Housing Minister, Fashola inaugurates 100 housing units in Ogbomosho

Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, has inaugurated 100 housing units in Ogbomosho, Oyo state, a project funded by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).

Inaugurating the housing units on Friday, Fashola said meeting the housing needs of Nigerians was a major priority of the Federal Government.

He commended the bank, the developer and other stakeholders, who contributed to the completion of the project.

Fashola pledged the commitment of the Federal Government to support programmes aimed at engaging youths and making them contribute to the development of the country.

He said the FMBN had since the inception of the current administration in the country contributed significantly to efforts being made to address the housing needs of Nigeria.

In his remarks, Mr Richard Esin, the Acting Managing Director of the FMBN, said a construction loan of N561.2 million was advanced to the developer, Viva Construction Ltd, to deliver the 100 housing units.

He said 48 of the units were three-bedroom semi-detached bungalows, 40 two-bedroom semi-detached bungalows and 12 one-bedroom terrace bungalows.

He further said the bank was currently funding various housing projects across the country.

Esin said the projects were being funded from the resources of the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme.

”The NHF is a scheme into which Nigerian workers in the public and private sector, earning a minimum of N3,000 per annum, contribute 2.5 per cent of their monthly income.

”On the basis of their consistency in the contribution, Nigerian workers become eligible for mortgage loans at a concessionary interest rate of six per cent,” he said.


Source: NAN

FG to inject N500Bn into mortgage bank to tackle housing deficit – Minister

The Federal Government says it will inject N500 billion into the Federal Mortgage Bank to enable it meet the housing needs of Nigerians.

Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Baba, who disclosed this on Monday in Jalingo, said the measure would help the the bank to adequately cater for the rising mortgage finance needs of workers.

Mr. Baba spoke while inaugurating the ministerial pilot housing scheme project, financed by the Federal Mortgage Bank in the Taraba capital.

He commended the bank’s efforts toward meeting the challenge of housing deficit, in spite of the economic challenges facing the nation.

The minister urged workers to continue to contribute to the housing fund, adding that government would soon commence the construction of 5,000 housing units in each state of the federation, under the public-private partnership arrangement.

Gov. Darius Ishaku, in his remarks, said that the inauguration would reduce the housing needs of civil servants in Taraba.

Represented by his deputy, Haruna Manu, the governor thanked the contractor for delivering a quality job.

He said the state government was interested in working with the federal mortgage bank and the federal ministry of power, works and housing, toward building more houses for the people of the state.

“We are equally doing our best to meet the housing needs of the fast growing population, following the relocation of some people into the state, as a result of insurgency in some northeastern states.

“The state government has already acquired land to build 500 housing units in partnership with some development partners,” he said.

Earlier, National President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Boboi Kaigama, had called on the state government to subsidise the cost of the houses for its workers.

He explained that civil servants could hardly afford the N7million pegged for a 3 bedroom semi-detached bungalow.

Mr. Kaigama also called on the federal ministry of power, works and housing to consider local government workers in the housing scheme of the federal government, so as to give them a sense of belonging.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inaugurated 202 housing estates has 24 one-bedroom Terrace going for N3.2 million, 88 two-bedroom Bungalows at N5.6 million, and 90 three-bedroom bungalows at N7 million.


Source: NAN

Governor Obaseki commends Fashola for Edo roads, housing.

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state, yesterday, commended the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) for the progress of work at the Benin-Ehor axis of the Benin-Ehor-Lokoja roads.

This was as the minister inspected ongoing works at the Aduwawa axis of the Benin-Ehor-Lokoja road.

While inspecting the road, Fashola (SAN) briefed the Edo State governor of his inspection tour on roads leading into and out of the state.

He said that plans were also in the making to rehabilitate the bad portions at the Ekpoma axis of the same road.

Speaking further, the minister noted that full reconstruction of the bad portion would carried out to ensure durability of the road.

“I have gotten recommendations about the fail portions of the Ekpoma axis of the road. I have asked them to get money for the contractor to do full reconstruction of the bad portions, instead of patching it up, which will wear away soon. As soon as we get money, the contractor will come back to site”, he said.

Meanwhile, the governor, represented by his deputy, Hon Philip Shaibu commended the Minister for the inspection tour, saying that it would ensure good quality and speedy completion of the road project.

He however called for prompt action to be taken at the bad portions of the road around the Auchi junction at Jatto, Ekpoma axis and Ramat Park in order to prevent total collapse of the road.

