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Published On: Mon, Jun 30th, 2014

Towards improving police housing in Nigeria

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Sunday Adewusi Housing EstateBy Stanley Onyekwere

The clamour for a better standard of living for the Nigeria Police Force was advanced early this month, when President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned 1000 housing units for the rank and file and officers of the Nigeria Police Force in Dakwa, Abuja.

The 1,000 housing estate, which is christened, Sunday Adewusi Housing Estate consists of three, two and one bedroom housing units.

While commissioning the project, Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, disclosed that since the past two years, the Police Force has so far commissioned 2,000 housing units.

Only recently, President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned the first modern police housing estate named after him in Lagos.

The President commended the initiative of the Nigerian police in collaboration with the Federal Mortgage Bank (FMBN) to provide affordable housing for its officers and also reiterated the commitment of his administration to provide affordable housing for Nigerians.

The estate, named “Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Police Housing Estate,” comprises 200 units of 3-bedroom flats. The estate was built under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), scheme being financed by Aso Housing and Loans and developed by Remax developers.

 Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, an excited President Jonathan said this was the first time in Nigeria’s history that the Nigerian Police would achieve such a laudable venture. He also emphasised that the federal government is committed to improving the standard of living of all police officers in the country, irrespective of their rank or status.

He said the PPP initiative was the only way the government could achieve many of its goals in providing the much needed infrastructural amenities.

The President commended the leadership of the Nigerian Police for “taking the initiative to develop an estate for its members. Not only is this commendable, it is remarkable because it goes a long way in complementing the efforts of the Federal Government in providing low cost housing for the citizenry.”

He also noted that one of the ways in which government was aiming at improving the standard of living of police officers in the country was embarking on massive transformation of all barracks in the country.

“This will cost the government a lot of money to achieve, but at the end it will be worth it,” he said.

Mr. Jonathan thanked the police boss and his management team for naming the estate after him, but however noted that it would have been better for him to be receiving such honours after leaving office.

Earlier in his remarks, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, disclosed that the housing units, which would be made available for different cadres of police officers was completed over a period of eight months.

Though he did not disclose the cost of building the estate, he declared that each flat would be given out to interested police officers at N8 million adding that each buyer would be expected to repay through a mortgage scheme made available by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).

He pointed out that similar estates were currently being built in other parts of the country including Abuja, Kaduna and Kano.

Only recently, President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan recently launched National Housing Fund (NHF) e-Card and commissioned the FMBN-financed ‘Aviation Village’ Housing Estate.

The commissioning ceremony, which took place at the premises of the estate along the Airport Road, Abuja, was attended by some members of the Federal Executive Council, National Assembly members, Business men and women as well as actors in the real estate business.

The ‘FMBN Aviation Village’ Housing Estate was developed by Suntrust Real Estate Investment Limited, a private developer based on funding for both construction and infrastructure financing provided by FMBN to the tune of N2.4 billion. The estate which covers a land mass of 11.9 hectares comprises a total of 270 housing units of 144 units of 2 bedroom flats, 50 units of 3 bedroom semi-detached bungalows and 76 units of 3 bedroom detached bungalows.

In his speech, Managing Director of FMBN, Gimba Ya’u Kumo, commended the President on his commitment in ensuring that the current housing deficit which now stands at 17million is reduced drastically in the nearest possible time.

Kumo announced that since the introduction of the National Housing Fund (NHF) collection to the fund has improved by more than 500 per cent and has also assisted to ensure transparency and accountability.

He said, “The NHF e-Card being launched is a huge step forward in delivering the advantages of speed, accuracy, transparency, accountability and superior customer experiences to NHF contributors.

‘Mr. President would be pleased to know that we have begun to harvest the benefits of the NHF e-Collection Platform, especially in the volume of NHF collections. For instance, the rate of NHF collections rose significantly from about N700 million to over N2.2 billion per month. We estimate a further 100% increase in monthly collections to achieve about N4 billion per month before the end of 2014.

 ‘The Bank, in June 2013, launched the NHF e-Collection Platform to ensure proper record-keeping, transparency and accountability for NHF collections. The platform prevents the flagrant violation of the NHF Act and unlawful practices by employers who fail to effect statutory deductions, remit deductions to the FMBN or provide remittance schedules by which contributors’ monies are easily misappropriated.

He said that the estate which covers a land mass of 11.9 hectares comprises a total of 270 housing units of 144 units of 2 bedroom flats, 50 units of 3 bedroom semi-detached bungalows and 76 units of 3 bedroom detached bungalows.

Kumo also said the FMBN is advancing concessionary mortgages to NHF contributors at 6% interest rate in line with Government’s directive for a single-digit interest rate regime under Mr. President’s programme of easy access and cheap housing finance to low-income earners.

Regarding the estate being commissioned, the MD/CE said FMBN has approved mortgage loans to 171 NHF contributors to the tune of N1.4 billion, out of which about 20 beneficiaries are occupying their houses presently and mortgage loans for the remaining 99 units are being processed and would be concluded shortly.

The NHF e-Card serves dual purposes. Firstly, it serves as an Identification Card (ID) as it carries the name, participation number and passport photograph of every registered contributor. Secondly, it enables a contributor access record of his/her contributions using any of the IT channels such as ATMs, Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals and the internet.

By using the NHF e-Collection Platform web portal, a contributor can review his/her record of contributions online and print out a statement of account at a computer workstation from anywhere in the world. In addition, contributors can use the NHF e-Card as an e-Purse that can be loaded with extra cash to make purchases via POS terminals or online. The portion of funds being NHF contributions will however not be available for spending.

“Regarding this estate, FMBN has approved mortgage loans to 171 NHF contributors to the tune of N1.4 billion, out of which about 20 beneficiaries are occupying their houses as we speak. Mortgage loans for the remaining 99 units are being processed and would be concluded shortly”, he added.

NHF e-Collection Platform is just one of several initiatives and achievements the current management of FMBN has recorded. Other notable ones are: a 65% growth in cumulative NHF collections and a 42% growth in total loan disbursements within just 32 months; a 196% increase in NHF refunds to qualifying contributors; and the introduction of the Informal Sector Housing Cooperative Scheme to provide mortgage services to non-salaried workers, who constitute over 85% of the Nigerian working population;

Others are attracting off-shore investments in the housing sector from international financial institutions such as ICBC of China, Shelter Afrique, Globus Financial Services of USA, to mention a few; partnership with the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), the TUC and NLC for the delivery of 4 million housing units to workers nationwide; and an introduction of the NHF Diaspora Mortgage Loan Scheme designed to provide housing opportunities in Nigeria to over 15 million Nigerians living in the Diaspora.

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