Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari declared that his government’s promise of change for homeowners in the country had been fulfilled. Buhari spoke during the presentation of keys to some new homeowners at the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Zuba, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Tuesday.
Speaking at the presentation of keys to the new homeowners in Zuba, FCT, the president urged the homeowners to live together in peace and harmony.
Buhari said in his speech at the inauguration of the estate, “I convey my hearty congratulations to the new homeowners in this estate. Our promise of change has been fulfilled for you.”
The estate is on 18.5 hectares of land, and comprises 748 units of various house types in 75 blocks.
The president charged residents of the estate to consciously work together with the FHA to ensure the maintenance of the property and safety of the environment.
Buhari congratulated Chairman, Managing Director, Members of the Board, and Staff of FHA on the successful completion of the estate. He stated that the project was another testament of his administration’s commitment to lift people out of poverty.
He said, “Housing supply is one of the indices of multi-dimensional poverty that challenges our people and the completion of this estate provides a solution for the beneficiaries. The new homeowners who benefit from this estate have taken a step up on the ladder of prosperity and away from poverty.”
Buhari acknowledged that more Nigerians were waiting to benefit from the mass housing project. He urged the management of FHA not to relent in delivering other projects at various stages of construction and development across the states.
He said, “One of the measures that we have consciously deployed to attack poverty, create prosperity and develop our economy is the aggressive provision of infrastructure nationwide.”
The president said such investments help to create jobs for artisans and other skilled members of the society.
Earlier, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the completion of the project was the product of teamwork and leadership by Buhari, who gave approval for quality appointments into the FHA board and management.
“Instead of abandoned projects, we now have 748 completed housing units for Nigerians and their families to shelter,” Fashola said.
He disclosed that 75 contractors were engaged in the course of the project, while over 13,000 Nigerians were employed both directly and indirectly.
Fashola told the president that the five beneficiaries, who received keys to their flats, including Tina Orkpe, Salisu Iliyasu, Ado Maude, Rabina Abdulkadir, and Flight Sgt. Musa Mohammed, subscribed through FHA Rent-to-Own delivery model.
“Although many of the beneficiaries of this project will never meet the president personally, your policies and programmes have met them personally at the point of their needs,” the minister said.
In his remarks, Chairman, Board of Directors of FHA, Senator Shuaibu Lawal, thanked the president for providing the grant of N7.5 billion for the project to commence in May 2018.
Lawal said, “Without that grant, which served as the seed money, this project would not have been possible. Mr President, you take all the credit for what we are seeing here today.”
Lawal stated that the estate was ideal for Nigerians who could not afford houses in areas, such as Maitama and Asokoro, in the FCT. He lauded the Minister of Works and Housing as well as FCT minister, Mohammed Bello, for their commitment to the project.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of FHA, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, described the inauguration of the project as a manifestation of the visionary and deliberate housing agenda of the Buhari administration. Ashafa said the president, in keeping with the promise of providing shelter to Nigerians, approved the grant to FHA.
According to him, the authority delivered the project at a total cost of N9.5billion, with the subvention of N7.5 billion from the federal government. He explained that the balance of N2 billion construction cost came from FHA’s other projects, which were ploughed to complete the estate.
Ashafa disclosed that FHA had commenced the development of Bwari Estate, Abuja, near the Nigeria Law School, which would deliver 336 units of various houses under the first phase of the project. He added that the proposed Diaspora City initiative, which targets Nigerians in the Diaspora, was in progress. He said the intention of the government was to extend the programme to all the regions of the country, with Abuja as the pilot scheme.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja