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Abia to improve housing provision using Lagos model

The Abia State Government is set to improve housing provision in the state using the Lagos State Government’s model.

Based on this, the Abia State Ministry Commissioner for Housing, Mr. James Okpara, paid his Lagos counterpart, Gbolahan Lawal, a courtesy visit recently.

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Okpara said his team came to learn from the housing projects of the Lagos State Government with a view to replicating some in Abia.

He stated that when he became the commissioner last year, he found out that the state did not have a housing policy.

“I promised that even if it is the only thing I do before leaving office, it must be done. The housing policy is not being taken very seriously in many states but Lagos is the most advanced state in the country and we know that we can get the best from here; so, we want to learn how the state is doing it and succeeding,” Okpara stated.

Lawal told the delegation that Lagos had created programmes on housing to bridge the close to three million deficit.

“We need to build about 187,500 houses annually to bridge the three million housing gap in the state. As of today, we are on 17 sites working on 6,000 housing units. We are also partnering the private sector because we know that working with the players will help us bridge the gap,” he said.

Lawal stated that not too long ago, a delegation from Kano State also came for a similar visit, adding that he was glad that other state governments found Lagos’ housing initiative attractive enough to replicate in their states.

A presentation on the various housing programmes in Lagos State was made to the delegation, followed by a tour of one of the project sites.

“The policy is good, we couldn’t expect any less from Lagos State being the centre of excellence; what we learnt will go a long way in helping us with our vision. We will take part of it, Lagos and Abia are not the same, but there are some parameters that will be the same; so, we will take those that suit the state,” Okpara said at the end of the meeting.

NSE plans infrastructure development in rural areas

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

The Nigerian Society of Engineers has disclosed plans to take the profession to rural communities under an initiative known as Community Engineering Project.

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The NSE President, Mr. Adekunle Mokuolu, said the CEP, expected to be done at an estimated cost of N2bn, involved massive deployment of professional manpower in rural communities across the country.

Mokuolu, who spoke at the 25th anniversary of the NSE Ikeja Branch, said a transparent process of selecting six remote villages, which would enjoy the status of pilot in the CEP, one from each of the geopolitical zones of the country, had commenced.

He added, “The focus here involves massive deployment of our professional manpower in rural communities across Nigeria. The objective of the project is to provide basic engineering infrastructure through voluntary service; infrastructure, which includes rural roads, water projects, school buildings, electrification, provision of farming implements, building of livestock ranches and poultries; and such other services that are guaranteed to foster unity and progress in our country.

“The projects are designed to be a collaborative venture between the NSE, local governments and the traditional institutions across the country. At my inauguration, I shared my vision and made commitment to work with our colleagues with the focus on corporate social responsibility; through this means, we will impact the citizenry positively.”

According to him, by the initiative, the NSE has undertaken to assist the government in bringing growth and improvement to the lives of citizens in the rural areas.

“We are optimistic that funding of the projects will be achieved through donations from public spirited individuals, corporate organisations, international donors and friends of engineering. I expect our colleagues to voluntarily provide expertise to make the project a success,” Mokuolu added.

The Honorary Adviser to the President and Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Mr. Joseph Makoju, stated that the having recently exited recession, the Nigerian economy was still undergoing transition and needed to be rapidly diversified.

Makoju, who was represented by the Senior General Manager, Dangote Projects, Mr. AwaluAliu, as the guest speaker at the anniversary, said there was a need to deepen and expand manufacturing, agricultural and mining sectors as a first step.

He said, “While one must acknowledge the efforts of the Federal Government and some state governments to diversify and expand the productive base of the economy, there is a very real concern that the current oil price recovery, as welcome as it is, could lure us to slip into a state of lethargy and complacency.

“We might once again fail to take difficult decisions to address some of the root causes of our economic malaise – the very issues that got us into recession in the first place. As individuals and as a professional group, we need to harp on this point and ensure that government at all levels stay focused on their quest to industrialise the economy and grow our non-oil exports.”

