By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA- Over 68 million Nigerians are either homeless or improperly housed, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN, has said.
The Managing Director of FMBN, Alhaji Gimba Ya’ukumo who made the disclosure at a meeting with Civil Society Groups in Abuja, said the nation would be in serious crisis if nothing was done to provide shelter for swelling number of homeless Nigerians.
The theme of the meeting which was organised by the the Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch in Nigeria, ILEWN, was ”Understanding the Mandate and Scope of Operations of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria”.
Ya’ukumo attributed the increased level of housing deficit in the country to several factors ranging from lack of planning by the government, to failure of financial institutions, insurance companies and agencies of government to make statutory remittance to the National Housing Fund, NHF, so as to ensure that low cost houses are made available to the masses.
Nevertheless, he said the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, has committed itself towards ensuring that all insurance companies comply with the provision of the NHF Act, such that a percentage of life and non-life insurance are paid to the fund.
According to him, “A figure has always been reported in the media with regards to housing deficit in Nigeria that ranges from 17 – 20 million, as stated in the World Bank, World Habitat Report of 2007. If you relate it with average Nigerian family of four and apply it with the number of deficit, you have about 68 million people either improperly housed or not housed at all.
“So when the NHF Act was founded 23 years ago, the funding windows was divided into four; Collection from workers. Banks are also supposed to give a percentage of their total portfolio, the insurance companies ought to contribute a percentage of their life and non-life insurance scheme. So it is the responsibility of the people to ensure agencies of government comply with the law,” he added.
Ya’ukumo insisted that the nation would be in crisis if all stakeholders do not work together to end homelessness.
In his remarks, the National Coordinator of ILEWN, Ambassador Splendour Agbonkpolor, said the essence of the meeting was to educate and to bring to the attention of all Nigerians and the government the need to take the issue of housing deficit in the country more seriously.