The Federal Government has released N9bn for the construction of 550 low-cost houses in Zuba, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, in the pilot phase.
According to the Federal Housing Authority, the low-cost houses, which shall be replicated in the all state capitals across the country, will be specifically for low income earners.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, FHA, Prof Mohammed Al-Amin, disclosed this in Abuja after inspecting the ongoing construction work at the site of the pilot project in Zuba.
He said, “This project started 14 weeks ago. It is a mixture of one, two and three-bedroom houses and flats. A total of 550 houses are to be produced there. In every site is a direct stage of construction and we are expecting to invest N9bn in the project. Already, we have this money in our account.
“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.”
He noted 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 stated, “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.”
He added, “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.”
The Chairman of the Board of Directors, FHA, Lawal Shuaibu, said the 550 housing project was a social intervention scheme of the Federal Government, adding that the agency was also involved in the construction of commercial houses for high income earners.
He stated, “This 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. So, what we are putting up here are affordable houses.
“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.”