Arc.Onjefu Ochoche is the Ag.General Manager Quality Control, Federal Housing Authorty(FHA). In this interview with Mashe Umaru Gwamna, he spoke on how the authority is collaborating with relevant stakeholders to address Gwarinpa estate traffic situation. He also advised residents to always obey traffic laws. Ochoche also spoke on other sundry issues. Excerpts:
Sir, why are you embarking on this traffic sensitization?
Over the years, Gwarinpa was built as a residential neighborhood in Abuja with provisions for the highest level of comfort and convenience. When we talk about this comfort, we are talking about comfort of the estate that includes the traffic and all other pleasures that a well designed estate has.
But with time we discovered that traffic build up have become common place and with this development, the original quality of the estate has been heavily comprised and we felt the need to restore it to its original status . We have decided to call all the stakeholders’ together to address it and to bring to everyone’s attention the role they need to play so that we can sanitize the system.
Are you making plans to extend such to other FHA estates?
Yes, we are. But for now, Gwarinpa estate is our flagship estate in FHA and whatever we establish here will be replicated in all other estate in the country.
We have different estates in Nigeria with various challenges. Festac in Lagos is one of the closest example with what we are experiencing. But I assure you that we will get to those places. We have started here, very soon we will be making Gwarinpa our reference point.
How do you intend to sustain the programme?
We intend to sustain it with the collaboration of all the stakeholders’ that are here. We will continue to meet with them to ensure that the programme is a success. We would also like to acknowledge different agencies and people playing different roles to ensure safety in Gwarinpa roads. The roles of the police and road safety is very important. We are bringing them together to ensure the need for synergy and not individual agency approach to the situation. Already, the various agencies have pledged their support and have given us officers that can deliver the best services needed to address the various challenges that is beclouding the estate. It is our prayer that the estate will reflect what we want it to be.
What are your plans to address illegal Conversion?
Let me say this; originally, when the estate was developed, we had a plan on ground, but as always said, planning is dynamic. With time, we will definitely accommodate some changes. Though we don’t agree with anything illegal, but at times there could be room for conversion. We may have a residential unit that we want to use for school,clinic or shop. We look at their premises and on its own merit, we could give approval for conversion if we discover you meet the requirement.
Also, one should not expect that the Gwarinpa that was developed 20 years will remain like that without any changes.
As emerging news came up, we address them and where conversion are confirmed appropriately, we make approval for that.
And this is a global concept in planning that with development and emerging trends, we move along with the trend.
Addressing illegal conversion with this forum is necessary. This is just addressing one aspect of the challenge that we have in the estate which is traffic. Other issues like illegal conversion, maintenance of the estate and bad roads are there. We have been addressing some of these challenges. But now we want to have them head on. The same thing with illegal conversion and other challenges of our estate. We will address them but one at a time.
We give attention to the issue that we find to be really pressing at a particular time . Of course,all these issues are pressing but we have to think on the available resources, available personnel and then we prioritize our programmes.
What advice do you have for the residents?
Advice for the residents is to respect the traffic by showing some level of patience. Some challenges we are facing are more man made than the physical condition of the road. Many at times, there is little holdup, you only need to wait for two to three seconds but because you are not patient to wait for that period, you leave your lane and go to the other lane and by so doing, you have blocked the person coming from there, he can’t go, you can’t go. So let’s be a little patient and respect traffic regulation. We should also consider other people and be law abiding at all times.