reprsentatives, which was obtained by our correspondent, urged the winners to be patient with the management of the scheme.
It read in part, “We have put together all the issues with the various schemes and forwarded them to the various authorities. We have been informed that these issues are being looked into in order to provide the best solution. Please continue to bear with us.”
Another winner, Odunlade, said transparency was lacking in the scheme.
“I have been served a notice to quit by my landlord, but I have nowhere to go. I have been left in the dark. I paid N5m and I have been left stranded,” he added.
A civil servant, Modupe, told PUNCH Metro that her landlord had already put up her apartment for rent.
“ My landlord has put up my apartment for rent and people have been coming in and out,” she said.
She appealed to Ambode to look into the matter, adding that she believed that the governor did not know about their plight.
Another beneficiary, Chidi, said, “They should tell us when they will complete the place. And they should give us value for our money. A three-bedroom flat is N17.2m. At 19 per cent interest rate, that makes it N25m in the long run.”
PUNCH Metro was told that winners in the Igando and Sangotedo schemes were also affected.
Our correspondent, who visited the site on Monday, observed that the five blocks of flats, which were awarded to four contractors, had already been painted.
The project, which is under the New Towns Development Authority, was supposed to be completed within 52 weeks.
When our correspondent opened the gate, the site was overgrown with weed. A few minutes later, three men entered with a sack.
When asked about the state of the project, one of them, said, “I don’t know why the people have not moved in. The buildings have been painted. I am not a government official and cannot tell what the problem is.”
An employee of Fadepo Nigeria Limited, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, urged the winners to be patient.
The man, who did not mention his name, said, “We are trying to round off. I cannot give a specific time. It remains just the fittings.”
A representative of Lagos HOMS, who did not identify herself, told PUNCH Metro that the management of the scheme was awaiting the delivery of the keys from the contractors.
She said, “The place is still under construction and the home builders have yet to hand over the keys to us. Once they do that, we will contact the winners and give them their apartments.
“Our directors had a meeting with the governor. Whenever they have a positive response, it will be related to the winners. They should be patient.”