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We’ll Work With FG To Provide Housing For Rivers People – Gov Fubara

-Says Rivers Govt. Working In Line With Mr President's Vision

Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured that the State Government would work harmoniously with the Federal Government to address the issue of housing affecting low-income earners in the State.

This synergy, he said, will no doubt reduce the pressure faced by citizens facing the challenge of housing, which is not only affecting low-income but also medium-income earners.

Governor Fubara made the assertion when he received the management team of the Federal Housing Authority of Nigeria (FHAN), led by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Hon. Oyetunde Ojo, who paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.

Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara (middle); Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Hon. Oyetunde Ojo (6th left); and other members of the Management Team of FHA during an official visit to Government House, Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.

The Governor, who noted that the problem of housing has become a major issue confronting Nigerians, said the Rivers State Government recently flagged off a 20,000 housing unit project to address the housing needs of low-income earners in the state, which, he added, is also in line with Mr. President’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

“Let me use this medium to say a big thank you to Mr President. We all know the basic needs of a family: food, clothing and shelter. And in our country today, because of the cost of living, housing has become an issue.

“It is no longer an issue of medium-income earners, because medium-income earners cannot even afford housing again. So, it is an issue that the government, both at the federal and state levels, must come together and work together to find a lasting solution. Maybe we may not completely eradicate the problem, but we can reduce that pressure on the citizens,” he said.

Related: Don’t Panic, We’ll Protect Rivers Interest – Gov Fubara

He noted, “We are thinking in the same line as Mr. President. In our dear state, some months ago, we flagged off a 20,000-unit housing project, specifically for low-income earners. What is the purpose? How many people can afford housing in the GRAs? Just a few of us. We need to make provision for our civil servants. We need to make provisions for our traders and taxi drivers. We need to make provisions for our teachers and other classes of workers. That is what gave birth to that programme. And I am happy to say today that the project is ongoing, and there is evidence of seriousness to that.”

Governor Fubara expressed delight with the purpose of the visit, which he said ties into the social housing policy of his administration, emphasising that FHA’s commitment to partner with the state government in providing housing will contribute to mitigating the plight of the citizens.

He described the government of President Bola Tinubu as people-oriented, given the seriousness the FHA attaches to ensuring the success of the project in collaboration with the state government and assured of his administration’s commitment to give the necessary support for the success of the project.

“I am really happy this evening to receive this delegation from the Federal Housing Authority because even the houses we are providing still won’t solve the problem. So, adding this to what we are already doing will also help in mitigating the challenges.

“Your demands are very simple. We have records available that show that lands given to some people have been undeveloped. That will not be the story anymore. We are dealing with a team that has come, made commitments, and already pledged their seriousness, telling us here that they are not interested in just the land but want even the contractors, who must be indigenous people from Rivers State, to be part of the project. They didn’t even end there. They are also saying that for this project, they want to do it in such a way that they want the state to support off-takers. What else does anybody need to show that this federal government is people-oriented,” he said.

“I want to assure you that we will, as a government and as the head of the state government, call the team that is concerned: the Permanent Secretary of Lands and the Commissioner for Housing. They are going to meet with you, assess areas that are still undeveloped, and you will make your choice and commence work.

“You said something very interesting. It’s not just building housing for the sake of building, but building in a way that will consider the income of the would-be occupiers. It means you have people at heart.

“You are not just embarking on the project as a white elephant project; you are not just embarking on the project because you want to come and flag off the project or commission it; you are interested in the end product. It shows seriousness, and that is our motto. As a government, we are interested in ending the few things that we are doing well, and people see the purpose and the usefulness of our projects.

“So, I want to assure you that we will give you all the necessary support. Our message to Mr. President is that: We are going to own the project; we will see that it succeeds so that it will also be a legacy for him in our dear state.”

Earlier, the Managing Director/CEO of the Federal Housing Authority of Nigeria, Hon. Oyetunde Ojo, had said they were at Government House to pay a courtesy visit to the Governor as well as intimate him on Mr. President’s mandate to the authority to provide affordable housing to Nigerians as encapsulated in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

Hon. Ojo, who noted the strategic position of Rivers State in the country, solicited the governor’s partnership in making available land to enable the authority to fulfil its mandate of providing affordable housing to the people.

“We are here for two reasons: to pay a courtesy visit and to inform you of the mandate that Mr. President has given to the Federal Housing Authority of Nigeria to provide affordable housing to Nigerians. In the Renewed Hope Agenda, we all know that housing is a specified area, which Mr. President talked about.

“Right now in Nigeria, we are seriously lacking shelter. And I say, it’s not only about lacking shelter; it’s about being affordable. And what is affordable? It is what low-income earners can purchase and afford.

“Your Excellency, you all know the position of Rivers State in this country. After Abuja being the capital city, Lagos and Rivers are two major economic hubs of Nigeria, which nobody can downplay in this country.

“And by so doing, we in the Federal Housing Authority have decided to take a position, and what is our position in coming here today? The land is vested in your authority as the owner of the land in the state. It’s one thing that you give us the land and we go to Abuja and do a design.

“In our tenure, we want a scenario where we have a partnership, not just collecting land but also sitting down with your team to design what you think is suitable for your people. The houses will be designed and tailored towards the needs of the residents and people of Rivers State,” he said.

He said that the collaboration was necessary to secure the buy-in of the off-takers so that they could own the houses for their own sustainability.

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