Millions of Nigerians live and work in the diaspora and they send billions of euros back home annually. In 2018, remittances of Nigerians living abroad amounted to about €20 billion, according to figures released by the Central Bank of Nigeria in March. Most of the funds are sent to friends and relatives for various purposes, with real estate, food, education and health care accounting for the lion’s share.
Building a home at home is one of the priorities of Nigerians like other Africans in the diaspora. First, it’s the symbol of the fruits of their labour for sojourning in foreign lands. Secondly, it provides a place to stay upon retirement. Moreover, acquiring a landed property at home is also a viable business investment.
However, the process of acquiring residential and commercial property at home comes with a lot of stress as it’s fraught with disappointment and conflict with friends and family, who are mostly entrusted with carrying out the task, as funds sent are sometimes diverted to other purposes.
There’re countless cases of diaspora Africans who have been outright defrauded of their hard-earned money in the process of acquiring landed property at home.
A Germany-based Nigerian entrepreneur has now presented a fraud-proof solution to the problems of building houses at home. David Benson, a real estate specialist, is offering to help take the stress off would-be home-owners by helping to build on behalf of members of the Nigerian diaspora.
Speaking at a seminar during the 2019 Global Partnership for Africa’s Development (G-PAD) Forum, which took place on 22-23 November in the German city of Tubingen, Benson said: “Now you have somebody here that you can hold responsible if anything goes wrong”.
Presenting his novel concept, Benson, explains that he came about establishing DP-NG Housing Ltd, specifically targeted at diaspora customers, after observing the frustration undergone by friends and acquaintances in the process of building houses in Nigeria over the course of many years.
“I have seen how precious family ties were ruptured, how friends became enemies all in the name of building at home,” he explained.
And with his experience in the sector, Benson decided to jump in and offer a professional solution.
“You don’t have to worry about your building project anymore or go through the trouble of sorting out financial problems with your friends or relatives,” he assured.
Another benefit the real estate company offers is that the houses will be constructed to standards that clients living abroad are used to.
“You will see your home built exactly to European standards. The roofing will not have leakages after only a few years, measurement accuracy will be ensured and your house will be super elegant.”
DP-NG Housing Ltd also assists clients to acquire land and/or perfect their documents. Benson explained that the troubles of acquiring a building at home often start with the acquisition of the land on which the house will be constructed.
“There’re cases where the building would have been half finished only for somebody to appear from nowhere with some documents claiming that the land belongs to them,” he said. “Acquiring land not properly documented has caused many Diaspora Nigerians to have to buy a piece of land twice before completing their building.”
Therefore, Benson’s company, working with professional partners in Nigeria, ensures that before construction begins, “all the papers of the land must have been perfected”, which means they must have been confirmed by the relevant government agencies.
“In fact, before we begin construction, you would have been issued all the proper documents proving your ownership,” he assured.
On how to patronise his company, Benson said interested persons have to register with the Stuttgart-based company, after which a personal appointment would be made at which the details of the transaction are discussed and a binding legal agreement signed.
Payments could be made in instalments, according to the stages of construction, he further explained. “We provide evidences of every completed stage of construction with photographs and videos,” Benson assured. “And you can also ask your friends to physically check on the building site regularly.”
Responding to a question on how to overcome expected scepticism among his prospective customers, Benson replied that since he’s based in Germany, customers have somebody to hold responsible as all works carried out by his company are covered by contractual agreements.
“The issue of trust I believe has been well handled by the professional way we operate and we live in a country where the law is very strong,” he added. “Our services are very unique and professional, and we have put in place a fraud-proof process. So, we encourage Nigerians in Europe to give us a try.”