Satellite Town, Government Reserved Area or Government Rejected Area
Satellite Town, Lagos, Nigeria is a model community (present population of about 80,000). This model town that was conceived by the Federal Government in the late 1970s, to cater for the ever increasing accommodation needs of workers in its various ministries and parastatals. This community was patterned in similarity to neighbouring town; Festival Village (Festac Town).
Satellite Town is medium density, predominantly residential community located off Lagos Badagry Expressway; it is located under Oriade Local Development Council Area which was carved out of Amuwo Odofin L.G.A (Pop. 328,975). It starts from the fringes of Nigerian Naval Town via Alakija Bus-stop (on Lagos - Badagry Expressway) off Old Ojo Road running all the way down to around the Trade Fair Complex. It is just 10 minutes drive from Mile 2 and less than 5 minutes from the Trade fair complex. The town also includes a light industrial section giving it a distinctive town. Neighbouring communities to Satellite Town are Navy Town, Festival Town, Ado-Soba Village, Asogun Village, Trade Fair Complex, Ijegun Imore and Ijegun Egba communities. It is a cosmopolitan community populated with people from virtually all tribes and ethnic group in Nigeria
This model town was conceptualised out of the need to provide Federal civil servants with accommodation. The accommodation envisaged was 2, 3 and 4 bedroom apartments; built in bungalow type housing. These apartments were designed structured and developed, with functional facilities like tarred, paved and well drained roads, pipe-borne water and drainages.
The town was designed to include open spaces, green areas; as well as, recreational facilities like the Civil Service Club. Educational institutions like Satellite Town Secondary School and Satellite Town primary School were established. Like every well planned town, it had it own institutional facilities like; the Police Station, Post Office and an equipped Federal Fire Station.
The Phase One of Satellite Town was therefore a functional, serene, and quiet civil service town. A Government Reserved Area (GRA) for middle and top-level government workers.
At the completion of the houses, they were allocated to staffers of federal ministries, parastatals and public government agencies by a ballot system. As with all government programmes during the military era, some of these houses were also allocated to top military personnels. Hitherto, the houses were used as a temporary accommodation for delegates of the constituent assembly (1978) inaugurated by the Gen Olusegun Obasanjo (1976-1979) military administration. This decision was similar to that of Festac Town which had been used to accommodate visitors and participants of the 2nd World Festival of Arts and Culture hosted by Nigeria in 1977 before being allocated by ballot to public and private sector workers on long term mortgage.
In furtherance to the Federal Government Housing programmes, the 2nd phase of the Satellite Town project was initiated. This stage was predicated on the need to assist the private sector workers ease their accommodation and home ownership needs.
Multinational and indigenous companies operating in Nigeria who had staff strength of not less than 50 were allocated large tracts of land by the government to develop low and medium scheme houses for her workforce on "owner occupier basis". These houses were to be allocated fairly and without prejudice with the aim that upon retirement, the allottees would own the houses they occupied.
The Federal Government in a bid to achieve this housing vision offered these companies, which included foremost Petroleum Oil Companies, first generation banks, Private companies and Federal Institutions, land with attractive and flexible incentives in Satellite Town Phase II. Some of these incentives and rebates includes the following:
(i.) Allocation of large tracts of land free-of-charge
(ii.) Construction of infrastructures like – tarred and paved roads, drainages, street lighting etc
(iii.) 40% cost of construction – upon submission of architectural drawings and designs of 2, 3, and 4 bedroom apartments, the Federal Government defrayed the cost of the total completed housing units.
The population of Satellite Town steadily began to increase form the early 1980s when most of these company estates were completed and their staffers began to move into their houses. That notwithstanding, the splendor and beauty of Satellite town continue to be visible up till the late 1990s.
Phase II of the Satellite Town project also saw the allocation of tracts of land to religious and commercial institutions to establish complementary services to meet the needs of residents. Like, Satellite Town Cinema, Satellite Town Shopping Complex, SS Michael, Raphael & Gabriel Catholic Church, St John Anglican Church, C&S Church, Celestial Church etc.
