• Further to Authority’s New Management Team ongoing inspection of the Authority’s assets Nation-wide, the Managing Director/Chief Executive - Senator Gbenga B. Ashafa led the Management Team on a working visit to the Office of the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, as part of Management’s tour of the Authority’s estates and assets in the South-West Zone - Lagos. In attendance, of this courtesy visit are: the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mr Obafemi Hamzat, the Executive Director, Business Development of the FHA, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin and other top functionaries of Lagos State Government and Federal Housing Authority (FHA).

    The conversation between the duo centred on access to land for affordable housing schemes, provision of amenities to public housing in designated areas, knowledge sharing/technology and the re-development of infrastructure in FESTAC town and other applicable FHA estates in Lagos State

    The Federal Housing Authority’s Managing Director/CE - Senator Gbenga B. Ashafa, while speaking commended the Governor on his laudable strides and then sought for the partnership and support of the Lagos State Government with the Federal Housing Authority on key areas of mutual interest: In his words, “Mr Governor, I would like to appreciate you, the Government and the good people of Lagos State for taking time out of your busy schedule to give us the warm reception we have received here today. We are here to seek your support and partnership in four key areas of mutual interest, being; (a) access to land for the commencement of new public housing estates for the benefits of Lagosians, (b) access to amenities for the designated public housing areas particularly the new sites as well as the existing ones, (c) knowledge sharing and (d) use of ICT in property management as well as the re-development of FESTAC town and the infrastructure in the area.

    The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Sanwo-Olu, on his part, said the State Government took land administration and property development as critical, stressing that his administration’s urban renewal project was being implemented with the objective to open up remote communities for healthy living and investment drive.

    The Governor further described the development crisis in Festac Town as “unpleasant”, nothing that, the population growth and influx of people into the State led to the degeneration of Festac Town and its neighbourhood. He also observed that the failure & poor oversight functions of the activities of property developers in Festac Town by the Supervising Agency (FHA) led to the distortion of the original master plan of the area.

    He equally observed that: “Festac Town” as it is today, is far from what it looked like in the 1970s - 1990s, given the degeneration of infrastructure and the unpleasant and indiscriminate development in the community. He noted that, the original master plan of Festac Town, did not take into cognizance the current anticipated population growth, as reflected in the calibre of allottees that got the property allocation then. Consequently, lack of adequate and effective monitoring and enforcement of development control guidelines, made people to take advantage of this weaknesses, to build indiscriminately on every available space.

    “Going forward, the Governor states that, “I think we can still correct this irregularity and regenerate the entire area for healthy living and businesses, now that the Federal Housing Authority is headed by a highly knowledgeable indigene of Lagos State. Once the Federal Government/FHA is ready, Lagos State Government will cooperate fully and work through our Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development on the agreed plan and template. We are ready to give a waiver on statutory issues that may aid the progress of this move. Noting that, Lagos State Government is not the owner of the estate but we have a sense of duty to prevent the depreciation of the asset on that corridor.”

    In addition, the Governor expressed the State Government’s willingness to work with the Federal Housing Authority on estate and property development in the Lagos East and West Senatorial districts.

    The Governor, Mr. Sanwo-Olu equally praised President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister for Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, for the choice of Sen. Gbenga B. Ashafa as the head of the Federal Housing Authority, noting that the current FHA boss’ tenure as Executive Secretary on Land Matters in Lagos boosted the value of land and property in the State.

    On a final note, the Governor informed Senator Gbenga B. Ashafa that, “We want you to succeed in this new assignment you have taken up because we believe in you and that you have vast knowledge in land administration matters. Development is critical to us in Lagos, and we will be willing to cooperate with you for more development. We are convinced that your tenure will bring about a solution to challenges the nation faces in land administration.”

    The Federal Housing Authority Managing Director/Chief Executive, Senator Gbenga B. Ashafa, (former Senator representing Lagos East), said, FHA was ready to resolve all lingering crises delaying the re-modelling and regeneration of Festac Town, expressing confidence that the mid-way approach adopted by the Federal Housing Authority, would yield a positive outcome for both Governments and residents of the estate. He described his meeting with the Governor as “productive and fruitful”, pledging to take the discussion further.

    Conclusively, the Federal Housing Authority Managing Director/CE expressed his gratitude to the Governor, nothing that, “ All the four key issues presented by the FHA Management were given positive consideration by the Governor. He further noted that, with some of the relevant cabinet members in attendance at the meeting, FHA Management will continue to have further discussions with officials of Lagos State Government on how to go about the plan on urban regeneration in its estates in Lagos.”