President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday presented keys to some new homeowners at the Federal Housing Authority, Zuba, in the Federal Capital Territory, urging them to live together in peace and harmony.
‘‘I convey my hearty congratulations to the new homeowners in this estate. Our promise of change has been fulfilled for you,’’ the President said in his speech at the inauguration of the estate, which covers a total of 18.5 hectares of land, consisting of 748 units of various house types in 75 blocks.
The President charged residents of the estate to consciously work together with the FHA to ensure the maintenance of the property and safety of the environment.
Commending the Chairman, Managing Director, Members of the Board and Staff of FHA on the successful completion of the Estate, the President noted that the project was another testament of his administration’s commitment to lift people out of poverty.
‘‘Housing supply is one of the indices of multi-dimensional poverty that challenges our people and the completion of this estate provides a solution for the beneficiaries.
‘‘The new home owners who benefit from this estate have taken a step up on the ladder of prosperity and away from poverty,’’ he said.
President Buhari, who acknowledged that more Nigerians are waiting to benefit from the mass housing project, urged the management of FHA not to relent in delivering other projects at various stages of construction and development across the states.
‘‘One of the measures that we have consciously deployed to attack poverty, create prosperity and develop our economy is the aggressive provision of infrastructure nationwide,’’ he said, noting that such investments also lead to creating employment opportunities for artisans and other skilled members of the society.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the completion of the project was a product of teamwork and leadership by the President, who gave approval for appointments into the leadership of FHA Board and Management.
‘‘Instead of abandoned projects, we now have 748 completed housing units for Nigerians and their families to shelter,’’ he said, adding that 75 contractors were engaged in the course of the project, while over 13,000 Nigerians were employed both directly and indirectly.
Fashola told the President that the five beneficiaries who received keys to their flats, including Tina Orkpe, Salisu Iliyasu, Ado Maude, Rabina Abdulkadir and Flight Sgt. Musa Mohammed, subscribed through FHA Rent-to-Own delivery model.
‘‘Although many of the beneficiaries of this project will never meet the President personally, your policies and programmes have met them personally at the point of their needs,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Chairman, Board of Directors, FHA, Senator Shuaibu Lawal thanked the President for providing the grant of N7.5billion for the project to commence in May 2018.
‘‘Without that grant, which served as the seed money, this project would not have been possible. Mr. President, you take all the credit for what we are seeing here today,’’ he said.
Lawal, who noted that the Estate is ideal for Nigerians who cannot afford houses in areas such as Maitama and Asokoro in the FCT, lauded the Minister of Works and Housing, FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, for their passionate commitment to the project.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Office of FHA, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, described the commissioning of the project as a manifestation of the visionary and deliberate housing policy of the President, who in keeping with the promise of providing shelter to Nigerians approved the grant to FHA.
He said the Authority delivered the project at a total cost of N9.5billion with the subvention of N7.5billion from the Federal Government.
He explained that the balance of N2 billion of construction cost came from the Authority’s other projects which was ploughed into to complete the estate.
Ashafa disclosed that the Authority has also commenced the development of Bwari Estate, Abuja near the Nigeria Law School, which will deliver 336 units of various houses under the first phase of the project.
He added the proposed Diaspora City initiative, which targets Nigerians in the Diaspora, is in progress, with intention of extending the programme to all the regions of the country, with Abuja as the pilot scheme.