By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has charged universities Vice Chancellors in Nigeria on the need to provide affordable housing for indigent students.
Fashola stated this at the High Level Policy Dialogue on Affordable Housing for indigent students and low income earners organised by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities (CVC) in Abuja.
Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State II for Power, Works and Housing, Surv. Suleiman Hassan Zarma, commended the university Dons for the laudable initiatives of the new pro-poor housing framework aimed at addressing the housing challenges of these categories of people and indeed the entire citizenry.
This was contained in a statement signed by PIO Housing ,Olatunji John for: Director (Information) said that the CVC’s inspiration stemmed from the PhD work of Dr. Paschal Onyemaechi whose findings and research work has translated into a housing project termed .
‘’Build for Nigeria’’ shared the vision of the present administration’s on-going construction of mass and affordable housing across the 36 States of the federation, under the National Housing Programme Scheme.
According to the Minister, ‘’it is no longer news that there is a huge housing deficit in the country and that the poor and low income earners are at the receiving end.
It is very unfair that our children at our Tertiary Institutions are also grappling with the problem of accommodation.’’
He however assured them that government is mindful of these situations and is heavily investing on infrastructural facilities, site and services schemes, mortgage facilities, Public Private Partnership Schemes and lots more to bridge the gap of the nation’s housing deficits.
The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities which is coordinating collaboration amongst all the 153 universities in Nigeria, has decided to take the lead with the Dialogue, along with other sponsors and professional bodies to identify and proffer possible solutions to the escalating low-income housing deficit and the urban housing crisis in Nigeria.
The overall essence of the research is to focus on how the benefits of Public Private Partnership (PPP) can be maximized to improve access to decent and affordable housing for low and middle-income earners in developing economies like Nigeria.
The High-Level Policy Dialogue which featured panel discussants, presented a detailed report on the strategies for the implementation of the ‘Build for Nigeria’ solution to the Vice President and other leaders representing various interest groups and the general public.
The occasion was graced by the Executive Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Atiku Bagudu, Minister of State for Education, Prof Anthony Anwuka, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Royal fathers and other keynote speakers.