As part of reforms in the Edo State housing sector to open up the state to real estate investments, the Edo State Government has rolled out plans to build new towns and estates aimed at decongesting Benin City, with special packages for the diaspora community.
Executive Chairman of the Edo Property and Development Authority (EDPA), Isoken Omo, disclosed this in a chat with journalists, on Thursday, at the Government House, Benin City.
Omo said that EDPA, as a revenue-generating agency of government, has been repositioned with a mandate to pursue housing and estate development projects for the benefit of the people in the state as well as open up investment opportunities for Edo indigenes in the diaspora.
According to her, “We want to engage with people. Fifty percent of Edo people are in the diaspora, internally or externally. The internal Diaspora include those in Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, and even those spread across West Africa. But then, we still have those who are far-flung, in places like Europe and America. A lot of them would send money home for their relatives to build houses.
“These relatives would send them pictures, but when these people come back, they would meet nothing. So, we are trying to tell them that we have a governor we can trust and who understands business. He is going to give these people the assurance they need to bring the money in. We want to create estates, but it will not be a diaspora estate, because I do not think it is the way to go as it exposes them to all sorts of issues.”
Omo said EDPA would set aside sections in the planned estates that would be reserved for those in the diaspora to own, noting, “We can do 100-units and give them 40. They would either get them through a diaspora bond, or buy directly, through a portal on the agency’s website. There would be flexible packages, which would include mortgages and at the end of the day, they won’t hear stories.”
On the new towns being developed by the state, she said, “We have new towns. There is a new town coming up at Obagie Nevbosa. EDPA is anchoring it. We want to build a hub between Warri and Benin. We want that city in the middle so that we would reduce the pressure in Benin City. After that, we can now start the internal regeneration of the city, which we need to do.”
Noting that the agency is working with other ministries in the state to execute the project, she said, “We are working those in the Ministry of Physical & Urban Development, Edo Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Agency and everyone in the line to make sure that this works. We have published the advertisement to tell them we want to acquire the place. We have started taking the compensation list; we are now doing the survey. After that, we would start the outline design. We are talking to big private developers. We have about three new towns like that, but we have already gone far with Obagie Nevbosa.”