Federal Government has called for urgent intervention of Ebonyi Government in addressing issues bordering on resettlement of original allottees of the land provided for National Housing Programme (NHP) in the state.
The Minister of State 1 for Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri, made the call during inspection of Ebonyi NHP project site located at Ezzamgbo in Ohaukwu Local Government Area.
Newsmen report that the state government provided NHP site in Federal Low Cost Housing Estate Ezzamgbo and resettled the affected allottees at Amechi Ezzamgbo.
However, the host communities where the Federal Housing Estate were located were harassing allottees currently developing their plots, especially at Onuoke.
Shehuri said “Ebonyi Government should address the issue of allottees of plots at Onuoke who are constantly being harassed and intimidated by host communities, thereby hampering the development of their plots”.
The minister commended the state government for making land available for the NHP, and for resettling the original allottees of the land and for clearing the site.
He urged the state government to direct the immediate release of exchange letters for the project land and that of the Federal Secretariat at the Centenary city.
Mr Idowu Afolabi, the Federal Controller, Housing, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, called for more funds to facilitate the completion of the NHP in the state.
He said that the slow pace of work on the site was caused by incessant stoppage of work by contractors due to lack of funds.
He added that “we wish more funds would be made available for the project to enable those responsible for the provision of infrastructure on the site to commence work.
“We believe that once infrastructure were provided, the drains and road network would take care of the flood problem around the site.”
Afolabi said that most of the laudable projects in the housing sector like Federal Sites and Services Scheme and Public Private Partnership (PPP) were not in existence in the state.
He explained that “by Sites and Services, it means that the state government provides the site free from all encumbrances and Federal Government designs the site, provides infrastructure and allocates to the public to build.
“But in PPP arrangement, state governments will provide the land and Federal Government will approve developer to develop, build and sell to the public at agreed price.”
The Team Leader of the NHP in Ebonyi, Mr Nwamadu Herbertson, said the programme site comprised of 72 units of blocks of semi-detached bungalows and various capacities.
He said the site had 12 contractors handling various types of buildings with distinct capacities and workforce.
He added that “over 95 per cent of our workforce at this site are from the community. We have more than 1000 workers engaged at the site.
“Supply of building materials at the NHP site is predominantly carried out by indigenous traders too.”
Nwamadu, however, noted challenges facing the project as the difficult terrain encountered at the site, coupled with the state government’s plan to make the major road a dual carriage in future.
This, he said, made the contractors to abandon some of the buildings at foundation stage, adding that it affected 12 buildings.
According to him, reports and proposals have been sent to the ministry for the foundation of the affected buildings to be elevated.
The overall work in percentage completion achieved at the site is 45 per cent.
The minister had previously visited Abia, Imo and Anambra states as part of his nationwide inspection tour of NHP in the southeast.
NHP is one of the programmes of Federal Government to provide affordable and functional housing units to the teeming population of the state.