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Federal Houses Built Under Buhari Rot Away In States

Many of the federal housing estates built by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari to bridge the country’s housing deficit are unoccupied and rotting…

Many of the federal housing estates built by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari to bridge the country’s housing deficit are unoccupied and rotting away across states, investigations by Daily Trust on Sunday have revealed.

This is just as many civil servants are lamenting that the cost of the houses are unaffordable.

Successive governments in the country had pledged to provide affordable housing for low-income earners.

Available data put Nigeria’s housing deficit at 7 million units in 1991; 12 million in 2007; 14 million in 2010; 20 million in 2018 and 28 million in 2023.

The Buhari administration established the National Housing Programme (NHP), domiciled in the Ministry of Works and Housing, to deliver affordable houses to beneficiaries.

The contracts for the construction of different categories of housing units were awarded in 2016 to 542 contractors for a sum of N27.488 million per unit.

Of the 6,022 housing units billed for construction in 46 sites across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), 2,864 are said to have been completed; while others are at various stages of completion.

While performing the groundbreaking ceremony of the civil servants housing estate in Apo Extension, Abuja, under the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme, Buhari had promised to build 5,000 houses yearly in each state for public workers for three years.

These included one, two and three-bedroom bungalows in states in the North- East, North-West and North-Central; blocks of 16 and 24 flats (condominiums) of one, two and three-bedrooms and bungalows in the South-South, South- East and South-West and the FCT.

damaged roofs of one of the federal housing estates in kano
damaged roofs of one of the federal housing estates in kano

 

Earlier this year, the ministry said it had audited the NHP, reviewed the allocation process and retained the prices fixed by the immediate past administration.

The fixed prices are N7.22 million for a one bedroom unit in a condominium block; N9.268 million for a one bedroom unit in a semi-detached bungalow; N9.148 million for a two bedroom unit in a condominium block; N12.398 million for a two bedroom semi-detached bungalow (type A); N10.833 million for a two bedroom semi-detached bungalow (type B); N13.246 million for a three bedroom unit in a condominium block and N16.491 million for a three bedroom unit in a semi-detached bungalow.

However, findings by our correspondents showed that many of the houses that were completed are still unoccupied as civil servants and low income earners, expected to benefit from the project, decried that the costs were beyond their reach.

Kwara

Many of the structures of the NHP’s estate, which was commissioned in 2022 by the then Minister of Iinformation and Culture, Lai Mohammed, are unoccupied. The estate consists of 48 units of two-bedroomd, 20 units of three-bedrooms; four units of one-bedroom and four units of three-bedrooms.

A resident, who simply identified himself as Mr Bunyamin, said: “They are just rotting away in the midst of lack of accommodation for many Nigerians due to the high price. A two-bedrooms flat is being sold for N12.5 million, N25 million for four-bedrooms, N16.5 million for three-bedrooms and N9.5 million for one-bedroom.”

Similarly, another resident in the estate, Mr Asare Max, said the cost of the houses was too exorbitant for low-income workers.

He said since the buildings were completed in 2017, they were painted more than five times before the commissioning, adding that some of the structures had started showing signs of damage.

Niger

In Niger State, our correspondent discovered that only few of the 80 units of the houses in the NHP’s estate were occupied. The estate, located at the Three-Arms Zone, Eastern Bypass, consists of four units of one-bedroom flat, 52 units of two-bedrooms, 20 units of three-bedrooms and four units of four bedrooms.

Some civil servants, who spoke to our correspondent, said they were interested in applying for the houses, but the portal was yet to be opened for prospective applicants.

Plateau

In Jos, the Plateau State capital, the NHP’s projects are unoccupied and deteriorating.

The state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Musa Ashoms, confirmed that the project was completed, but abandoned.

Ashoms said: “Yes, there is a federal government housing project located in Laminga village of Jos East Local Government of Plateau State. The project has since been completed and allocated, but unoccupied. Or, the project has been completed but not allocated. So, it is a completed project, but unoccupied.

“The housing project is a three-bedrooms flat, designed to be occupied by federal civil servants in the state. Now, these completed houses are fast deteriorating since they are not occupied.

