Tackling housing deficits in Bauchi state




Mohammed



Bauchi state government is boosting housing needs of the state with additional estates in each of the emirate councils as NAJIB SANI reports.

Bauchi state with the slogan: ‘Pearl of Tourism; Home of Peace and Hospitality’ located in the North-eastern part of the country has witnessed significant increase in its population in the recent past.This is despite the fact that the state is not one of the major  commercial states in the country. Investigation reveals that the current population of the state is estimated to be over seven million as against four million in 2006 when last census was conducted.Some of the major factors responsible for the continuous increase in the state’s population is the influx of internally displaced persons that migrated massively into the state as a result of insurgency in the neighbouring states.


Many of these immigrants have been accomodated, integrated and hosted by citizens and residents of the state in line with the concept of being one’s brother’s keeper. That is why there is no internally displaced camp in the state as the settlers have already become permanent residents. The only one place in the whole state where displaced persons can be identified is called Rindiben village which has now transformed into a community as government and donor agencies have provided them with amenities to live comfortably like other indigenes of the state.
Solving the housing needsIn view of the growing population and as part of efforts to provide affordable houses to the increasing residents in the state, the state governor, Bala Mohammed, entered into partnership with relevant bodies to build thousands of houses to be sold to the poor citizens at subsidized rates.The scheme which targets to construct 2, 500 houses across the six emirates of the state namely Bauchi, Katagum, Jama’are, Misau, Ningi and Dass was flagged off last week by the governor and the project is expected to be completed within 12 months.The houses, according to Investigation are to be distributed when completed as follows: Bauchi Emirate 1,500 units, Azare in Katagum Emirate 350 units, Misau in Misau Emirate 250 units, Ningi in Ningi Emirate 200 units, Jamaare in Jamaare Emirate 100 units and Dass in Dass Emirate 100 units each.


Gov Bala justifies move

Speaking during the foundation-laying ceremony of the project held at Dungal village of Bauchi local government, Governor Bala said the project is in collaboration with Family Homes Funds Limited, a private developer.He noted that the houses are coming at a period when the state’s demography has changed dramatically due to internal displacement caused by insurgency as many people within the region came to the state hence the need for more houses to be provided to the common man at affordable prices.

According to him, quality assurance mechanism has been established with a corresponding compliance arrangement to drive the project to effective delivery. “I wish to reiterate that in tandem with our desire to comply with the established building codes and the best practices in basic engineering management and evaluation, I would in addition to the statutory supervision of the Ministry of Housing, establish a task force in my office for monitoring and evaluation of the projects.” Let me thank Mr President for his kind intervention that led to what we are witnessing today. We call on developers to partner with us to build shopping malls and other facilities in compliance with established procurement standards and global best practices,” he said.This is even as he promised that local manufacturers and sellers would be patronised during the project in order to empower them and boost their businesses.

In his speech, the commissioner for environment and housing, Hamisu Muazu Shira, explained that the housing scheme has a moratorium span of about 4 years while the period of repayment is in the bracket of 12 years and 15 years even as he said that the building provides expansion spaces as respective family members grow.


Commendations

Blueprint reports that the project has elicited encomiums and commendations on the governor by leaders and citizens.The minister of finance, budget and national planning, Hajiya Zainab, who attended the ceremony applauded Governor Bala for recognising housing as a major need of his people by partnering with the Family Homes Funds to provide them shelter which is a basic necessity of life.

Represented by  Ambassador Adamu Jumba, the minister said the flag-off of the construction project was not just witnessing the ground breaking of the 2,500 houses, but also the beginning of milestones that would bring great development to the state. The speaker of state assembly, Abubakar Suleiman, reassured the governor of the assembly’s support for effective implementation of his developmental projects and called on the beneficiaries of the scheme to safeguard it against vandalism.Also commenting on the scheme in an interview, the principal private secretary to the governor, Mohammed Musa Kirfi, lamented that the North-eastern Nigeria has been in serious crisis as a result of which people moved from different states into Bauchi thereby overstretching the existing facilities in the state.”Now that these houses are going to be built, the state governor is providing shelter for a large quantum of people in the state not only the indigenes but those that came in,” he said.

Another citizen of the state, Isah Babayo, said the last time the state had such a massive housing scheme was since during the Muazu-led PDP government between 1999 – 2007. “Today, another over 2,000 housing units was flagged off in the state under the PDP led goverment. It is indeed commendable and of course, ground breaking ceremony.”But what pleases me the most is how these housing units are spread across the six traditional emirates in the state. This gives each of the emirate a good sense of belonging in the state. This is the first time in the history of the state,” he opined.Babayo said beside creating jobs to thousands of unemployed youths in the state, the project would provide and also give opportunities for many people in the state to own houses at affordable prices. 

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