By Joan Nwagwu
Abuja – The Federal Government says it plans to demolish houses built on waterways in the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) estate Lugbe, Abuja.
Mr Suleiman Zarma, Minister of State II, Power, Works and Housing stated this while inspecting houses at First Avenue, FHA Lugbe on Tuesday in Abuja.
Zarma said the demolition had become necessary because of gully erosion going on in the estate, attributing the development to blockage in the drainage system.
“A lot of the water channels that I have seen today have been blocked and clearly, there are areas that are liable to flood that people have built on.
“We will look at what the laws are and invoke them because one person or two can’t keep the community hostage, so we must save the majority of the people.
“I have also heard a lot of complaints from the residents about the roads around the estate and I have seen them and they are really in terrible state.
“I also felt the pulse of the residents as we drive along and I want to say that this is the critical failure of planning as the typography was not taken into consideration when this estate was developed and so we have a lot of these failures,’’ he said.
He noted that the facilities that were initially deployed to the estate were either small or not able to contain the volume of water flow in the area.
He further noted that the estate has about 60,000 population, making the infrastructure over stretched, saying the initial population was meant to be between 4000 and 5000.
The minister also decried frequent violation of planning regulations of the estate by both residents and managers.
“We have our own part to play as residents and as managers of the estate because I have seen frequent abuse of the planning regulations.
“But as planning authority, we know periodically, we are supposed to look into our settlements not only the ones we built but also the ones that are inherited by people.
“We have to look at them and do a structure plan and upgrade the facilities for it to be up to the standard of good living for any citizenry of the country,” Zarma added.
He, however, assured the authority of the FHA that the federal government would carry out a survey with a view to ascertaining the best ways to improve the road network as well as provide other services in the area.
He also directed the FHA to ensure regulatory standard for facilities such as markets, hospital and shopping complex, among others.
“The FHA should look at these places that are marked for such and see if they can retrieve them and enforce the standard regulation.
“You can see that all over the country today, the story of flooded areas and people moving into IDP camps and we cannot allow that to happen here.
“So, we will look at them immediately and do a study and also come up with a plan to see what we can do now, ” he said.
Also speaking, FHA Managing Director, Prof. Mohammed Al-Amin, stressed the need for a quick intervention in the condition of the housing, saying the best way to do it is to bring in members of the Federal Executive Council.
“That is why the minister supervising the housing sector in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is here on this tour, ” he said.
He noted that there are major gully erosion challenges, among others affecting residents of FHA and across the 36 states of the federation.
“We want government to know the quantum of the needs that are there, and we are starting with FHA Lugbe, on Airport road as our pilot programme.
“The first avenue is the major road leading into the FHA estate and it is a connection road but in a very deployable state.
“So, because of the frequency, lots of vehicles pass the road and it is almost obliterated due to erosion, waste management, illegal encroachment among others,” he said.
He said that the FHA would be collaborating with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to enforce compliance with the master plan of the estate.
He further stressed the need for the federal government to ensure that adequate fund was released for the upgrade of facilities in the estate.
Also commenting, Mr Odelana Adesina, Chairman Lugbe, Residents Association however called on government to come to the aid of residents of the estate.
Adesina said that more than 70, 000 people reside in the estate, adding that the facilities were over stretched.
According to him, the challenges faced by residents include deplorable roads and inadequate facilities.
“We have very bad roads, no water, no government hospital, light is also a problem and the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company is not billing us appropriately.
“We also need more police outposts to help in securing the estate, among others.
“So, we want to plead with government to make its intervention as quickly as possible,” he said.