Moreover, he also commended the ministry over its housing programme in the state.

For his part, Fashola (SAN) additionally briefed the governor about the on-going projects being executed by the ministry; he said that the major challenge facing the power sector was shortage of gas to power gas turbines.

He however said that the power generation in the country had stepped up to 4000mw for two weeks now and could be increased to 7000mw if vandalism of gas pipelines was stopped.

“3000mw of power is not available because of vandalism of gas pipelines, which is not helpful to the country. If we can recover the 3000mw lost to vandalism and add to the 4000mw, we will have 7000mw. We cannot continue to destroy something and say it is unavailable to us, all of us most begin to speak to each other and sensitise against vandalism”, he said.

In addition, the Federal controller of works, Eng Okey Oweh, speaking about the Benin-Ehor-Lokoja road said that the road’s contract was awarded in 2012 and divided into three phases.

He said that a 12 km carriage way had been constructed along the Auchi axis of the road and that the accident-prone section at Ewu -axis of the road had been improved upon.

He said that the contractor handling the road would complete the Benin-Ehor axis of the road by May ending and work on the Ewu-Agbor-Sapele road had started.

He also said that 445 staff drawn from within and outside the state were currently working with the contractors on the road Project.

Meanwhile, the Controller of Housing in the state, Mr Andrew Ikechucku said that the national housing programme for the ministry had commenced in the state.

He said that the state government had provided a land around the Benin-Auchi road and that clearing of the land was on-going.

Public Private Partnership, A Panacea to Housing Deficit in Nigeria – Fashola

The Honourable Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN has reiterated the importance of synergy between the Federal Government and the Private sector in the built industry in the provision of mass housing to Nigerians. He said the Federal government must find a way to exploit the Private Sector participation in the industry especially in the area of local content manufacturing of building materials, noting that it would aid in the reduction of prices of the materials and subsequently the cost of the houses.

He made this known during an inspection visit to some selected sites and Polystyrene manufacturing company in Abuja. He said the visit was a follow up to the claims by some sponsors in the built industry during the Affordable Housing Summit held in Abuja earlier in the year that they had all the machineries to partner with the Federal Government in delivering affordable mass housing to Nigerians.

The Minister who expressed satisfaction with what he saw on ground, noted that the concepts of acceptability and affordability were significant and must be factored into any system the Federal Government intends to adopt in the sector, adding that the low and middle income earners in Nigeria may not be interested in most of the houses available on ground at the moment, though beautiful and accepted but because they are mostly not affordable and said government was committed to initiate policies that would address the situation.

At the Citec building and manufacturing factory in Mbora District, Abuja, The minister who was ushered round the factory by the Managing Director, Engineer Bello inspected EPS Polystyrene, a building raw material made from petrochemical products, is a lightweight, rigid, closed-cell insulation available in various densities to withstand load and back-fill forces and is being used to construct facials used in decking for storey buildings.

The Minister said more companies using polystyrene would be encouraged as houses built with it are cheaper, noise proof, self fire extinguishing and does not need the use of air conditioners because it regulates the weather,  adding that for the concept of acceptability and affordability to be meaningful to Nigerians, government must do its best to bring down the cost of owning a house.

He said as part of efforts to assist Nigerians own houses with less burdens, the Federal Mortgage Bank has been repositioned to better perform its statutory function so that government on its part would concentrate more on ensuring the provision of acceptable housing designs.

The Minister also visited building sites including: Braines and Hammers at Life Camp and Galadimawa, Sunny Vale at Logokoma and  Rockvale at Gudu.

He expressed satisfaction that Nigerian youths were being engaged at the sites in various trades such as masons, building sewage plants, iron mongering, and so on, noting that it has shown that the built sector is important in reducing the unemployment rate in the country.

FG to raise N1trn for housing scheme – Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Federal Government is working with stakeholders to raise one trillion naira to provide affordable housing for Nigerians.

The vice-president spoke at the 22nd Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja on Tuesday where he chaired a Roundtable on Job Creation, Skills and Employment at the summit.

He said that the proposed project would also help to create jobs.

Osinbajo said that the job creation unit in his office had worked out a framework with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group to focus on three sectors to create employment.

He listed the three sectors as construction, agriculture and information communication technology.

Under construction, the vice-president said the Federal Government was trying to work on a social housing programme, called the Family Home Fund.

