ABUJA – The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar and the President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Comrade Bobboi Kaigama have commended President Goodluck Jonathan and the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed for their foresight and commitment to the wellbeing of Nigerian workers. The labour leaders spoke during the official flag-off of the construction of 40,000 housing units for workers in FCT.
Omar described the President and the FCT Minister as good people who have feeling for the workers. He hailed the project as a great landmark stressing that no government has ever initiated a viable and sustainable housing project such as this for the Nigerian workers. “This is the mother of all projects for Nigerian workers,” he stated.
According to him, the names, Bala which is a short form of Balarabe means good and beauty while Bala Mohammed translates to good and beauty. Because there are three goods combined now everything is good for Nigerian workers, he said.
The NLC President also described the housing project as a huge opportunity for the workers in FCT to address their housing challenges. He therefore implored them to take advantage of the scheme to own their houses.
“This is no longer a theory; it is now a practical reality because foundations are already springing up everywhere here,” he praised the initiative while appealing to the Minister to help pile pressure on the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to ensure that the project would not stop along the line.
The labour leader said the project should not be limited to the FCT stressing that the NLC and its major affiliate, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) were expecting the various state governments to key into the laudable scheme without delay.
The TUC President, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama speaking through the Congress’ Secretary General, Comrade (Barrister) Musa Lawal also commended the President and the FCT Minister for providing lands in strategic areas for the actualization of the scheme. He said that by actualizing the project, the present administration through the FCT Minister has done something which nobody has achieved before.
Lawal described the scheme as a huge effort to ensure that unlike before, workers do not retire after service to homelessness. He said that shelter (housing) together with food and clothing constitute the three compulsory needs of man. He stated that a worker who has no hope about where to live or how to continue paying house rent after retirement may be tempted to resort to stealing.
Speaking, the FCT Minister said the biggest credit for the workers housing project should go to President Jonathan who envisioned the entire scheme. He said that President Goodluck Jonathan personally gave him and the Minister of State a matching order to initiate a viable housing scheme that would cater for the needs of the Nigerian workers who constitute the engine of the country’s economy.
He said that the project would contribute greatly to the reduction of the housing deficit in Nigeria particularly, in the Federal Capital Territory; adding that the project has been designed in a manner that would ensure affordability by the workers.
The Minister said the housing scheme covers entire districts and would also provide job and employment opportunities to over 7,000 skilled and unskilled Nigerians thereby helping to reduce unemployment.
He directed the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to immediately commence arrangements not only to supervise but also to provide basic infrastructure such as water and electricity to the site in line with the instructions of President Jonathan.
The workers housing projects which have taken off are located on 329.93 hectares of land in parts of Lugbe District and 298.59 hectares in Apo Tayfi District of the Federal Capital City. The workers housing scheme in the FCT is being developed by two consortia, namely Good Homes Development Company Limited and the Chicason Group. The companies are special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to undertake the financing and construction of housing units One, Two and Three Bedroom bungalow types as well as detached and semi detached blocks of flat.