The federal government has said it would demolish houses built on waterways that violated the master plan in its housing estates.
Minister of state, power, works & housing II, Surv Suleiman Zarma disclosed this in Abuja yesterday during the inspection tour of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) estate in Lugbe, Abuja, in company of the managing director of FHA, Prof Mohammed Al-amin. FHA Lugbe, which is the second oldest estate in Abuja apart from the one in Karu area of Abuja, is taunted by poor road network, poor waste management and illegal encroachment, which raised questions on the need for residents to embrace maintenance culture.
The minister noted that federal government would pay compensation to owners of legal houses that would be affected during the renewal of FHA Lugbe adding that illegal structures built on waterways would be demolished without compensation. Zarma linked the current state of the estate as flagrant abuse of planning regulations by the residents and government staffs as well as the failure of the past administration to upgrade the existing infrastructures. The minister stated that the existing infrastructure are overstretched given the increased number of families that were not captured in the master plan, noting that he would liaise with FHA to review the plan and enforce areas earmarked for hospitals, schools and among others.
Also speaking, the managing director of FHA, Prof Mohammed Al-amin hinted that federal government has spent about N100 billion in building new houses from 2016 till date, stressing that FHA is currently utilising N10 bn in building houses in Zuba and Kwali. Al-amin emphasised that FHA together with Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) stopped getting funding for more than 13 years until last year, saying that the N150bn seed fund agreed by federal government to be released to agency has not been released till date.
He pointed out that federal government has earmarked some money for urban renewal which would cut across FHA estates and local neighbourhood. In carrying out the renewal, Al-amin asserted that federal government would mobilise resources from other sources, stating that discussions are in progress with UN habitat for special intervention fund on urban renewal likewise from Shelter Afrique on slum upgrade. The MD expressed dissatisfaction over the illegal encroachment in FHA even as he lamented that the 20 metres space supposed to be left as floodable area is less than 5 metres.
He stated that FHA is in close collaboration with the FCT administration to enforce compliance of the Lugbe master plan irrespective of the social status of the violators adding that this is the first time any government would be building and maintaining existing infrastructure. On his part, the chairman, Lugbe residents association, Mr Adesina Odelana sought the intervention of federal government in building alternative roads in the estate, supposed to be housing almost one million people. While noting that the existing facilities at the estate are overstretched, he requested for the construction of police outpost, hospitals, schools and water. He said though the estate have been upgraded as Federal Capital City (FCC) that the residents are yet to reap the dividends of the upgrade.