He said, “The Family Home Fund is a financial intervention into social housing in the country.

“We are trying to raise a fund which will come to about one trillion naira; we have aggregated fund from the private sector, local and international funds already.

“The whole idea is to be able to intervene in mortgage financing so that developers can build special houses to the specification of the Federal Government.

“Already eight or nine states are giving land and certificate of occupancy for social housing scheme.

“The idea is that any Nigerian who can afford N30,000 should be able to own a house.”

Osinbajo said that there would emerge job creation opportunities as technicians, engineers and skill workers would benefit from the scheme.

He said there would also be training opportunity from the scheme.

The theme of the summit is “Made-in-Nigeria’’.

The problem of housing in Nigeria has been of interest to every administration and official estimates suggest that more than 17 million houses are needed to cover the country’s 180 million citizens.

Each administration has introduced a different scheme but the impact is not felt by the people.

Recession: Lagos To Introduce Monthly Payment On Housing

In a bid to cushion the effects of economic recession in the country, the Lagos State Government has perfected plans to introduce monthly payment plan on its Home Ownership Mortgage Schemes popularly called Lagos HOMS across the State.

The State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who stated this after embarking on an extensive inspection tour of projects across the State, said his administration has decided to scale up the rent-to-own policy by introducing monthly payment plan whereby people can pay monthly instead of being compelled to make a down payment of 30 percent of the total cost or pay for one year.

He said: “We believe strongly that people should be able to pay one month rent and live in our housing schemes. We don’t think in a recession, we should be having a situation where we allow people to come and buy when they don’t have money or to come and pay one year rent. We think the way to move forward is to allow these our younger ones to just pay one month deposit and pay one month rent and move into the houses and then more or less play up our rent-to-own scheme,” Governor Ambode said.

While speaking on the pocket-friendly initiatives of his administration on housing, Governor Ambode said the State Government has taken time to review its mortgage schemes vis-à-vis its financial flow, adding that many ongoing housing schemes have reached advanced stages of completion and that they would be rolled out in a matter of months.

The Governor, who inspected the Illubirin Housing Scheme in Lagos Island, said government, in partnership with private sector, is making arrangement to transform the scheme into a live, work and play environment.

“In addition to that, the other housing projects that we are doing are on course and I want to assure Lagosians that in the next few months, we will be seeing a whole lot of housing units being rolled out,” the Governor said.

On his part, the State’s Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, debunked insinuation that the Illubirin Housing Scheme had been abandoned, saying that government was rather working to improve on the project which is sitting on 28 hectares.

He recalled how the project started under the administration of former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu with sand filling, while his predecessor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola carried on with the project.

He said: “Now, under the administration of Governor Ambode, we want to scale it up and the idea is to make this place a live, play and work environment and so we are projecting 500 units instead of the 1,260 that the scheme was formerly designed for. We believe government funds should be deployed to some other sites that we are working on and to also come up with new designs and new buildings and so instead of government to recapitalize this project, we are working with the private sector and the investor that has come up is investing about $500 million.”

According to Lawal, about five hectares of the Illubirin scheme would be dedicated to leisure, while there would also be commercial activities, as well as flyover which would be constructed.
He said the State Government is already working with the Federal Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Waterfront in that regard, adding that the flyover would be on another phase.

He also said that all the phases of the scheme are expected to span between five to seven years, but that there would be a lot of improvement on the project before May 2019.
Governor Ambode also inspected the ongoing construction of a lay-by and slip road into Isheri Olowora at Berger bus-stop.

FG unveils plan to stimulate housing sector

The Federal Government will de-risk lending to developers and provide guarantees and credit enhancement to stimulate growth in the housing sector.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, made the disclosure yesterday at the 32nd Annual Conference and General Meeting of the African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) in Abuja.

Also unveiled was plan to deploy modern technology for mass production of housing, using traditional procurement and Contractor Finance Initiative Model to reduce housing deficit.

The minister, who urged the AUHF to support innovative housing finance in Nigeria, regretted that years of inadequate investment and poor maintenance culture have left the country with a huge housing deficit, slowing development and economic growth.

Fashola also blamed lack of housing finance in public and corporate institutions, lack of access to land, double digit housing loans, high cost of building materials, inflation and population explosion as reasons many Nigerians do not own houses.

Represented by Eucharia Alozie, Director, Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the ministry, Fashola said government recognises that provision of leverage and guarantees are critical to attracting private sector funds to the industry, thereby creating thousands of affordable houses yearly and generating employment and commercial activities.

“From the inception of government’s initiative in organised housing finance system to date, only meagre sum have so far been injected into the system. This accounts for less than 0.5 per cent of the GDP compared to other climes, like the United Kingdom and South Africa. This is due to the inability of financial systems to provide low cost finance that meets the need of low and medium income earners,” he added.

Also speaking, the Central Bank’s Director of Other Financial Institutions, Ahmed Abdullahi, noted that the housing market in Africa and in Nigeria is underdeveloped, and that the contribution of the market to the GDP in the country is less than one per cent, compared to the United States, which is about 80 per cent.

Abdullahi therefore stressed the need to address absence of long-term capital that could be used to create mortgages, high cost of building materials, and problems of registering and enforcing property rights.

“I will transform thousands from tenants to home owners”, Buhari states.

The Federal Government has said that its affordable housing schemes will soon transform thousands of Nigerians from being tenants to proud owners of houses and plots of land.

This is contained in a statement by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja on Monday.

Shehu said the scheme operated through the mortgage banking system was part of the programmes meant to uplift the quality of lives of the citizens.

“There are also programmes for affordable housing with mortgages which will transform thousands from tenant status to homeownership.’’

He said that the Buhari-led administration had so far released N74 billion as part of capital allocations in the last three months.

According to him, more of the capital allocations will soon be released to revitalise the economy.

“Most of our road contractors had not been paid since 2012, many of them had sent their workers away adding to the unemployment problem.

“This government has released capital allocations in the last three months that is more than the whole of 2015.

“In 2015 Nigeria spent a paltry N19 billion on roads, in three months we have spent N74 billion and we are already releasing more,’’ he said.

Shehu, who was reacting to negative comments on the nation’s economy in some quarters, noted that the Federal Government had expended N26 billion in the transport sector in the last few months.

He also revealed that the government would start a concession that would revive the nation’s rail system for freight.

He expressed the hope that the movement of goods, particularly foodstuff through the rail system would reduce the cost of food items across market places in the country.

“In the transport sector in 2015, government spent just N4.2 billion; we have spent N26 billion with more to follow.

“We are starting a concession that will revive our old rail system for freight, whilst we build a new high speed rail system.

“Moving heavy goods by rail will reduce our transport costs which will reduce food prices and will save our roads from damage from heavy loads.’’

According to him, government will embrace the private sector through PPP, concessions and other collaborations to deliver services and infrastructure efficiently.

He maintained that the government was working hard to do things right and do them in a manner that would endure.

He said, “no government has ever considered the poor like this one. Under the current budget, the administration devoted N500 billion for social intervention programmes for those who need and deserve support.

“Any process that will endure, must involve some pain but things will begin to improve. There is always a time lag between policy and effect. That is why the bad effects of past policies are manifesting now.

“Similarly, the positive impact of the work being undertaken to fix Nigeria’s problems will soon begin to show and we will emerge from this period stronger, wiser and more prosperous.

“There is hope for Nigeria, a hope that was previously clouded by corruption, greed and lack of focus.

“Nigeria is starting over and everyone has a role to play. Look back, look ahead.’’

FCT Minister Strips FHA Building Approval Powers

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello, has directed the Development Control Department of the FCT Administration to take full responsibility for building plan approvals and construction supervision in the territory, in accordance with extant regulations.

The minister gave this directive in reaction to Thursday incident of building collapse in Gwarinpa.

He reminded the department that in line with the provisions of Section 7, Sub-section 1-3 of the FCT Act of 1976 and Part II, Section 27-41 of the Nigeria Urban & Regional Planning Law of 1992 amended in 1999, “no person or body is authorised to carry out any development within the FCT without the written approval of the FCT Department of Development Control.”

Bello also directed the department to ensure that the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), that approved and was supervising the collapsed building, and other stakeholders in mass housing development sub-sector in the FCT, to henceforth adhere strictly to all regulations on property development in the Territory.

He further stated that the FCT Administration will no longer tolerate the construction of buildings on flood plains and will take necessary measures to correct the anomalies.

While sympathising with the victims of the incident, the minister said human lives often lost in the process of building collapse could be avoided if simple urban and regional regulations were sternly followed.

He emphasised that his administration would not fold its arms and watch the wanton waste of lives, stressing that human life is sacred and must be protected.

FG Urged To Invest Recovered Loot In Housing

A call has gone to the Federal government to invest recovered looted funds in the development of low-cost housing and mortgage financing to facilitate the reduction of housing deficit in Nigeria. Director-General, Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders (IMBL), Elisha Jasper, made the call in a congratulatory message to the President Muhammadu Buhari on his one year in office.

“There is a lack of mortgage professionals in Nigeria due to lack of mortgage studies; thereby creating a lack of knowledge and skills on mortgage brokerage, financing and lending. But IMBL cannot do it alone.

Individuals (workers and/or students), governments, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and Primary Mortgage Institutions (PMIs) must all play their parts or roles in this fight.

The governing council of IMBL urges that the looted funds recovered should be reinvested in low-cost housing and mortgage. While IMBL, with help from the government, continues to raise and produce mortgage professionals, FMBN should build mass houses that can be allocated or acquired by Nigerians on mortgage,” he stated.

Jasper said that members of IMBL believe that every Nigerian should own a house, no matter the situation of the economy. He noted that the problem with housing in Nigeria has become very unbearable and unimaginable, for not just the poor or low-income earners, but also for the so-called rich and elite.

Credit: Vanguard

Fashola Restates FG’s Commitment To Power, Road And Housing Development

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has restated the Federal Government’s determination to develop stable power supply, good road network and affordable housing for Nigerians.

This is contained in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja by the Minister’s Special Adviser (Communications), Mr Hakeem Bello.

It said that Fashola gave the assurance when he spoke at the African Alliance 2016 Investors Day in Lagos.

It stated that the ministry was determined to achieve results by doing things differently to develop sustainable infrastructure to convert current challenges to opportunities for economic growth.

He was quoted to have decried the problems inherent in the entire power chain, “from distribution to transmission, generation and gas supply, including a cross-cutting liquidity problem”.

The statement said the existing gap of meter supply in the distribution segment of the power chain had created enormous opportunities for local production for estimated three million consumers.

“Local producers or investors are expected to meet a significant local content participation that would help Small and Medium Enterprises supply an estimated three million consumers who needed to be metered.

“Apart from metering, the distribution companies have aging assets: Transformers, ring main units, poles, cables, breakers and so on, some of which are 20 to 30 years old.

“It is a problem on one hand and enormous opportunity on the other hand,” it said.

The statement stated that the ministry planned to complete about 47 transmission projects to deliver 1,000 MW more carrying capacity this year to expand national growth plan.

The statement said that the Federal Government, in spite of low oil revenue, had upgraded budgetary allocation to ensure completion of existing roads across the six geo-political zones.

“This is the first step to sustainability. But it is not enough to budget.

“It is important to implement the budget and use the finances properly.

“We plan to phase 206 roads over three years to ensure completion or substantial progress of existing roads with heaviest traffic and strategic economic significance in each of the six geo-political zones.”

The statement also reported the Minister as saying that an agreed common purpose and parameters must be defined to have a sustainable and affordable housing design that had national acceptability.

The minister disclosed that the Federal Government, in partnership with the private sector, was on a Nigerian housing model that would consider geo-political cultural differences.



Fashola Gets N433.4bn for Power, Works And Housing

The Federal Government has earmarked N433.4 billion in the 2016 budget for the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing led by Babatunde Fashola.
President Muhammadu Buhari stated this on Tuesday in his 2016 budget speech delivered at the Joint session of the National Assembly.
“To deliver our development objectives, we have increased the capital expenditure portion of the budget from N557 billion in the 2015 budget to N1.8 trillion in the 2016 budget.“For the first time in many years, capital expenditure will represent 30 per cent of our total budget.“In future years, we intend to raise the percentage allocation for capital expenditure,” he said.

Facebook Offers Employees $10,000 To Move Within 10 Miles Of Its Headquarters

Facebook Inc is offering employees at its Silicon Valley headquarters at least $10,000 to move closer to the office, a reflection of the challenges many tech companies face in the increasingly expensive and congested San Francisco Bay area.

To qualify for the payment, which the social networking firm started offering in the last 12 months, according to current and former Facebook workers, employees must buy or rent a home within 10 miles (16 km) of the Facebook campus at One Hacker Way, a desolate strip of road overlooking a marsh about 30 miles (48 km) south of San Francisco.

Some Facebook employees with families to support could earn a one-off payment of $15,000 or more for housing costs.

Facebook’s efforts, along with similar programs at some other technology companies including investment management technology company Addepar, data company Palantir and software firm SalesforceIQ, a unit of Salesforce.com Inc, could help ease a major source of tension in San Francisco: an influx of young, wealthy tech workers who commute to Silicon Valley on private buses and often displace lower-income residents.

But Silicon Valley has a housing affordability crisis of its own, and if Facebook’s programme gains traction it could further accelerate the gentrification of nearby communities, especially the low-income city of East Palo Alto.

“A lot of local families are going to get hurt,” said John Liotti, chief executive officer of East Palo Alto community advocacy group Able Works.

Facebook says the programme is not about social engineering. “Our benefits at Facebook are designed to support our employees and the people who matter most to them at all stages of life,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Cynics suggest the company might be looking to encourage people to spend more time in the office while also cutting the cost of its luxury bus service, whose drivers recently unionized.

For Mark Shim, an engineer who had worked at Addepar, living across the street from the Mountain View-based company earned him a $300-a-month bonus. But the money, which was a taxed benefit, wasn’t the reason behind his housing decision.

“For me, it wasn’t financially driven as my rent has gone up more than 60 percent since I moved to Mountain View and the stipend doesn’t keep up with the rent spikes in the area,” said Shim, who has since joined another company.

“If you live closer to work you are less worried about leaving at an exact time, and if you’re in the middle of solving a cool problem, you’ll spend the extra time to finish that up.”
Lissa Minkin, vice president of people at Addepar, said the perk was designed to help employees spend more time on personal interests or with their families.

“Not having a long commute makes a huge positive impact on maintaining a healthy work-life balance,” she said.
Tech workers say the commute is getting worse. What would have been a one-hour commute each way three years ago has stretched to 90 minutes or more as the tech economy has boomed and more cars hit the road.

San Francisco-area drivers spend more time in gridlock than those of any city other than Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, according to traffic data service Inrix.

Still, plenty of young techies are willing to endure it. Take Nilesh Patel, a single technology worker who commutes from San Francisco to a large company almost 40 miles (64 km) away so he can cultivate his rich social life in the city.

“I didn’t want to move into one of those depressing bachelor complexes,” he said about the generic Silicon Valley apartment buildings that often house people like him.

Even for those who might consider a more suburban lifestyle, $10,000 doesn’t necessarily go very far in a city like Menlo Park, where the average rental is $3,600 a month, according to data from online real estate company Trulia.

And moving south won’t provide an escape from the resentment tech workers have engendered in San Francisco neighborhoods like the Mission, where community activists protesting gentrification have blockaded tech-company buses.

In East Palo Alto, once a crime-ridden city that provided an element of gritty flair amid the bland office parks and strip malls that dominate much of Silicon Valley, the recent influx of tech money has brought plenty of benefits.

Crime, including robbery, auto theft and rape, has declined over the years, according to city data. New businesses like the city’s only full-fledged grocery store have opened, and many new arrivals are trying to help by tutoring kids and donating to local causes, said Liotti.

But the newcomers, who locals call “los Facebuqueros” regardless of where they work, have also contributed to increasing evictions and sky-rocketing rents.

“We’re dealing with a huge displacement of lower-income individuals,” said Tom Myers, executive director of the Community Services Agency in Mountain View, which this month passed ordinances to try to take pressure off lower-income renters.

There’s also the chance that the housing incentives backfire.
Old hands remember a time when Facebook offered a few hundred dollars for employees who lived within a few blocks of its old offices in Palo Alto. Landlords got wind of the situation and quickly raised rents to match, they say.

Kogi Commissioner For Lands, Housing Kidnapped

Stephen Maiyaki, the Kogi State Commissioner for Lands and Housing, has been kidnapped. Mr. Maiyaki was kidnapped by about six people at about 8.30 a.m. on Sunday in his farm at Osara in Adavi Local Government Area.

The police spokesperson in the state, Shola Adebayo, confirmed the story, but said details will be provided later. Mr. Maiyaki was appointed commissioner in May 2012.

Justice Christopher Olorunyomi of the state High Court was similarly kidnapped in the same area on May 27 and his whereabouts are still unknown. His abductors are demanding N150 million before he could be released.

Credit: NAN