…..As Minister charges Controllers to sit up.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has announced that it will no longer tolerate project abandonment and vandalism of public buildings and properties across the nation.
Housing and urban development minister, Arc Ahmed Musa Dangiwa announced this during a meeting with the Federal Controllers of Housing from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory in his office.
Dangiwa told the controllers “We will implement zero tolerance policy against abandoned projects and vandalism of public building” He also charged them to live up to their responsibilities of ensuring that assets within the purview of the ministry are protected and maintained.
According to the minister, the meeting was the first since his appointment, stating that it became necessary to sensitize the controllers on the policy direction of the Ministry and what is expected of them in view of the Renewed Hope Agenda for Housing and Urban Development.
“Things have to be done differently because this Ministry has a new focus, and we must ensure that Nigerians get value from our projects. We will no longer tolerate abandoned projects and incidents of vandalism. “He said.
He further stated that “What that requires is for you to sit up and do your job efficiently. You have to go beyond routine inspection to being an active part of the planning process and site selection, prioritising adequate supervision and monitoring. It is your job to protect our National Housing projects, the Slum Upgrading and Urban Renewal projects, the Federal Secretariats, and other public buildings belonging to the Federal Government. You must discharge your duty with diligence, integrity, and honesty, with the understanding that what you do is for the greater good”.
The Minister noted that abandoned projects constitute a dead weight and tie down housing capital which should otherwise be recouped and channeled to other projects for the benefit of Nigerians.
“There are so many abandoned projects all across the country. Starting this week, we’ll be visiting some project sites and we expect the developers to be on site to explain the status of the projects. Those who have abandoned their projects will either return to site to complete them or we will be forced to revoke their contract and pass the project on to more responsible developers,” Dangiwa added.
Speaking on the issue of vandalism and theft in public buildings and assets, the Minister said the bill for renovations which he met upon assumption of office is a matter of serious concern.
He directed that all incidents of vandalism, theft, fire, and natural disasters, leading to damage of federal buildings be brought to the knowledge of the Ministry through comprehensive reports from all concerned parties, including the Controller; the Fire Service, in the case of fire; the Nigeria Police Force, in the case of theft or vandalism; and other bodies.
He added that the Ministry will no longer pay for renovations. “At hand-over of completed projects, the contractor must hand-over their own security guards to the ministry to work alongside officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for post-construction security management of the site.“
Dangiwa also explained that the security provision that is usually in the Bill of Quantities must be effectively utilised for that purpose until after the completed estate is occupied, stating that as soon as off-takers begin to move in, occupants should be allowed to take over the management and maintenance of the estate using their own officials, whether house owners or tenants.
Accordingly, Dangiwa disclosed the plans of the Ministry to rapidly increase housing delivery in order to bridge the housing gap, using existing instruments of the Ministry as well as leveraging collaborations and Public-Private Partnership arrangements.
He also mentioned that slum upgrading and urban renewal projects in some select states are being worked out to improve the welfare of citizens, charging the Controllers to embrace the vigour with which President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is addressing the housing and urban challenge, and wake up to their role as Chief Implementation Officers in their respective states.
“In view of the Renewed Hope Cities that we are starting, we have written to state governments to each provide us with 50 hectares of land for us to build the houses. This way, the cost of production is reduced. We understand that the 50 hectares may not be available at a stretch, so we stated that they can give us 25 hectares in two tranches as long as the lands are within or close to the circumference of the city. We urged them to give us suitable lands that will ensure their citizens who will be eventual occupants of the houses are safe and comfortable,” the Minister added.
Some Controllers who spoke at the meeting urged the Minister to look into the legacy challenge of poor funding to state offices in order for them to be better equipped to play their part in the implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda for Housing and Urban Development.
Salisu Haiba Badamasi