Many housing schemes initiated by the Federal Government are bogged down by numerous challenges in different parts of the state. Daily Trust on Sunday brings the second part of the Federal Government Mass Housing Scheme series on the situations in some North-East states which include, Bauchi, Maiduguri, Damaturu, Gombe and Jalingo.
In Bauchi, houses so far completed are faced with diverse challenges. While some fittings are vandalized by vandals and the paintings have started to fade, those yet to be occupied have been turned to relaxation centres by some youths.
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Daily Trust checks indicated that the contract for the first phase of the housing project which covers one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom houses is at the completion stage. However, reports said that some of the houses damaged would be repaired by contractors before they are commissioned.
A visit by our correspondent to the project site along the Bauchi-Ningi Road also indicated that fittings, especially windows and other metallic objects are in bad shapes. The site was deserted as only few workers were seen building three blocks of the houses.
Head of the security guards at the site who simply introduced himself as Daniel told Daily Trust that the first phase of the project which commenced in 2016 had been completed for over two years and awaiting commissioning.
“After the completion of the first phase, some youths, young women as well as uniformed personnel turned the site to a recreation centre. They come to socialize in the houses. In the process, hoodlums damage many fittings and cart away items.
“Five months ago, officials from the ministry sent additional security guards who blocked the main entrance and restored sanity in the area,” Daniel said.
“Apart from the security challenges, the area is also battling with environmental challenges because some completed houses have been outgrown by grasses.
“Efforts are, however, being made to restore sanity because gardeners have been engaged to clear the brushes. Also, cleaners have been hired to be constantly sweeping and cleaning the houses.”
He also disclosed that the houses have been scheduled for commissioning: “One contractor handling the project recently revealed that the houses which were completed long ago would undergo repairs. The houses will be repainted soon before the commissioning, while fittings either damaged or stolen will be replaced.”
Efforts made to get the reaction of officials and contractor handling the project in Bauchi proved abortive at the time of filing this report.
In Yobe State, 180 of two-bedroom semi-detached housing units were constructed under the 2016/2018 National Housing Programme in Maisandari Ward along Maiduguri Road, Damaturu.
The project which was awarded to multiple contractors is taking place in phases – phases I, II and III.
Our correspondent who visited the site found out that large portions of the housing units were in shape. They have been completed over three years ago, but were not allocated to people, while some are currently under construction.
Baba Abdullahi who lives around the project site said he once raised the alarm to the contractors about some elements coming to burgle the site to steal valuables.
Abdullah said the buildings had been abandoned for too long without occupants or enough security guards, thereby leaving them at the mercy of vandals.
He said some solar powered street lights installed in the area were also destroyed by tempest.
A source at the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing who does not want to be named confirmed that Phase I of the project which has over 100 houses was completed three years ago.
“Phase II which has only 20 housing units is nearing completion, while phase III is yet to commence,” he said.
According to him, issues were raised concerning their allocation and the matter is currently receiving attention at the ministry in Abuja.
In Gombe, 76 units of assorted houses have been built. The Phase I of the scheme which consists of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units has been completed. The land where the project is sited along the Western Bypass in Gombe metropolis was donated to the Federal Government by the state government.
Daily Trust gathered that the housing project which started in 2016 was completed in 2019, with only few uncompleted blocks which seem to have been abandoned by one of the contractors.
Our correspondent who visited the site observed that a good road network, electricity and water supply had been provided at the site.
Also, there is a plot reserved for clinic, school, shopping centre, police station as well as recreational centres.
However, two years after the completion of the 76 housing units, the houses have yet to be allocated for inhabitation. Consequently, some parts of the facilities are being vandalized.
Also, some repairs were effected on some of the houses recently, following windstorms that took toll on them.
A resident who preferred anonymity told our reporter that thieves burgle the site to steal electricity wires, cables and conductors that provide electricity to the houses, while some of the houses are waning due to lack of human habitation.
When Daily Trust visited the office of the Federal Controller of Housing at the Federal Secretariat Complex in Gombe, Architect Dennis Ishaya Pau, was said to be outside the state on an official assignment.
However, a staffer who preferred anonymity said some people were allowed to stay in the houses temporarily.
“This is to provide a sort of security in the estate, pending proper allocation to rightful owners,” he said.
According to him, the process of allocating the houses was still ongoing and “we are waiting for the final approval from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. As soon as we get the approval and finish the processing, we would allocate the houses,” he said.
Seventy-six housing units were also built in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital.
The houses were constructed under the first phase of the scheme.
Also, work has reached an advanced stage on the second phase in which 80 houses are being constructed.
Our correspondent’s visit to the project site along Wukari Road revealed that all the 76 units in the first phase have been completed.
Daily Trust gathered that work on the second phase has reached an advanced stage.
A staffer of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the first phase which had been completed would be commissioned by the president. The second phase, is however, ongoing.
In Auno, Borno State, some house have been completed. Most of them are left unoccupied, despite that most of the important infrastructure, especially roads have been provided.
One of the engineers in charge of the project said the contractors who completed their projects according to specifications, had already been cleared. But those who have yet to deliver would not be paid.
“There are contractors who have abandoned their projects because they were defrauded by their workers who were supposed to supervise each stage on their behalf. Another reason for project failure is insurgency because some contractors must have left for fear of attacks,” he said.
According to the official, government had resolved to sell the houses and generate more money to carry out other development projects.
He, however, disclosed that the houses had been advertised for sale.
By: Clement Adeyi (Abuja), Misbahu Bashir (Maiduguri), Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi), Ibrahim Baba Saleh (Damaturu), Haruna Gimba Yaya (Gombe) & Magaji Isa Hunkuyi (Jalingo)