By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola recently, described the numbers of empty houses in the country as overwhelming just as he disclosed that the claim that the country has over 17 million housing deficits is not realistic.
Fashola spoke in Abuja shortly after he inaugurated the newly reconstituted Board of Directors of the Federal Housing Authority, (FHA) under the chairmanship of Senator Lawal Shaibu.
While disputing the 17million housing deficits’ figure, the minister said the claim could not be justified because of huge numbers of empty houses that are scattered around the country.
“There are housing deficits in urban areas no doubt but there are empty houses in the rural areas and even in the urban centres where there is deficit. There are many empty houses across the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Lagos, Port Harcourt , Onitsha, Asaba. There are empty houses all over the major urban centres of Nigeria,” Fashola said.
He charged the new board to build more federal housing estates like the one they built in Gwarimpa and others to accommodate many Nigerians and also charged the new 13-board member to explore the ongoing development agenda of the present administration, especially in the area of job creation.
He said one of the priorities of the government is building of infrastructure which, according to him, has helped in creating jobs for the teeming population in both the formal and informal sector.
Fashola also challenged them to deliver on the mandate of the agency by embarking on building of new cities and other housing projects in order to cater for accommodation needs of Nigerians.
He added that the policy of the government is to deliver affordable housing, acceptable to Nigerians, saying that the agencies are the implementing arms “for housing delivery through FHA.