“I hereby call on the federal government to, not only ensure these completed houses are allocated, but also occupied immediately, because houses not occupied deteriorate faster than the ones occupied”, he said.

a sold building fenced by a new owner in kano
a sold building fenced by a new owner in kano

 

Kogi

In Kogi State, some of the houses at the federal housing estate along the Lokoja-Okene road at Crusher-Felele-Lokoja area of the state capital are unoccupied; while hoodlums have destroyed the facilities therein. The estate consists of one and three-bedrooms semi-detached bungalows.

One of the few occupants of Phase 1 of the estate, Kareem Aremu, said: “Many of the houses are empty because they have not been allocated to anyone. So, burglars continue to invade the estate and cart away fittings in some of the houses,” he said.

Some of the civil servants spoken to said the amount being charged per unit of the bungalows was far beyond the capacity of an average salary earner in the state. They said one-bedroom semi-detached bungalow costs N9.2 million.

“No civil servant or an average businessman can afford to pay such a huge amount to own a house in the estate. That is why most of the houses are still empty without owners,” a civil servant said.

An official of the Federal Ministry of Housing in Lokoja told our correspondent that phases one and two of the mass housing scheme had been completed with the third phase ongoing.

He said the ministry recently issued a circular to prospective buyers to bid for the unoccupied houses.

Nasarawa

Many workers in Nasarawa State said they could not afford the cost of the federal housing estate located at Akurba in Lafia Local Government Area. The estate comprises 62 units of three-bedrooms detached bungalows (N10.1 million each) and 82 units of two-bedrooms detached bungalows (N9.2 million each).

A civil servant in the state appealed to both the federal and the state governments to “make the cost of the houses affordable to low-income earners”.

Benue

Just like in other states, the federal housing estate in Benue, located at Mobile Barracks-Adeke-Welfare road in Makurdi, was completed but largely unoccupied owing to “the huge costs”.

The former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Family Homes Funds, Femi Adewole, had told the state government to take ownership of the project as the idea was to make houses affordable to all, particularly the low-income earners.

The Federal Controller of Works in Benue could not be reached as of the time of filing this report.

Kebbi

The NHP in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State capital, was commissioned by the former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, but five years after, the houses are yet to be allocated.

When our correspondent visited the housing units located along the By-pass in Birnin Kebbi, few of the housing units’ apartments were found occupied by beggars; and some others by miscreants. The roofs of some of the houses had been blown away by windstorm.

Workers told our correspondent that they had been waiting for the Federal Housing Authority to allocate the houses.

Ibrahim Sa’adu, a federal civil servant in Birnin Kebbi, said he and other interested buyers had approached the federal housing department in the state several times for enquiries.

“They always tell us they have not been given approval to allocate the houses to the public. Now, you can see the state of the housing units; it’s worsening by the day,” he said.

When our correspondent visited the office of the controller of housing at Aliero Quarters in Birnin Kebbi, he was said to have traveled out of town.

But a senior staff member in the state office of the Ministry of Housing said the delay in allocating the houses “is a national issue.” He, however, said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration had given approval for the allocation of the houses to members of the public.

“We started giving forms to people who are interested in the houses two months ago. We have taken all the applications to our headquarters in Abuja for approval so that we can begin to allocate the houses to lucky applicants,” the official who did not wish to be named said.

a side view of the buhari’s housing estate in ilorin, kwara state
a side view of the buhari’s housing estate in ilorin, kwara state

 

Jigawa

The federal government housing estate in Jigaw State, located opposite Jigawa Hotels Limited in Dutse, is unoccupied.

The estate, which is about 4km away from the Jigawa Government House, is being looked after by the officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to prevent hoodlums from vandalising its facilities.

The Public Relations Officer of NSCDC, Badarudden Tijjani, told our correspondent that the corps had an understanding with the FHA to be protecting the estate.

Civil servants asked the federal government to allocate the houses to people in order ensure maintenance of the facility.

Roofs blown off in Yobe, Bauchi

When our correspondent visited the mass housing units on Damaturu-Maiduguri road in the Yobe State capital, some of the houses had their roofs blown off.