Makoju added that no nation had successfully transited from developing to newly industrialised status without growing its manufacturing base.

He stated, “It is sometimes easy to forget how far behind we have slipped as a nation unless we make painful comparisons with nations that were once considered our peers. For instance, the industrial sectors in Malaysia and Thailand contribute over 30 per cent to Gross Domestic Product and over 70 per cent to exports.

“In stark contrast, Nigeria, a country that is a lot more endowed, has an industrial sector that contributes less than 10 per cent to the GDP and its total non-oil exports accounts for less than four per cent of aggregate export revenue.”

Others, who spoke at the event, lamented the marginalisation of engineering professionals in the country.

According to them, Nigerian engineers are being relegated to the background as the government and some individuals give priority to foreigners.

The Chairman, Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, said indigenous engineers had not been given their rightful place in the society.

Dokpesi, who is a marine engineer, noted that the problem had been politicised.

He added, “Recently, the Minister of Science and Technology attempted to deal with part of the problem. The political will to see it implemented is what this branch and every engineer must pursue.

“There must be restriction on lesser qualified technicians from abroad and on any person coming into the country claiming to be an engineer without proper training or experience.”

The Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, said the war against quackery in engineering would not be easy to win, and urged all engineers to see it as a challenge.

“Whatever it takes, let us show that we can do it, even if we have to fight to get it done. We will not move forward by just telling them that we are being marginalised,” he stated.

The President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Mr. Kashim Ali, commended the branch members for their contributions to national development.

The NSE, Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr. Akintayo Akintola, said the branch would sustain the legacy left by the past leaders of the society.

‘How foreign capital aids Nigeria’s commercial real estate rebound’

Notwithstanding that real estate recovery has taken time to gain traction, foreigners are fueling capital injection in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan Africa countries, with South Africa and United Kingdom investors leading the way.

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Although, an oversupply of high-end property and limited access to finance have underpinned the market’s slow bounce back, prospects are looking up for the second quarter of the year.

According to a report from international brokerage, Knight Frank, the persuasive long-term investment case for Sub-Saharan Africa has drawn increased numbers of international investors to investigate opportunities within the region over recent years, albeit transactional activity has been restricted by the limited availability of investment- grade stock and the opacity of the markets outside of South Africa.


Interest in the sector remains heightened, despite the weakening of some Sub-Saharan economies over the last two years.

Two years ago, Investors’ appetite for Sub-Saharan real estate was highlighted by the announcement that the UK-based emerging markets specialist Actis had raised US$500 million for its third African property fund, Actis Africa Real Estate Fund 3.

This is the largest amount that has ever been raised for a private real estate fund focused on Sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa, and it included a commitment from the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC).

The report revealed that Actis’ two previous funds, closed in 2006 and 2012, have been involved with some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most modern commercial property developments, in countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania.

In recent years, Actis has exited from many of its first wave of investments, selling its interests in assets including the Accra Mall, Nairobi Business Park and Ikeja City Mall.

When Actis launched its first Sub-Saharan Africa fund over a decade ago, it was a pioneer entering a market largely untapped by global property funds.

However, its third fund will enter a significantly more crowded marketplace as a series of property investment vehicles have emerged in recent years targeting Sub-Saharan real estate.

Many of these are South African- controlled funds, albeit often registered or listed offshore in Mauritius.

A prominent example is RMB Westport, which was created in 2008 as a joint venture between Rand Merchant Bank and the Westport Property Group.

Its development projects were the Wings Office Complex in Lagos and Muxima Shopping Centre in Luanda. RMB Westport’s second fund, which has a target of raising US$450 million, has attracted commitments from both GIC and the UK investor Grosvenor.

Other real estate investment vehicles to have been launched in the last two years include a pan-African joint venture created by Growthpoint and Investec, which has the target of raising US$500 million.

Momentum Global Investment Management and Eris Property Group have also formed a joint venture, the US$250 million Momentum Africa Real Estate Fund, which has allocated capital to development projects in Ghana and Nigeria.

