NYSC members cry out over alleged extortion by estate agents, exorbitant rent as PPAs fail to provide accommodations

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Many members of the National Youth Service Corps have been facing challenges in getting accommodations after leaving the orientation camps of the NYSC.
In their letter of posting to their various Places of Primary Assignments, it is stated therein that the PPAs are to provide accommodations for the corps members to enable them have a hitch-free service year.

Sadly, they lamented that many PPAs have failed to carry out the duty of furnishing the graduates with dwelling place and neither have they refused to reimburse them whenever the corps members struggled on their own to raise their house rent

“Whenever we are given posting letters, it is clearly written there that our PPAs should provide accommodation for us. But this has not been so. Most of these PPAs including Government Ministries, Agencies, Parastatals, Public and Private Schools among other organizations have not been living up to this expectation.

“The Corpers Lodge that some local government areas provide cannot contain all of us and most of us have our PPAs at places that are very far to this lodge, therefore making it so difficult to access,” a serving corp member in Lagos who simply identified herself as Kelechi told The Point.

Meanwhile, some corps members posted to Osun State have said attempts to secure dwelling places for themselves have been met with challenges.

They lamented the hike in the cost of house rent and exorbitant charges by agents, especially in Osogbo, the capital city.

The corps members also complained that they were being extorted by estate agents and caretakers through high charges and other fraudulent practices, calling on the state government to come to their aid.
According to them, high cost of house rent and alleged extortion practices of the agents remained top of their challenges in the state capital.

They said the amount being charged for house rent and agent fee was outrageous, adding that some of them (corps members) had been duped by the agents after their PPAs could not provide accommodation for them.

A single room apartment in Osogbo, according to findings is between N80, 000 and N200, 0000 depending on the area and facilities, while the agents charge between N30, 000 and N70, 000 as agency fees.

Also, a room and parlour apartment is between N150, 000 and N300, 000 with the agents charge between N50, 000 and N100, 000.

For a two-bedroom apartment, the price is between N150, 000 and N400, 000 based on the facilities and location, while the agents charge N50, 000 and N100, 000.

It was also gathered that some agents jack up the price of the accommodation in their care, thereby increasing the amount of the house rent far above what the house owner asked for.

A corps member, Olaitan Adebowale, told The Point that she had to stay with a family member when she couldn’t secure a decent accommodation at a reasonable amount.

She said, “Accommodation price in Osogbo is too expensive compared to other areas of the state, and even the neighbouring state capitals.
“We all know how the economy of the country is and feeding has taken a larger percentage of our allowance. If we are left to face this kind of treatment from house agents, how do we survive?

“I know some of my colleagues who requested to be taken to another town in Osun because of the high cost of accommodation. The state government needs to find a solution to this.”

Another corps member, Afolabi Olaniyi, lamented the extortion by some of the house agents, disclosing that he was duped by an agent who failed to provide the accommodation he showed him after paying the required fee.

He said, “The agent showed me an apartment at Owode Ede and he said the total package was N175, 000. The house rent was N130, 000 while he charged N45, 000 as his own fee.

“After paying the amount, the agent took me to a different house entirely and all efforts to get my money back have not yielded any positive result.
“We are corps members who came from other states and it would not be too good if prospective corps members are hearing what we are facing in the hands of the so-called house agents in Osogbo.”

Meanwhile, an estate management expert, Foluso Adegboye, has attributed the actions of the house agents in the state capital to the lack of a regulatory body.

Adegboye, in a telephone interview with The Point, said the estate management job has been bastardised by people who don’t know anything about the job.

According to him, some youths now see house agency as a means of survival, stating that the state government has to wade in to arrest the menace.

The expert also frowned at accommodation owners who left their houses in the hands of people who know nothing about the job and took advantage of accommodation seekers.

“I think it is high time the state government found something to do about the menace of house agents in Osogbo. They are the cause of the astronomical increase in cost of house rent and they are affecting those struggling to make a living in the state.

“There should be a regulatory body to check their excesses. They are doing what they like to house seekers because no one is checking their activities. It is very unfortunate that a house agent now makes 10 times what some seven to nine employees are taking home as salary,” he lamented.