Mass housing: Workers in FCT reject ‘mushroom estates’




fct estatesABUJA – Workers in the FCT on Thursday said they would not subscribe to “mushroom estates’’ being built by developers in the territory.
Some of the workers told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the May Day rally in Abuja, that many of the estates were built with substandard materials.
Mr Kehinde Ajala, a civil servant, said he had not benefited from the housing scheme.
Ajala said the scheme was not encouraging as the prices were exorbitant, coupled with the substandard materials used by the developers.
“About 95 per cent of the estates in Abuja were built with substandard materials; they are also very expensive for low income earners.
“I get angry anytime I hear of affordable houses for civil servants; what makes it affordable when a two bedroom flat anywhere in the city goes for N10 million.
“And 20 per cent is required as deposit, which is N2 million; no low income earner can raise such amount easily on what I regard as mushroom estate,’’ he said.
Mrs Ngozi Okechukwu, another civil servant, said she regretted buying a three bedroom apartment on Airport Road at N15 million.
Okechukwu said that she paid N4.5 million as initial deposit before realising that there were other charges which were not diclosed.
“Little did I know about mass housing in Abuja until when I bought one before realising that it is better to acquire a land and build on your own.
“I struggled to pay all the hidden charges before I noticed another problem that all the houses in the estate were built with substandard materials.
“It costs me N3 million to renovate it before moving in.
“The Federal government should review the scheme; not every civil servant can go through what I went through,’’ she said.
Mr Gimba Adamu of the Revenue and Fiscal Mobilisation Commission, said as a low income earner, he could not acquire the house as he could not raise initial deposit required by developers.
“ My dream is to have a house of my own; but I cannot afford the millions they are charging.
“I will appreciate if government can intervene to provide affordable land for workers.’’
The FCT Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed, inaugurated a 14-man committee on March 12 to deal with illegal and unplanned settlements in the territory.
Those settlement are springing up under the guise of “mass housing estate.’’
Mohammed asked the committee to come up with suggestions to address challenge of mass housing in the territory.
The minister said during the inauguration of the committee that mass housing scheme, introduced by the FCTA in 2000 to provide affordable shelter, had not been realised.
“The lofty objectives of this initiative could not be realised within the expected time frame as the programme was beset by a myriad of gaps and deficient structures. (NAN)

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