By Patrick Ochei
Asaba, the capital city of Delta State is facing accommodation challenges as the cost of house rents continue to soar. This rental crisis is getting residents terrified that they have continued to cry out amidst government’s insensitivity to their plight.
Recently, a question bordering on this present reality came up at a media interaction with the Governor of the State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and he didn’t see it as a serious matter deserving government’s attention or policy statement. He only said that people should continue to appeal to the emotions of the landlords to be reasonable with charges for accommodation while sympathising with the landlords over the high cost of building materials.
Meanwhile, the Inland Town News Network decided to go to town to actually seek to know the main causes of the soaring house rents in the city of Asaba and environs.
One of the major causes as learnt from the random opinion sampling is the presence of the new generation of fraudsters popularly called Yahoo Boys.
These boys had made Asaba their haven to the extent that one can hardly distinguish who is not a Yahoo Boy in town. The rate at which these young ones flaunt riches ostentatiously, thereby getting most landlords easily carried away has shown the low level of morality in our present day society.
The frivolity of these Yaboo Boys has made the landlords easily compelled to rent their apartments to them without much profiling.
As a result of this, two bedroom old apartments that used to go for #200,000 – #250,000 now goes for #500,000 while new buildings are now fashioned to accommodate Yahoo Boys because of their taste.
Presently on Okpanam Road which is the major residential arm of the capital city has become a hot cake for landlords and their Yahoo tenants. To get a one bedroom and parlour apartment, one is expected to pay #600,000 per annum aside the agent, agreement and caution fees while two bedroom apartment is in the region of #800,000 to #1 million.
During our investigative routine, we discovered an apartment around the Cornerstone School area where some Yahoo Girls were threatening to beat up their landlady for being bold to tell them that their lifestyles were not good enough to be accommodated in a decent compound.
Who do you blame? The woman saw money and rented the two bedroom apartment in her compound at #1 million to a young girl without question. After moving in, the girl then brought in her other friends and they had since turned the apartment into a mini brothel. They go out and come back at will, sometimes 1am, 2am thereabout.
This lifestyle began to worry this landlady that she began to question their morality to do all that they do in her house. To this extent she wants to refund them, but the girls had consistently refused accepting their money back, but instead, always poised for war with the woman.
Another cause of the skyrocketing house rents in Asaba is the influx of people from across the East into Asaba because of their inclination to another business hub outside Onitsha and of course, the insecurity in the South East.
The movement mostly by traders in Onitsha, Anambra State is drastically increasing the demand for rentable houses in Asaba. This is because the government is not building to accommodate her civil servants population while the private estate managers are building but wanting to make all their money in one year.
These scenarios are seriously threatening the earnings of average tenants in Asaba and potentially threatening their survival in the capital city.
Based on the high rate of accommodation in Asaba and neighbouring Okpanam, Ibusa and Ugbolu, many are worried that their whole earnings in a year undoubtedly goes into paying rents. Other things have continued to suffer especially for average families who live on wages and pittance from petty trading or jobs.
This is the situation in Asaba irrespective of the fact that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recently warned landlords to stop renting their apartments to Yaboo Boys and other fraudsters.
This call had not been heeded to while government is not as well intervening to cushion the effect of living in the State Capital of Delta State where milk and honey are supposed to be flowing for all