The Anglo-South African group Old Mutual signalled its intention to expand its African footprint by announcing a partnership with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.

This venture aims to raise US$500 million for a real estate fund, in addition to a US$200 million agriculture investment vehicle.

A further noteworthy event was the creation of Mara Delta, a pan- African real estate fund formed from the merger of Delta Africa and Mara Diversified Property Holdings.

During 2016, Mara Delta was one of the most acquisitive buyers of real estate across the region, growing a portfolio which currently includes assets in Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique and Zambia.

An estate surveyor and valuer, Mr. Akin Olawore who doubles as the president of Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), told The Guardian that most of the commercial buildings standing today were financed and built by such investors.

“These are part of the sums that make up Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to Nigeria, which is highest in the last five years in SSA.

“Statistics show that we have opportunities in those sectors and also have the strength of bringing in anchor tenants.

Also private equities need big assets to finance to be lucrative, a number of these assets may be bundled into REITS package to create exit for the investors to take over. “

A past Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors & Valuers (NIESV), Lagos State Branch, Mr. Stephen Jagun said that the returns are too juicy to be ignored.

“Get the right location and deliver a super product; and if possible pre-let or pre-sale to target audience. We also have the huge population to our advantage.”

For Mrs. Erejuwa Gbadebo, Chief Executive Officer, International Real Estate Partners (IREP) Nigeria said the foreign investors have not revived the real estate.

FG declares state of emergency in water, sanitation sector

In a bid to revitalize the deplorable situation of the Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector, the Federal Government has declared state of emergency in the sector.
The memorandum for National WASH Action Plan was approved during the last the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

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The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, an engineer had told the council that the WASH sector is currently in crisis situation and requires urgent action for its revitalization.


The Minister explained that the action plan would set out a 13-year revitalization strategy for WASH sector including 18 months emergency phase and five years recovery plan adding that it would provide for concrete actions to be taken by both Federal and State Governments under five components comprising governance, sustainability, funding, financing and monitoring and evaluation.

According to a statement signed by the Director Press in the ministry, Mrs Kenechukwu Offie, the minister explained that the Action Plan includes the establishment of a National WASH Fund as a tool for the promotion of renewed Federal-State partnership and increased financial investment for WASH so as to measure up to regional level of funding.

Adamu said the National WASH Action Plan would change the worrisome situation and reverse the ugly trend while the declaration of state of emergency on the sector will change the narrative.
He said following the national declaration, States and Local Governments are expected to follow suit, through increasing their political and financial commitment to the WASH Sector.

He then commended the Federal Government for providing the leadership and demonstrating the necessary political will at the highest level by declaring state of emergency in the WASH Sector.

Speaking further, the Minister said that the ministry has made significant efforts through National retreats with critical stakeholders from the federal, state governments, legislators and development partners that resulted in the development of a National WASH Action Plan.

FCTA To Partner Chams On Abuja ICT Smart City Project

The minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Muhammad Musa Bello, has said the FCTA is working on arrangement to partner with Chams Plc, a leading provider of identity management and intelligent business solutions on the Abuja Smart City project.

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Speaking during a presentation by Chams Plc in Abuja recently, the chief of staff, FCTA, Mr Bashir Mai-Bornu, who represented the minister at the event, said the FCTA would like to engage the company in providing ICT solutions in the areas of education and health. He said: ‘‘Technology is the future and anybody that ignores it does so it at his own peril. The FCT requires a lot of ICT solutions because of the services it provides.

We believe with what Chams has done in the country in its 33 years of existence, it can play a big role in making Abuja a smart city.’’ In his response, the group managing director, Chams, Mr Femi Williams, said the company has a lot of creative ways of solving problems.

According to him, the company is good at understanding challenges and can generate Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the FCTA from any area with different strategies. In his presentation, Williams said the company has provided intelligent business solutions for many clients which include: Osun and Anambra state governments, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN, among others.

‘‘Most of our solutions are built and managed by Nigerians. We don’t sell solutions, we adapt them. We are very good at understanding challenges. We do intelligent business solutions that add value to our customers.’’ Chams, a conglomerate commenced business in Nigeria in 1985 as a computer hardware and maintenance company. The company is quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

THE NIGERIA HOUSING AWARDS……..

Established over a decade ago, the Nigerian Housing Awards (NHA) is widely known as the gold standard for performance excellence in the mortgage banking and affordable housing.

Every year, the organizers of the Abuja international Housing Show, present Awards to those individuals and corporations that have helped further our Corporate Mission of ensuring that Nigerians have affordable and decent homes. In particular, we recognize exemplary real estate developments and communities that demonstrate creativity in expanding housing opportunities for Nigeria’s working families.

Affordable housing projects are often the hardest to pull together, but at the same time, the most inspiring to complete. These awards are presented during the Annual Gala Dinner held on the evening of the final day of the Abuja International Housing Show-the largest housing event in west Africa.

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You cant miss this great event which has become a unique opportunity to interact with who is who in Nigeria construction industry and international investors

Sponsorship of the NHA provides a unique opportunity to reach influencers and thought leaders of housing finance and affordable housing at the industry’s premier awards event, and includes premium placement of your organization’s brand in the event program and on NHA’s website www.nha2018.com

We pay N1.5billion to poorest Nigerians monthly, says Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the present administration is paying N5,000 monthly to over 300,000 of the poorest families across the country.
The vice president said the payment was being done without discrimination along party lines.

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Speaking on Thursday in Umuahia at the launch of Abia State Tele-Health Support Centre, Osinbajo said the federal government was giving loans to over 300,000 traders and artisans, feeding 125,624 pupils in 742 schools “and we have 1,569 cooks in total; for microcredit loans under our GEEP scheme, we have given loans to 7,585 small businesses.”
He said the government had so far invested about N2.4 billion of the Social Investment Programmes’ funds in Abia State “and specifically in healthcare, we have the Saving One Million Lives Initiative, which has made available $1.5 million to each state government – including Abia State – to improve the quality of basic healthcare available especially to our women and children.”


The vice president said the federal government’s plan for the nation was a universal health coverage for all Nigerians.
“Health insurance is the most effective way of ensuring access to healthcare when needed and at the same time funding our healthcare system, and ensuring that healthcare personnel are well rewarded,” he said.


He said President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the welfare of all Nigerians, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, regardless of their ethnic or political affiliations.

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“This commitment has meant two things. First is President Buhari’s determination to break from the past where the federal government only supported states where the party in office was their own. At the inauguration of the NEC in 2015, he publicly declared that our own NEC will assist every state because poverty in our nation is no respecter of ethnic group, religion or party affiliation. Consequently, as of today the federal government has supported states without discrimination along party lines to the tune of N1.91 Trillion.


“The second is that the Federal government has prioritized social and economic policies and programmes that will bring the greatest benefit to the greatest number of our people. We have examples of these in our Social Investment Programmes. Today, we are feeding 7.5 million children in our Home-grown School Feeding Programme in 22 States. We have employed 200,000 graduates in our N-Power scheme, 300,000 more are waiting to be formally engaged. Every single local government in Nigeria is covered,” Osinbajo said.


He said the creation of the Abia State Tele-Health Support Centre would reduce the time spent travelling in search of healthcare, or waiting in line to see a doctor in healthcare facilities and close the access-to-healthcare gap between urban and rural areas.
“It will also make Abia State standout, within and outside Nigeria, as a forward-looking, people-centred state; one that is open to new ideas and to life-changing innovation,” the vice president added.

51 Africa tourism Ministers to visit Eko Atlantic City in Lagos

The Eko Atlantic City in Lagos State has been chosen as the location for a technical visit as part of activities lined up for the 61st Meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization/Commission for Africa (UNWTO/CAF), scheduled for June 4 to 6 in Abuja.

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The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced this in Lagos on Thursday when he paid a visit to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State to intimate him with details of the forthcoming international event.

Lagos, according to Mohammed, is crucial to the success of the meeting, as Eko Atlantic City is a promising city in Sub-Saharan Africa with many world class amenities.

He said the theme of the 61st UNWTO/CAF Meeting is ‘Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development’.

”The visit is to thank the Governor for the support he has given for the hosting of the 61st United Nations World Tourism Organisation/CAF meeting. CAF is the Commission for Africa which comprises of 51 ministers of tourism in all of Africa.

”Nigeria won unanimously the right to host this conference about a year ago.

”Our visit to Governor Ambode is to thank him for his support so far and to intimate him that in recognition of Lagos State as a tourism haven, we have chosen the Eko Atlantic City as the area to visit with the 51 ministers.

”There is an event in the programme called ‘technical visit’ and we have chosen a visit to the Eko Atlantic City. The idea is to showcase to the world what Eko Atlantic City is all about.

”We have been there before during the World Tourism Day in 2016. Only recently, Mr President also was there on a tour of that city.

”So, we are now reinforcing this by bringing all the 51 African ministers to have an opportunity to see how Lagos State is investing in tourism,” he said.

The minister said that Nigeria would derive a lot of benefits from its hosting of the meeting.

He said it would put Nigeria and the nation’s tourism industry in global focus, in addition to attracting foreign research experts and promoting the necessary network that will form the basis for future cooperation.

”Also, it will provide Nigeria with the opportunity to showcase itself to the world, especially in the area of its culture and tourism; and of course, we have a lot to showcase: our tourist attractions, our rich culture, as well as our music and films, which have taken the world by storm,” he said.

The minister called on Nigerians to support the Federal Government in making the meeting a success, saying that the tourism world expects so much from Nigeria.

Responding, Gov. Ambode said that tourism provides the best platform to showcase and promote the nation’s culture, language and heritage.

”We believe strongly that we must emphasise more on our culture and our heritage and there is no other platform we can use other than the platform of tourism.

”So, we are in tandem with your vision and aspirations to make sure that we tell Nigerians the way our story was and the way our story is and also be able to tell outsiders who we are and who we want to be.

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“For me, I need to support you because this is also in line with what we believe strongly that Nigerians ought to do.

“In the last three years, we have tried as much as possible to promote our heritage and also promote our languages.

”We do not want a situation where the Nigerian culture which is so rich and diverse will become extinct.

“That is why we must do everything in our own capacity to ensure that everything that the Federal Government is doing through the Ministry of Information and Culture, in bringing the unity of Nigerian together, is supported by this government.

”I want to reiterate that we are happy to be part of this event coming up. We want to showcase Lagos as a tourist State; our drive is to make Lagos State the tourist hub of Africa; we are getting near it,” Ambode said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria secured the hosting right for the meeting during the 60th Meeting of the UNWTO/CAF in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 2017.

FCTA and Gosa Market demolition

Officials of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council under the Federal Capital Territory Administration, on Saturday, March 24, 2018, carried out an exercise to remove shanties at the Gosa Market along the Abuja Airport Road. The whole idea behind the removal, as was stated, was to clean the area and free it from obstructing traffic moving into the city of Abuja.

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Prior to the demolition, these officials, in line with laid down regulations, met several times with the owners of the illegal stalls to make them understand the need to keep the airport expressway free from obstruction so as to save lives and property against frequent accidents.

The case was also made that the airport expressway being the main gateway to the country could not afford to have such unsightly and unplanned structures littering the whole area, giving visitors a wrong impression about the country. It was further agreed that the traders would limit their activities to 500 metres away from the expressway.

Unfortunately, these illegal stalls continued to spring up and spill right onto the expressway, thereby endangering the lives of motorists plying that very important gateway to the city and leading to numerous accidents with casualties.

One could therefore understand why the FCT Administration took the path it did in clearing these illegal structures to save the Abuja master plan from needless distortions. This is because some of these developments, if left unchecked, have the potential to derail the city from the visions of its founding fathers and turn Abuja into an urban slum.

