Alhaji Aliyu Oroji Wamakko is a retired customs officer who is into real estate development; an educationist and also a security expert. He is a traditional title holder (Chiroma of Wamakko). He is currently the Chief Executive Officer, JEDO Mass Housing Estate with about 700 houses.
In this no-holds-barred interview with Neptune Prime’s Aisha Rabo and Ummulkhair Akibu, he spoke on various national issues. Excerpts:
Neptune Prime: Good afternoon sir, can you briefly tell us about yourself?
Alhaji Aliyu O. Wamakko: My name is Alhaji Doctor Aliyu Oroji Wamakko, the Chiroma of Wamakko. I am a real estate developer and I am also into education and security but most of our work has been on estate development. I am the Chief Executive Officer, JEDO Mass Housing Estate with about 700 houses. We have developed estates in Kano, Kuje, Suleja and other places.
We have over 100 houses in each of these places. We are in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Family Homes Fund and a lot of government agencies that deal with housing. I am currently the deputy national president of real estate developers and the Chairman, Chief Executive officer of JEDO investment company limited.
NP: You were a custom officer, what was the inspiration behind going into estate management after retirement?
Alhaji Wamakko: Honestly, destiny brought me into estate management and development. I left customs in 2006 and my intention was to create a traveling agency that will cater to people going for Umrah and Hajj, but that plan did not go through. When I started, an opportunity came for a contract between myself and the Prisons Service for the construction of 500 houses, but due to some little issues with the contract givers, we were unable to finish the contract. That was what brought me into housing; it opened the horizon for me and I started from there and was able to start my own estate development company around 2010.
NP: How do you think JEDO Mega-city helps the North and Nigerians as a whole?
Alhaji Wamakko: First of all, JEDO Mega City is right in the North which gives Northerners an advantage. Another good thing about JEDO Mega City is that we are very flexible in our plans and marketing strategies. We have a vast land of about 100 hectares, and it is open for development at an affordable rate to mostly the ordinary income earners, those who are contributors to the National Housing Fund. The ordinary Civil servants and people who may not be able to raise a large lump of money to build, renovate or buy their own houses. People who are looking for mortgages to enable them to get a roof over their heads.
We have so many payment options, ie, if you want to build by yourself, we create an enabling environment for you to do that. If buying of a house is what you want, we create an enabling environment for you to buy a house and pay in piecemeal. Some even go for pay as you rent, we create so many channels and options for people to benefit from. We are trying to create not less than 1500 jobs within the next two years at JEDO Mega City. We are trying to create employment as well as refurbish the microeconomic factors. We have plans for the higher, medium and lower level income earners with flexible payment terms when you purchase our houses.
N.P: What is the National Housing Fund Contribution (NHF)?
Alhaji Wamakko: The National Housing Fund Contribution is a result of an edict that was enacted during the Buhari regime in the 1980s. It was created as a way of creating affordable houses to the population of Nigerians, mostly those who are low-income earners, civil servants and medium-income earners. Every person in the public sector is expected to contribute 2.5% of their salary as a monthly contribution to the National Housing Fund. This 2.5% is warehoused at the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.
What you get out of this is say you contribute for a period of 35 years, your money will be saved, nobody touches it, at the end of your service, you can apply to get it back. The Federal Mortgage bank is required to return all the contributions you made within 14 days with a 2% interest on your contribution.
This allows you to get in touch with a facility that enables you to build, renovate or even buy a house. There are rules and regulations put in place to be followed for the smooth working of this facility. When taking this housing loan or mortgage, you are not expected to bring in any collateral, the house you are going to buy, renovate or build will serve as collateral. You are also not expected to bring a bank guarantee, because you are a civil servant.
Once you apply, you are expected to get an offer, which you then take to a federal mortgage bank, which has been accredited by the central bank of Nigeria. It is when you take the offer to the mortgage bank that you then apply for a loan.
When this was initially set up when a person applies for a loan, they are expected to make a 20% upfront payment as equity contribution, but now, the federal mortgage bank has made it a 10% upfront payment, making it easier on people trying to get a house of their own. After the 10% equity payment, the mortgage bank gives you the balance of 90%, which you will now use. It all depends on your age though, because the retirement age of the person is put into consideration. Which means by 60 years you have to stop. The person now starts paying a meager sum of money monthly till the loan is paid.
Most people, especially people from the North, have no idea something like this exists. Most civil servants do not know what the National Housing Fund’s contribution is, but they contribute to it. They don’t apply to get their money after they complete their service and retire and this is because most of them have no idea what it is. The thing is they do have to apply to get the money, but if they do not apply, they cannot get it. Civil servants have it on their salary slips which have now been converted to an electronic card and it reflects monthly. Most of the retired civil servants have no idea that they have much money they can apply for and collect after service.
Once you have your number and the passbook, the contribution is there, you just have to go to the federal mortgage bank to get it. Another issue is the federal mortgage bank that warehouse this money has done little to educate and create awareness for the civil servants who do these contributions. The federal mortgage banks are reluctant to create awareness for the civil servants because if they do not apply then the bank can keep the money.
Currently, there are over 4.8 million people making contributions. They make over 2.7 billion naira every month from the contributions. The federal mortgage bank has not even paid up to 5% of the people who have been making these contributions for over 30years. The federal mortgage bank should be charged with educating and creating awareness for the people. They should let them know what the advantages are and what they are entitled to in doing these contributions.
NP: What does the ordinary man who is not a civil servant have to do to get in on the National Housing Fund contribution?
Alhaji Wamakko: The fund can be entered into by any interested person(s) who are gainfully employed. All anyone has to do is go to a federal mortgage bank and register your interest in starting a housing contribution with the national housing fund contributions. These contributions reflect in your account whenever you pay into it.
NP: As a Fulani man, what do you think is the cause of the recent problems between the Fulani people and other Nigerians and how can we resolve it?
To be continued.