HONOURABLE MINISTER OF STATE FOR WORKS AND HOUSING UNDERTAKES A FOUR-DAY TOUR OF FHA’S PROJECT SITES IN FCT.
The Honourable Minister of State for Works and Housing, Umar Ibrahim El – Yakubu, November 15, 2022, embarked on a four day tour of FHA’S project sites within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Accompanied by the Managing Director and Chief Executive; Senator Gbenga Ashafa,, members of the EMC and other staff of the Authority, the tour started from the FHA Mass Housing estate Zuba and took the Honourable Minister to Bwari, Apo/Guzape, Kabusu, FHA proposed head office site at the Central Business District and the Lugbe extension.
At the Zuba estate, the Project Manager, Engr. Tukur explained to the Honourable Minister that the estate sits on 18 hectares of land and consists of 75 blocks of various house types, with a total of 748 units. Explaining further, Engr Tukur noted that there are a total of 16 units of 1 - bedroom blocks of flat, 33 blocks of 2 - bedroom flats, 16 - blocks of 3- bedroom flats and 5 blocks of 3-bedroom Terrace duplexes.
The Project Manager further briefed the Honourable Minister that all associated infrastructure in the estate are functional, ranging from the 2.7 kilometers of paved and asphalted internal roads, to the 3 Nos Independent Water Stations and an Injector Power Station dedicated to service the estate. He also informed the Honourable Minister that as a form Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the Authority constructed the link road to the estate from the Kaduna - Lokoja Express way.
The Minister in his reaction commended Management under Senator Gbenga Ashafa for its operations and zeal to provide housing for all, not only in the FCT, but across the country. He commended the quality of work in the estate, noting that the estate will go a long way in ameliorating the accommodation problems in the FCT.
He urged management to keep to the high standards used in constructing the estate in all future constructions, noting that this will give projects long span before repairs and renovations would be required. He thereafter promised to continue to support the Authority, to ensure that the program on the provision of housing for citizens is sustained.
El Yakubu described the new estate as a ‘mixed community’ in view of the presence of neighbouring communities surrounding it, noting that it is serene and habitable. He therefore charged management to guard the infrastructural provision like water, light, roads against misuse and vandalization.
At the Bwari site where the Authority is currently working on delivering 337 housing units,the Managing Director, Senator Ashafa informed the Minister that FHA management is propelled by the cardinal program of the manifestos of President Muhammadu Buhari towards providing houses for Nigerians both in rural areas and hinterland. The MD noted that the deliberate policy of the present administration of President Buhari towards housing provision was not only meant to resolve accommodation problems, but provide job opportunities to many Nigerians through the value chain effect of the housing industry.
Senator Ashafa informed the Minister that the project started in March 2022 and is expected to be delivered in 48 months, sometimes in 2026. He therefore appealed for both moral and financial assistance from the ministry, assuring him of high patronage of the houses with the concentration of many government institutions around the estate.
According to Senator Ashafa,‘’ We are not unaware that JAMB, Law School, NISS and many other Federal Government agencies will take advantage of the location to get allocation from this project in conjunction with the FHA Mortgage Bank’’
The Minister in his address maintained that the promise to deliver on infrastructure by the present administration was on course across the country, saying President Buhari has delivered on his mandate. According to him ‘’ This is another example where infrastructure is impacting on the lives and livelihood of the Nigerian people’’
He applauded the job opportunities created by the project, noting that such job creation would reduce unemployment rates in Nigeria. He thereafter reiterated his support to FHA management in accordance with Federal Government template of providing housing to all Nigerians.
The Bwari housing project is proposed to sit on about 300 hectares of land on completion, to be delivered in phases, out of which the phase 1 covering 54 hectares is on - going. It consists of 337 units of mixed developments of 2 Bedroom, 3 bedroom flats and 3 bedroom terrace duplexes.
On 16th November, 2022 the Honourable Minister continued the inspection with a visit to FHA Apo/Guzape estate. The estate which is on 100 hectares of land is made up of Partnership and Direct Construction sites. The ENL Consortium partnership site which has been separated, occupies 6o hectares of land, while the Bauhaus partnership is on 18.2 hectares. The remaining contains the Direct Construction site.
The Minister expressed his satisfaction with the quality of work on the site, especially the level of infrastructure. He was however not pleased with the development in the Bauhaus site and called for an urgent review of the agreement to fast track the development on the site.
On November 22, the Minister continued the inspection with a visit to Kabusu, Shisipe II in Abuja metropolis; the site for the proposed FHA Smart City project.
Addressing the Honourable Minister, the Managing Director Senator Ashafa said the entire project is on 700 hectares of land, and that the Authority is preparing to commence payment of compensation to the villagers. He further went on to note that the proposed development with its serene and natural endowments, will compete favourably with most notable smart cities in the world.
Taking the Minister through the Topo Map of the area, the General Manager Survey, Surv. Eyong showed the Minister the proposed link road to the estate which is about 11.5 kilometers. The Site Development Plan further revealed that the estate will have 2 districts with 6 different neighbourhood and 8 house types.
The Minister of State, expressed satisfaction with the virgin site, saying it would attract development through Private Public Partnership (PPP). He further described the community as mix and has all potentials to create more employment opportunities and reducing poverty across the country.
The Minister advised that the link road to the site should be a double lane, insisting that the 10 meter proposed single lane would create accessibility problem in the estate when fully built. He consequently directed management to liaise with FCDA to work on expanding the access road.
The Minister’s inspection was concluded on 24th November, 2022 with visit to the site of the proposed permanent head-office complex of the Authority at the Central Business District, Abuja. The site which is 6000sq meters is expected to have a 12 storey building complex, and the project billed to start as soon as both the BPP and ICRC arrangements are concluded.
The Managing Director while addressing the Minister hinted that the Authority is determined to commence road shows to attract both local and foreign investors to key into the construction of the edifice.
The Honourable Minister in his remarks promised to weigh all options given the prevailing situation and reality on the ground. While commending the need to provide adequate accommodation for the staff, he cautioned that the proposed 12 storey building must conform with all relevant needs of the Authority in consonance with the current needs. He was particular with need for adequate parking lots, which may require the provision of basements.
The Final phase of the inspection took the Honourable Minister to the proposed site for the FHA Lugbe extension project. The Managing Director, briefing the Minister noted that the about 190 hectares of land given to the Authority had been reduced to 160 hectares by encroachers. He informed the Minister that the community would be compensated before final evacuation.
Senator Ashafa promised that efforts are on - going to ensure that the project becomes a reality, stressing the need to avoid continuous encroachment. The MD maintained that FHA is in synergy with the FCDA to discourage continuous encroachment.
The Minister commended management on the ongoing enumeration of both legal and illegal occupants on the land. He however frowned at the presence of both temporary and make shift buildings around the site, some of which were newly erected. He said all efforts must be made to discourage further encroachment, and urged residents not to take laws into their hands, noting that FHA would soon embark on massive demolition in the area.
El Yakubu advised the public to steer clear of government property, and warned those planning to erect illegal structures to desist, because such illegal and unlawful development would not be compensated by the government