By Christy Anyanwu
The Chief Executive Officer of Octo5 Holdings Limited, developers and managers of the Ocean Bay Estate in Lafiaji, Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State, Mr. Jide Odusolu, has said that the concerns raised by the residents about the management of the estate were being seriously addressed by the company.
Addressing journalists in Abuja yesterday, he stated that the company as a responsible corporate citizen had, over the last 18 months, been actively addressing all the issues raised by the residents’ association as an essential pillar of its vision to create wholesome urban communities.
He said the company is dedicated to building conducive communities for residents as well as committed to their wellbeing. “We have consistently delivered value, despite challenges encountered. Although 2020 was turbulent as it was intertwined with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has remained unwavering in its determination to ensure that Ocean Bay Estate remains a unique and wholesome community,” he added.
He described the Estate as one of the few communities in Nigeria, where the developer has consistently funded all estate improvement works without putting any financial pressure on the residents to make capital contributions beyond insisting that they pay their service charges and utility bills. “The only other payment that anyone makes applies to property investors and homeowners who pay a mandatory one-time infrastructure connection fee to connect their houses to the infrastructure services grid provided and maintained by his company for the estate,” he added.
He lamented that some residents have formed the habit of not paying their service dues and utility charges hiding under the pretext of displeasure with the quality of service. He expressed shock residents whose water was disconnected for failure to pay monthly water charges were the ones commenting on water quality. “How could someone that was disconnected and ostensibly not making use of the estate water supply, be the one to comment on the water quality?” he queried.
Reacting to residents’ concern about poor power supply, he said: “The Company has been a serial victim of the Eko Electricity Distribution Company’s (EKEDC) abuse of power. The 24 hour power supply which the estate was known for was only possible with a blended mix of diesel generators and epileptic power supply from EKEDC under a willing buyer-willing seller arrangement at a rate much higher than the public tariff.
“Then in December, when the EKEDC unilaterally attempted to increase tariffs and back-charge the estate with a spurious excessive claim, it resulted in a dispute because the management refused to pay and instead submitted evidence of past payments to EKEDC. Unfortunately, EKEDC unilaterally disconnected the estate in February after a two-day notice.
“Octo5 recognising itself as the utility owner accepted that it was its duty to address the issue and immediately purchased a brand new 1MVA diesel generator in addition to existing 500KVA and 800KVA generators it had earlier procured to enable it to provide a short term solution. The company also simultaneously invested in a gas-powered captive power plant for permanent solution to the power debacle.
But, despite the huge cost being incurred running the estate exclusively on diesel generators since February, my company has maintained the same tariff in place and only adjusted operating hours from 24-hour supply to an average of 21-hour daily power supply for the interim period.”
On security concerns by the residents as evidenced in their interaction with media men who visited the estate last week, Odusolu said the concerns had already been addressed and that efforts to disturb public peace in the estate were ill-advised. “We have tried and will keep trying hard to make improvements through Octo5 Utilities (OBCSL), our facilities/utility arm. It is shocking to hear people who were part of the committee that selected the current security company guarding the estate claiming the estate is unsafe. I also find it alarming that an estate which has been sustained for over 15 years was being attacked by a few residents, whose motives are clearly questionable,” he stated.