By Ayo Fadimu
The Federal Government has assured public workers in Nigeria of adequate and informed plans for the provision of affordable houses as a panacea to the challenges of housing shortage in the country with an ambitious and unprecedented National Housing Programme aimed at constructing 5,000 units of houses in every state, over the next three years. This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, during the inauguration of a 202-Unit Ministerial Pilot Housing Scheme being financed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and built by a Private Developer, Black Afrik (Nig) Limited, in Jalingo, Taraba State.
Hon. Baba Shehuri stated that “National Housing Models have been designed for each geo-political zone, taking into cognizance our cultural diversities and climate conditions and, most importantly, in line with the present administration’s vision of standardizing building materials to boost local content by encouraging indigenous artisans and craftsmen, as well as the creation of employment for Nigeria’s teeming youth”.
The Minister congratulated the management and staff of FMBN for the success recorded with the completion of the Estate and its peers in other states of the Federation scheduled for inauguration between now and early March, 2017, while re-affirming the resolve of the present administration to recapitalize the Bank to the tune of N500billion to enable it adequately and efficiently carry out its mandate under the National Housing Programme.
In his address at the occasion, the Governor of Taraba State, represented by the Deputy Governor, Hon. Haruna Manu, described the delivery of the Estate as a delightful relief to the housing gap in the state which is constantly being widened by population explosion and exigencies incidental to the displacement of people due to insurgency within the North-East zone.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Acting Managing Director of FMBN, Mr. Richard Esin, informed the gathering that the two-phased-Estate consists of 88, 3-bedroom semi-detached bungalows, 90, 2-bedroom semi-detached bungalows and 24, 1-bedroom terraces, adding that “concessionary terms of the National Housing Fund (NHF) Mortgage loans are in conformity with the Bank’s mandate of provding Nigerians with access to mortgage finance at affordable rates” to enable them transit from tenants to proud home owners.
Delivering a goodwill message at the Commissioning Ceremony, the President-General, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, lauded the initiative, while appealing to the Taraba State Government to aid workers key into the window opportunity by subsidizing the cost of the houses.
At a courtesy call on the Executive Governor of Taraba State, Arc. Darius Ishaku Dickson, the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing intimated his host that the Federal Government has already paid mobilization fees to Contractors for the construction of houses in all the 36 states of Nigeria plus the FCT, being the first set under the National Housing Programme and will soon award the Contract for the Rehabilitation of Numan-Jalingo Road traversing Adamawa and Taraba States.
In his response, the Governor praised the National Housing Programme as the solution to Nigeria’s housing needs, while urging the Ministry to expedite action on the procurement process for the 3,050MW Mambila Hydro Project, also promising the Ministry that additional land will be allocated for affordable housing developments in the State.