States Housing schemes are meant to reduce the housing deficits and as well provide affordable and accessible housing estate(s) to low-income earners. But the aim of solving
housing problem in both states and federal level wouldn’t be achieved if properties worth multi-millions of naira are left to rot. An example is the multi-million naira Niger state Mass Housing Project situated along Kaduna road which has been left to rot for many years.
A visit to the estate at Madalla, Niger state showed how illegal occupants including hoodlums, who leave their hometowns and migrate to Abuja with the aim of seeking for greener pasture took over the place
Akande Sikiru is an example of one of the illegal occupants who didn’t have any means of accommodation 7 years ago when he left his town in faraway Ibadan, Oyo state in search of livelihood that could better his life and family. He said he has been living in the estates since then.
“In the past, we don’t pay any kind of fee to live in the estates but now some people who call themselves Agents normally come to collect money from us,” he said.
Most of the housing estate occupants were not ready to speak as they said the media wants to expose them to government adding that they don’t have anywhere to go to if Niger state government decides to revoke the estate as they have been living in the estates for close to 10 years.
It was also observed that most illegal occupants provide doors and windows making the houses comfortable for them to stay as some others who couldn’t afford to fix the houses, had large Polytene bags as their refuge which they fixed as artificial windows and doors.
While responding, the Coordinator, Media and Publicity to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, Mr. Jide Oritunsin said the housing project was initiated by the late former Governor Abdulkadir Kure in collaboration with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.
According to him the immediate past administration of Dr. Muazu Babaginda Aliyu refused to pay attention to the project leading to its abandonment.
He noted that the attitude by that administration informed its trespass by illegal occupants who currently inhabit the estate after over N150 million was committed to it.
He said worried by the development, the present administration has stepped in with a view of addressing the hiccups hindering its completion.
“The present administration has already invited the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and the contractor handling the project for a discussion on the way forward.
“I can tell you authoritatively that the administration of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello is worried by the development and has directed appropriate ministry and agency to ensure that all grey areas that led to the stoppage of work address”, he explained.
He said the state government has already taken assessment of level of work in not just the estate but all the housing projects abandoned in the past with a hope of reviving them.
Credit: Daily Trust