Anambra State is making serious inroads into housing challenges in the state as against what other state governments in the sub-region are doing. Emeka Odogwu writes for The Authority…
Generally, the people of South-East are migrants and have assisted in developing property businesses in Abuja, Lagos as well as other cities across Nigeria and beyond.
It was discovered that property challenge had always been a grave one for low income earners in the state for which accommodation challenge was pivotal as many do not have substantial amount with which to rent a house especially civil servants.
One of the latest giant strides of Gov Willie Obiano is the promise of safe and affordable houses for Anambra citizens. Anambra was among the states selected for the pilot scheme of a special World Bank-funded urban housing scheme in partnership with the then Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Finance and Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company.
Commenting on this development, a real estate developer, Chief Okey Chukwuogo said, “The South-East is still very viable for property business because from the orientation of the zone, business is the name of the game and people from all walks of life come in for work and in search of greener pastures.”
Chukwuogo pointed out that for so many reasons, there is limited property to accommodate the teeming population. Investigation shows that owners of plots at Amansea Community, Awka North Local Government Area where the proposed estate is to be located are aggrieved. They, therefore, protested to the appropriate authorities to stop revocation of the plots allocated to them by the government in 1996.
One of the aggrieved plot owners, Mr Okechukwu Arinze, said, “The former Ministry of Lands and Urban Development, now Federal Ministry of Works, Housing and Power, allocated the said plots of land to us after paying compensation to the Amansea land owners. “We are surprise that the state government came into the land and removed the beacons by way of revocation of the land that belonged to us; a land we procured from the federal government.
Although Gov Willie Obiano’s administration has not responded to the allegation, investigations at the site point to their claim though contrary to Obiano’s stance who pledged to provide land for the immediate take-off of the proposed 500 units of housing project being promoted by the federal government.
The scheme involves the construction of 10,000 housing units across the country to be funded by the World Bank through the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company to the tune of $300 million with a retention rate of 40 years. Each of the pilot states will have a maximum of 500 units of housing and each house will carry a 20-year mortgage facility.
The then Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs Akon Etim Eyakenyi, was with Gov Obiano who pledged to offer serviceable land with titles in a matter of weeks to facilitate the immediate take-off of the project in the state.
Ezekiel Nya Etok, speaking on the take-off, revealed that going by the governor’s enthusiasm, the contractors who were expected to handle the project were to be expected on site soon. In a similar vein, Obiano signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an Irish firm, Asieur International Limited Group, for the development of 10,000 affordable housing units in the state for civil servants and other low-income earners. Anambra state’s equity contribution would be 18 billion Naira (about $90 million).
Obiano gave his commitment to ensuring that the project, which would cost about 95.2 billion Naira (about $476.1 million), would come to fruition to ease the housing constraints of the citizens of the state. He stressed that a major fundamental step towards advancing development in every state is giving low-income earners a secure place to live. He was assured by the project Director, Mr Tony Duncan, that they would deliver.
Chief Chukwuogo, the Executive Chairman of MACBEN and CEE, an estate developing firm based in Awka lamented that previous governments in the state since the 90s abandoned property development. It was Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, the former Governor, who thought it wise to develop the state, however, his programmes were hijacked by the rich who rather than develop the state as developers became land speculators.
“When the present Anambra was created, the military and subsequent democratic governments were unable to make Anambra people think home. They lived in all manner of places to come to work in Anambra and if they had thought about home, a lot would have been better.
In recent times, however, Obiano has performed a ground-breaking ceremony of Obinwanne Housing Estate which is located along the Enugwu-Agidi axis, Njikoka. The project is directly supervised by Anambra State Housing Development Corporation. Also, the state government signed a memorandum of understanding with another indigenous firm for the development of thirty hectares of land at the Awka New Layout.
The firm, Dozzy Investment Limited, has the capacity to develop and manage housing development. They are to build four and five bedroom detached duplexes with a two room auxiliary building, among others.
While signing the MOU, Obiano noted that it was very important that decent accommodation be made available for Ndi Anambra and non-indigenes.