The Federal Government has commenced the construction of low-cost housing projects across the country with N9 billion committed to 550 housing units in Zuba, the Federal Capital Territory, in the pilot phase.
The Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Prof Mohammed Al-Amin, who gave the hint after inspecting the ongoing construction work at the site of the pilot project said that the low-cost housing projects would be replicated in the all state capitals nationwide.
Al-Amin explained that the project, comprising one, two and three-bedroom houses and flats, commenced three and a half months ago and would gulp about N9 billion already released to the authority.
He explained: “Government has given us this money and we are releasing it according to the dictates of the Public Procurement Act. This is not the only place in Abuja that we are building such a project. We have opened Kwali and in the next two weeks, we are going to open another in Lugbe. These are for low-income earners in Abuja.”
The FHA boss said that the project was for workers in the informal sector, adding that the Federal Ministry of Finance, in conjunction with the Office of the Vice President, was managing the fund for the project.
Al-Amin clarified on the nationwide focus of the projects: “So principally, the Zuba housing project is created to be a pilot project of what is called Buhari Bricks, and this essentially entails having houses for all categories of Nigerians. For low income earners or those in the informal sector, we have what is called the Family Home Fund.
“This fund is being administered by the Office of the Vice President and the Federal Ministry of Finance. In this fund, once you can afford to contribute N30,000 monthly, then you get into the process of owning one of the buildings as far as you meet the stipulated criteria.”
“The second aspect of it is for those who have jobs higher than those in the N30,000 monthly contribution category, and they need houses and keep migrating into our cities across the country.
“If you go to Aba, Lagos, Kano, Katsina and many other cities, you will see that on the fringes of these cities are many new neighbourhoods that are not well planned and the buildings are not good. The reason is that urban migration is taking place.
“So, the only way to check it is to have the mass housing scheme that targets these migrants and provide them with good accommodation, so as to free these cities. So, if you have good and cheap houses, any migrant that comes into the city will rather go there and stay and start coming into the main city. Instead of him to go and buy a farmland and start building and eventually contributing in defacing the city”, Al-Amin added.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the FHA Board of Directors, Alhaji Lawal Shuaibu, said that the agency was also involved in the construction of commercial houses for high-income earners.
According to him, the project in Zuba is a social mass housing project that is to accommodate people who cannot afford what it takes to acquire a house at an exorbitant price.
Shuaibu explained: “Therefore when we say social houses, it is the social responsibility of the government to extend its kind gesture to the Nigerian public. For the commercial housing project, here we are looking for people who have money and this can be seen in the kind of materials used for the buildings and their aesthetics.”