By Kingsley Omonobi
For families of 132 officers, soldiers, airmen and ratings of the Defence Headquarters, who have suffered the pains of the acute accommodation problem in Abuja for years, it was jubilation galore when against their expectations, they were presented keys to new apartments following the unveiling of a block of self -contained flats and two- bedroom flats respectively by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike, weekend.
While the self-contained flats built at the Mogadishu Cantonment was allocated to familiesÂ ofÂ 32 officers, 4 blocks of flats for 100 soldiers, built at the Mambilla Barracks, was allocated to soldiers, ratings and airmen and their families.
Speaking at the unveiling of the houses known as DHQ quarters, Dike noted that the acute accommodation problems experienced by officers and men of the armed forces in Abuja, a situation that led to two or three families sharing one apartment with its attendant consequences, motivated him to embark on the project.
â€œConsequent upon my assumption of office in September 2008, I made a pledge to quickly address the observed accommodation deficiency for officers and soldiers of Defence headquartersâ€, he said.
â€œPursuant to these, arrangements were made for immediate construction of one block of accommodation for officers and 4 blocks for soldiers at Mogadishu Cantonment and Mambilla barracks respectively. Todayâ€™s commissioning is in fulfillment of that promiseâ€.
Emphasizing that the houses were the first installment in a continuous effort aimed at gradually addressing the negative impact which the scarcity of accommodation was beginning to have on the output and morale of personnel, the CDS said, â€œour intention is to commence the construction of another set of blocks for officers and men, to be delivered before the end of the yearâ€.
â€œAt that time, we hopefully would have catered for 64 officers as well as 200 soldiers, ratings and airmen. Effectively, this would substantially reduce; if not completely eliminate accommodation related problems for DHQ personnel serving in Abuja â€.
The CDS however said, â€œIt is my expectation that these gestures will translate to noticeable improvement in output, turnout, security consciousness, loyalty and dedication to individual and group responsibilitiesâ€.
â€œLet me re-assure you all that no effort will be spared in ensuring the provision of essential facilities for personnel of DHQâ€, he added.