However, when the Phase III of the Satellite Town project came on board, the town began to lose its grandeur and beauty. The Federal Government in its plans to further enhance it's housing programme, during the tenure of Mallam Maman Kotongora (then Federal Minister of Works & Housing); revoked all undeveloped plots of land earlier allocated to the multinational, government and private companies . For example, a large tract of undeveloped land bordered by the Federal Fire Service Estate on the North, Mobil Housing Estate on the West, Doyin Housing Estate & Flour Mills Housing Estate on the South, and Community Road on the East was used as a model for a low-cost housing project by the Federal Ministry.
The programme consisted of the development of low-cost 1, 2, and 3 bedroom single unit bungalow. A few of these constructions were of burnt bricks developments. These low-cost houses were allocated through a national ballot/auction system to interested members of the public, who were to pay for their allocated units by installments; within a specified period of time. The idea was to encourage prospective owners who did not have enough funds for out-right to purchase their units by way of mortgage. The FMBN (Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria) working with advice from the Federal ministry offered mortgages facilities to some of the buyers.
The above housing programme rapidly followed by the allocation of all open spaces and other undeveloped and reclaimed portions of land within Satellite Town. Theses land were delineated into plots and allocated to interested members of the public for residential purposes. This gave rise to Sites A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J etc. The Phase IV project further eroded the glory and splendour of Satellite town. The town began to fade rapidly with the influx of more and more residents into the town.
The population increase rose faster than the available facilities. Infrastructures were stretched beyond limit and they collapsed. Roads failed, street lights became carcasses of up-right and leaning poles. Water stopped flowing and decay steadily set in. From around year 2000 Satellite Town had the worst roads in the whole of Amuwo Odofin L.G.A. Repairs and maintenance of many of the private company estates were also affected, as their parent companies passed the burden of maintenance to their staffs, many believing that they don't have any more interest in these houses since they are now owned by the occupiers.
This situation became further exacerbated by the Federal Government lack of interest in repairs and maintenance of basic infrastructures. The Local and state government were not interested either as they passed the buck, claiming that the entire community was a Federal Government Area. Planning authorities turned a blind eye and shanties, shacks, wooden and metal shops dotted the landscape. Almost all areas of the town is flooded during the raining season due to blocked drainages. The town became an eye-sore tilting towards a slum community.
The residents who couldn't bear it decided to relocate. Most owners sold their houses, and prospective tenants regarded Satellite Town as a "no go area" in terms of their accommodation needs in preference to other neighbourhood.
The glory and beauty of Satellite Town returned in early 2005 with the half-hearted attempt of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing at repairs of some of the bad roads. Like the Constitution Road, all the way to connect with Buba Marwa Road. The State Government, in conjunction with the Local Government also embarked on the re-construction and repairs of Buba Marwa Road (one of the major access roads in the town) as well as, the removal and destruction of illegal structures and "container shops". Navy Town Road was also re-constructed (by the Nigerian Navy). Private sector self-help efforts and developments also aided the recovery of the town to an enviable level. The effort of the various resident associations cannot be overlooked. When government looked the other way, they looked inwards and picked up the gauntlet and with self-effort embarked on repairs and development of some infrastructures within their respective section ad the town in general.
The rapid growth of Satellite Town, from a Government model reserved town to a well established middle and high income community has been complete. The role of the private sector cannot be over-emphasised. Rapid private development sprang up in all the allocated plots. People now began to troop back in, looking for accommodation. Housing needs in Satellite Town grew faster than available housing stock. Rental values tripled and keep increasing by the day. Businesses and commercial activities have grown to a high level and residents are now proud to be identified with the own.
Today, the rate of return on investment in real estate within the town is high. This is as a result of the vibrant real estate market. Properties available included real estate in government, company, public and private estates, etc. Today, Satellite Town is now a town to be reckoned with in Lagos State.
Source by Patrick B. Akpan