Damaturu is the capital of Yobe State in the North East of Nigeria. The state borders Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, and Jigawa. It also borders Diffa and Zinder regions in the Niger Republic.
At the height of the Boko Haram insurgency, many people fled Damaturu. The fleeing residents sold their property at giveaway prices and relocated to relatively safer cities and towns. But normalcy has returned to the city after many years of violence which almost destroyed the socio-economic fabric of the state.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Yobe State chapter, Mikailu Jande Njayo, said the relative peace witnessed in Damaturu after the Boko Haram insurgency and the influx of several donor agencies and development partners supporting the vulnerable had triggered a boom in the property market.
He said the city hosted military formations, institutions and federal government parastatals which had driven the demand for residential property, which had invariably made rent to be on the high side.
With these developments, Daily Trust gathered that there are five locations in the city that attract the most development in the real estate sector.
Commissioners Quarters: Damaturu’s fortress
The Commissioners Quarters is located along Maiduguri Road in Damaturu and has been the centre of attraction for property developers. It is an abode of the working class, politicians and business moguls. Being the closest quarters to the government house, it enjoys steady power and water supply; and a network of good roads has contributed immensely to the development of the area.
Yobe State Chairman of Property Agents and Landlords Association of Nigeria (PALAN), Yunusa Alhaji Hamza Bindigari, said land was very scarce to find in the area, noting that the houses of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, an ex-governor and the Commissioner of Police (CP) were located there; making it one of the most secure areas in the metropolis.
‘‘Commissioners Quarters is the most expensive area in Yobe State. The place has adequate security. The location is the top, where a piece of land goes for about N40m, while in other places it goes for between N20m and N25m. I can confirm that no piece of land that you can buy is less than N30m in the quarters.
‘‘The reason why land is expensive in Commissioners Quarters is that everybody wants to live within the heart of the city. Prominent people like former governors, legislators and other politicians don’t want to go outside the city to build houses, and many retired generals, permanent secretaries and people want to get land or houses there,’’ he said
‘‘Another reason why the price of land has skyrocketed in Commissioners Quarters is that some privileged individuals are building modern houses and even buying old ones and reconstructing them into contemporary styles,” he added.
Don Etiebet Housing Estate: The humanitarian zone
The Don Etiebet Housing Estate, also along Maiduguri Road, is another location attracting developers in Damaturu. Daily Trust gathered that the personal residence of Governor Mai Mala Buni is located there, thus driving the property market in the area.
The state’s Chairman of NIOB, Njayo, said the area was secured, had amenities and had boosted demand for residential property.
‘‘Of course, with the influx of several donor agencies and development partners supporting the vulnerable, that’s understandable. So in effect, NGO Economy is most lucrative, driving prices of property and other essentials high in Damaturu, especially in the Don Etiebet Housing Estate,’’ he said.
Muhammad Umar Abdu, a property and land agent, said, ‘‘Don Etiebet Housing Estate has been an attractive location for developers even before Governor Buni built his house there.
‘‘Private developers built luxury houses and installed amenities like water, electricity and solar panels. So, their prices are high such that few people can afford them. The income of an average person could hardly cater for a two-bedroom apartment of such property.”
He further told Daily Trust that, “The cost of land in the area went for as much as N30m to N40m for a 600 square metre.
Sabon Fegi Quarters: A competitive suburb
Sabon Fegi is one of the most attractive destinations for property investment in Damaturu. Our correspondent learnt that a two-bedroom apartment is rented for up to N500,000 in Sabon Fegi, which puts pressure on the average civil servant living there.
Yobe State Chairman of PALAN, Bindigari, said acquiring land in Sabon Fegi was one of the most difficult tasks as many lands had been occupied by developers.
‘‘Sabon Fegi is very attractive to property developers because of the good network of roads, shops for business, electricity and water points. Land is very scarce in the area. To look for a built house is easier than to look for land in Sabon Fegi.
‘‘A 50×50 plot of land costs from N10m above. Also, rent in the area is very expensive, starting from N200,000 for a two-bedroom house. The most attractive thing about Sabon Fegi is the good road network,’’ he said
Malari Quarters: From farmlands to luxury houses
The area is located in the South East of Damaturu and has been transformed from farmlands to luxury buildings in the past decade.
Malari Quarters borders the Don Etiebet Housing Estate and Commissioners Quarters, which is a plus for its rapid development.
‘‘Yobe State University, College of Nursing and rural-urban migration are the drivers that enhance the development in the area. Most of the university workers and players in the private sector who left their locations as a result of insurgent attacks prefer Malari Quarters,’’ said Adamu Garba, a property agent.
‘‘A 600 square-metre land costs over N5m, depending on the location. The area is now the fastest growing residential area in Damaturu metropolis,’’ he said
New/Old Bra-Bra quarters: Affordable housing model
The New and Old Bra-Bra quarters were constructed by a former Governor of Yobe State and current Minister of Police Affairs, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, to provide affordable accommodation for civil servants.
The state government allocated and subsequently sold out the houses to the occupants through an owner-occupier policy.
Bindigari said a 100/100 plot cost from N6m to N7m in both New and Old Bra-Bra.
“In addition to the general hospital located in the area, there are schools, markets and other places to get essential services near the area,’’ he added.