Friday, March 19, 2010

The Battles We All Have To Fight

Everyday we do so many mundane things believing that they do not matter in the overall scheme of things. What we fail to realize is that even the mighty Amazon River in South America began as a series of insignificant mountain rivulets.

I am currently involved in the push to register a tenants association in Febson Mall,Abuja. I have an office there.
We have been the victims of all manner of inhumane treatment any landlord can vex a tenant with. It is a mult-i use facility with a hotel,fitness centre, petrol station and a shopping mall.

The first problem we had to confront was the equitable distribution of our collective electricity bill. We had trusted our landlord to be fair,but alas we were wrong. Because the individual offices do not have electricity metres we usually get a guestimate of a bill. Another problem that came to light was the fact that our landlords personal businesses in the mall which are free standing buildings on their own do not have individual metres. It turned out later that they were not even paying electricity bills.

They had informed us that they were. The last issue was the fact that even when we paid for electricity, the total amount paid by tenants was not remitted to the electricity company. Over time the sum of one million two hundred thousand accumulated as arrears. Where did the arrears come from? Someone had been diverting the electricity money for other purposes. Now they are asking us to pay a second time for what we had already paid for.

The other pressing issues is that our rent has been increased by more than one hundred percent. Our solution? Form an association of tenants to confront this and demand a review.  The landlord does not like this and has been circulating a letter to the effect that he was not in support of the association. What should we do?

Also I am starting to feel that I am a marked man, the mobile policemen and other goons the son of the mall owner surrounds himself with keep pointing to me with their noses the way we do in Africa when you are talking about someone and you do not want them to know. I hope I am safe. I pray I am safe. The truth is that by reforming this small corner of Nigeria, we are contributing to her total reformation,what do you think? I need to hear your views.

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