By Perpetua Onuegbu
A former Head of State, Gen.
Yakubu Gowon, says that the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) has been instrumental in fostering the sense of belonging amongst Nigerians
Gowon, who created the FHA, said this at the occasion of the authority’s Golden Jubilee Celebration on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, the Federal Housing Authority has been instrumental in transforming landscapes constructing homes and fostering the sense of belonging that is intrinsic to striving society.
According to him, the journey of 1973 to this day has being that of resilience, innovation and collective effort.
“So, let us embrace the challenge of the present with the same spirit of determination and innovation that characterised the establishment of the Federal Housing Authority.
“May this anniversary serve as a reminder of the power of vision a moment of relaxion the enduring impact of collective effort toward a common goal and rededication to the noble cause of building homes and nurturing communities,’’ Gowon said.
In his remarks, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa, while congratulating FHA as Nigerian’s oldest housing institution urged it to braze up to providing housing for Nigerians.
“Now, ten years after commercialisation, records show that FHA has only delivered a cumulative of just over 50,000 housing units.
That shows an average of 1,000 houses per year in 50 years.
“This is clearly not acceptable, especially from Nigeria’s foremost housing agency that has so many institutional advantages that it can leverage to deliver more results.
“I am also pained to say that analysis of all the Public Private Partnerships that the FHA had entered into over the years has delivered little or no value to the country.
FHA needs to wake up to its responsibilities.
Dangiwa, however, said that government would support FHA to source for funds both locally and internationally to drive its operation adding that its being partially commercialised gave it the latitude to become more creative and innovative.
On his part, Mr Babatunde Fashola, former Minister of Works and Housing, said that the FHA had to strengthen its interaction with state governments to facilitate it have access to lands.
Fashola said deliberate effort must be made to make available commensurate and substantial funding for housing delivery in the Nigerian political landscape and particularly to FHA.
“FHA holds massive plots of lands across the nation, and for those who are in real estate development if you have land you are sitting on money.
“My advice to them is go and title all these lands if you do not have titles, value them and create an asset base that can take you to the capital market and you can leverage your assets in order to raise credits.
“FHA is not a culture but an economy, the immediate past government of president Buhari past an executive order 11, the National Infrastructure maintenance order,” he said.
He said it was executed on April 5, 2022 and the sum and substance of it was an economy that government must lead and drive by law and policy.
He added that maintenance was where the largest number of population could earn a living, small contractors, gardeners, carpenters, FHA can leverage on this to preserve the value of their assets.
Fashola also recommended that FHA should incorporate maintenance contracts into their agreements such that it is paid for by the occupier to cover repairs, restoration, water supply if private companies bill it into their contracts where people pay service charges what stops FHA.
Gbenga Ashafa on his part said FHA has had its own challenges with some government policies impacting on it making room for overlapping of functions.
Ashafa said this, however, had not deterred it from achieving its mandate.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that FHA built Festac Town, Gowon and Diamond Estates in Lagos South West, Ebgeada and Grace Land Estates in Owerri, Imo State, South East.
Others are Iguosa Estate in Benin, Edo state, Trans Amadi Gardens and Rumueme in South South.
Gombe Estate, Gombe State North West and Gwarinpa Estate the largest Estate in West Africa among others.
Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi