The federal government has directed the management of the Federal Housing Authorities (FHA) to ensure transparency and due process in the sale of houses andÂ allocation of land across the country.
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Uduese Essien, who was speaking when the board and management staff of FHA paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja, noted that he had been inundated with many petitions on the non_transparent nature of land allocation and sale of houses by the FHA, and observed that allegation in most of the petitions was that most of the land allocations were given behind the counter.
Essien tasked the board on repositioning FHA to ensure the provision of mortgage facility to the teeming Nigerians who would want to own their houses. He further called for the streamlining of the activities of FHA to ensure that land allocations and sale of houses were done in a transparent manner.
â€œI have received, in fact, too many petitions in the process and procedure for allocation of land and sale of houses in FHA, when I was a member of the House of Representatives. The accusation is that those decisions are taken under the counters and land is allocated to people who do not need them and acquire this land and sell them at exorbitant cost to those that really need them.
â€œThis board should immediately streamline the policy on land allocation and sale of houses to ensure transparency and accountability in the process,â€ he stated.
Essien said that the housing ministry is taking steps to utilise all lands previously acquired by the ministry and FHA, but abandoned over the years in various parts of the country. He reiterated plans to provide about 54,500 houses before the end of the administration in 2011.
â€œYou all know that Nigeria is in deficit of over 17 million houses and we are not even remedying the situation. Let me quickly address the land and housing in the country by asking FHA to reposition itself for the serious task ahead.
We have large expanse of land lying fallow in different parts of the country and FHA should spread its services to cover other states of the federation. The ministry has already set a target of providing 50,540 housing units across the 36 states of the federation within the next 10 months.â€
â€œThis administration has short period in office and we have commenced the process of identifying land across the country for our housing programme. Fortunately we have come across a lot of land lying fallow all over the country, some of them acquired by Federal Housing Authority and some acquired by the ministry. We are going to make use of this to commence the programme on mass houses.
â€œIâ€™m aware that the Federal Housing Authority has a lot of work in Abuja of recent but not much has been done outside Abuja. You know all Nigerians donâ€™t live in Abuja, they are outside here, so we have to spread our services to cover a larger portion of them.
â€œI now call on the FHA to reassert itself. The board will need to give early approvals to the proposals brought by the management. That does not however means it should hurriedly approve without giving it a careful study and attention,â€ he said