The houses are unoccupied, but security personnel have been deployed there to prevent vandalism.

When contacted, the Yobe State Federal Controller of Housing, Attah Peter, said the estate had not been commissioned due to a windstorm that destroyed some houses.

He hinted of a plan for the Yobe State government to take over the estate.

Also, in Bauchi, some of the roofs of the completed houses at the federal estate, along the Bauchi-Kano road, have been blown off by windstorm.

Our correspondent reported that he noticed that Phase one of the housing project, which commenced in 2016, has been completed for over two years, but not yet commissioned.

Some residents of the state alleged that the sale of application forms for the houses had been moved to Abuja.

One of them, who is a teacher, Kamal Ibrahim, wondered why the federal government would allow such a huge investment to rot away.

The Chief Resident Quantity Surveyor of the Federal Ministry of Housing in Bauchi, Taiwo Samuel, told our correspondent that the process of acquiring the houses was ongoing.

He said a letter released by the ministry had asked anyone interested to go and obtain an expression of interest form which, he noted, many people did.

Houses sold to private individuals in Kano

In Kano, many houses in Phase one of the NHP located at Jaba, off Panisau Road, Fagge Local Government Area, which former President Buhari commissioned on April 7, 2022, are also unoccupied. The estate has 77 units of three-bedroom bungalows and 33 units of two-bedroom bungalows.

Some of the unoccupied buildings have shown some signs of dilapidation with roofs either blown off or damaged.

Muhammad Lawal, who serves as a “caretaker” of some of the buildings, said they were being sold to private individuals rather than civil servants.

He said a three-bedroom bungalow costs N16 million, adding that those who bought the property converted them into offices. One of the buildings is housing Docusoft Technologies Limited.

Houses completed, allocated in Borno

In Borno State, our correspondent visited the federal mass housing estate, located behind the Board of Internal Revenue Service, opposite Ramat Polytechnic,  Maiduguri, and found it completed and the houses therein allocated.

Houses allocated to Super Eagles players, others in Edo

In Edo State, houses at the federal estate, located at Idumwen-Ehigie, along the Benin-Auchi road, were allocated in April 2023 to beneficiaries, including members of the Super Eagles’ 1994 Nations Cup winners who are from the state.

dilapidated federal housing units in kebbi state

 

Project uncompleted in Ekiti

The 70-housing units estate of the NHP in Ekiti State is still under construction.

The project is sited at Agric Olope, Off Ajilosun, Moferere, Ado Ekiti.

FG promises to subsidise costs

When contacted, Mark Chieshe, Special Assistant on Media/Communications to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the government was working to subsidise the costs, under the National Social Housing Fund.

He admitted that most of the houses were yet to be completed.

He, however, said the minister was working to resolve all obstacles causing the delay.

“The minister is committed to completing all housing projects and ensuring that Nigerians, for whom the houses were built, benefit from them. He is working hard to make sure that whatever issues that have led to projects not being finished are resolved, and the houses completed for Nigerians to benefit from them,” Chieshe said.

He said the ministry recently published an expression of interest that was sent out to the public for houses that were built under the NHP.

“Even though inflation has increased the cost of building materials, the minister still insisted that the houses be sold on the prices they were advertised years ago. The expression of interest was overwhelming and oversubscribed”, he said.

On the high cost of the houses, he said: “The houses that are built have different types of offtake plans. One is that people who have the money can pay outright for the houses. The second is the mortgage (option) which allows you to buy the house and spread the payment over 30 years, if you are to take the National Housing Mortgage Fund at a single digit interest rate.

“To qualify for mortgage, civil servants are not allowed to use more than one-third of their salaries to allow them take care of other living expenses.

“The challenge we are facing is that salaries of civil servants are low. That is why under the Renewed Hope of the present administration, there are plans to create and establish a National Social Housing Fund.

“We will source funding so that houses can be built and delivered for Nigerians. The reality is that most civil servants can’t afford N9 million mortgage. We are working on the Fund to see how these houses can be subsidised,” he added.

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