However, following that demolition, some of the aggrieved persons cashed in and set up bonfires on the road leading to traffic obstruction and heavy gridlock on that very important road. Some of them even claimed that they were not informed before the demolition took place which clearly is not the case because these traders, mainly of the Gbagi extraction, had in the past staged similar protests against the planned relocation of the market.

Much as one may want to sympathise with the traders whom it would seem have had their major source of livelihood cut off abruptly, the fact however cannot be overlooked that their activities along the airport road had become a major source of concern due to the danger they posed to motorists and the city’s ambience.

Those familiar with that route would agree that the uncontrolled expansion of the Gosa Market led to the pedestrian paths and service lanes becoming part of the market, further making it a nuisance to road users. The place equally became inundated by commercial vehicles and the road began to witness cases of recklessness on the use of the roads.

This is the reason for some of the accidents being witnessed on that road due to regular cases of gross violation of traffic rules with motor cyclists and cab drivers running against traffic in order to do brisk business. Travellers on the Airport road on a daily basis, especially on Fridays also suffered untold hardships on their ways, to and fro Abuja, as they had to endure gruelling traffic hold-ups occasioned by traders blocking the road which also resulted to missing of flights and time wastage.

The action of the FCT Administration therefore became inevitable which no doubt is with a view to saving lives and arresting gross violation of traffic rules on a major gateway to the city.

But the administration also proved it still remains sympathetic to the cause of these traders as what it has done so far is to remove the empty stalls in the area, sparing the containers that were under lock and key with wares inside them but with further instruction that they must be removed before their next visit.

It is also gladdening to see that another location has been identified much deeper into the Gosa community with a capacity to accommodate over 1,500 traders as well as a parking space for about 500 cars.

So, rather than staging protests and taking the law into their own hands by obstructing the expressway with bonfires and roadblocks, the affected traders should go into dialogue with the FCTA to fast-track the process of settling into the new location that has been set aside for the market.

Danladi Akilu, Gudu District, Abuja

Only 30% of naval personnel have accommodation –Naval chief

With the dearth of decent and affordable accommodation biting harder among Nigerians coupled with the attendant escalating cost of rents, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, recently said that only 30 per cent of the officers, representing 6,000 personnel have permanent accommodation.

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Ibas, who spoke during the commissioning of the Nigerian Navy Officers Quarters at Kubwa, said the facility would house only about 66 officers and the their families, noting that the situation would degenerate if deliberate steps are not taken to address the accommodation needs of officers.

In order to nip more problems related to accommodation in the bud, the Chief of Naval Staff appealed to the Ministry of Defence to accord the Nigerian Navy appropriate considerations in the intervention projects of barracks’ provisions.

He stated that aside the accommodation, 70 per cent of its personnel welfare needs were unmet resulting in significant gaps in the accommodation needs of both officers and men in the country.

“For instance, the Nigerian Navy is only able to cater for permanent accommodation of 6,000 of its personnel, which represents less than 30 per cent of its total accommodation needs.Additionally, due to the peculiarities of military deployments, transfer accommodations are also required for personnel serving outside locations of their permanent residence.

“To this end, only about 4,500 personnel, which is less than 40 per cent of the required transit accommodation has been achieved. With a projected annual need of about 2,500 ratings and 200 officers, the accommodation situation will continue to worsen if deliberate steps are not taken in the short and medium terms to match intake,” he noted.

One of the compelling developmental objectives in the NN transformation plan, which is instituting affordable housing ownership schemes for personnel and provision of adequate accommodation will be met, he assured the personnel.

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The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Nuratu Batagarawa, while commissioning the project, said she hoped that the accommodation would boost the morale and operational efficiency of the personnel towards contributing positively in enhancing improved maritime security and nation building.

She noted that accommodation challenges “in view of the NN peculiar inadequate barrack accommodation situation, will be given more consideration to ensure delivery of more living quarters to NN personnel. Our ability to account for the funds spent on this project makes it easier to attract more government funding,” she stated.

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