President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday inaugurated 68 housing units in Imo to address housing needs in the country.
Speaking during the inauguration in Owerri, Buhari, represented by the Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, expressed the commitment to improve the human condition.
He said the economic policies and investment in infrastructure such as the the National Housing Programme (NHP) and others would positively impact many Nigerians.
Buhari said that the micro, small and medium size businesses who drive our economy were the ones who won the contracts to build the houses.
“Our desire and commitment toward improving the human condition and our message of change have another facet beyond job creation.
“It responds to those who have long aspired to own a home and that dream has come true with this project,” he said.
Buhari said the housing programme provides an opportunity to fulfil the promise made to the valiant Super Eagles who won the 1994 African Cup of Nations.
“I have approved allocation to redeem the outstanding allocation to 22 members of the Super Eagles in national housing estates located in their state of choice,” he said.
In his address, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, explained that the 68 housing units comprise of 28 two-bedroom bungalows, 16 three-bedroom bungalows and 24 condominiums.
“In terms of design, this project is the outcome of a national survey conducted by the Ministry of Works and Housing to find out the type of houses Nigerians desire.
“The survey revealed a prevalent need for bungalows in the North and flats in the South of Nigeria,” Fashola said.
He added that the survey revealed that the project met specifications in terms of space to ensure acceptability to those they were intended for.
Fashola stressed that the housing units were offered to the general public in a non-discriminatory way through the National Housing Portal at https:worksandhousing.gov.ng.
Fashola was represented by Mr Solomon Labafilo, the Director of Public Building, Federal Ministry of Works.
Earlier, the acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Chukwunwike Uzo, recalled that the first phase of the NHP commenced in 2016 in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Uzo represented by the South-East zonal Director of the ministry, Mrs Lucy Uzodimma, said the ministry promoted local content in line with the Executive Orders 3 and 5 in executing the project.
He also disclosed that the ministry had successfully constructed housing schemes under the programme in 35 states, except for Lagos where land had not been donated by the state government.
According to him, over 1,200 building contractors have been engaged under phases one, two and three of the programme since inception in 2016.
He added that over 14,500 and 50,140 direct and indirect jobs had been created, respectively.
“During this period, the ministry is undertaking the construction of over 6,000 housing units in 45 sites, out of which 2,465 units have been completed in 35 states and the FCT.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the building contracts were awarded in 2016 at a total cost of N716.6 million, while the infrastructure contracts were awarded in 2017 at N463.6 million.
NAN also reports that three former Super Eagles players namely Mr Alloy Agu, a former goalkeeper, Mr Emmanuel Amuneke and late Mr Uche Okafor, who benefited from the scheme commended the Federal Government for the gesture.