Ben ezechime, Enugu
The Federal Government, on Tuesday, inaugurated 254 housing units in New GRA Trans-Ekulu within Enugu metropolis and handed over keys of the houses to beneficiaries.
The housing units, which were undertaken through the Cooperative Housing Development Loan (CHDL) window of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), were financed by FMBN and developed by I-Connect Investment Limited.
Inaugurating the housing units, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi appreciated the Federal Government for ensuring that Enugu State was one of the beneficiaries of its countrywide projects of mass and affordable houses for Nigerians.
Ugwuanyi, represented by his Deputy, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, thanked the FMBN for trusting and working with an indigenous developer in delivering the project in record time for the benefit of the residents of the state.
The governor also appealed to the Federal Government to continue its ongoing construction of the Enugu-Onitsha Road, which it had completed some of its sections.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government to expedite action on its ongoing works on the Enugu-Onitsha Road especially the sections within Enugu metropolis to check the rate of carnage and accidents due to bad portions of the road,” he said.
In an address, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that the inauguration of the FMBN/I-Connect Housing Estates and many others across states in the country “is a promise kept by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.”
Fashola noted that Nigerians with negative perception should come and see that ordinary Nigerians now own houses through the systematic laid out plan by the Federal Government meant to reduce the housing deficit.
According to him, although we have a housing challenge, the Federal Government is committed to gradually solving the issue and today, as it stands, we have built housing units in all states under the National Housing Scheme programme.
“One way to move our people out of poverty is through them having their own shelter and the Federal Government has come out with a multi-faceted way of solving the challenge by exploring options for our people to get affordable houses.
“We also have a land ownership option, for Nigerians that can afford and are willing to build their own houses and in this direction I have cleared the backlog of all that applied for Certificate of Occupancy through this channel.
“Another is the Cooperative Housing Development Loan (CHDL) window of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and other packages one can explore through the FMBN and other mortgage banks windows as well,” he said.
The minister appreciated the President of I-Connect Investment Limited, Pastor David Nwachukwu, for being honest and utilising the single-digit loan secured by FMBN to his company to deliver the estate as agreed by design and quality specification.
Speaking, the Chairman, Board of Directors of FMBN, Mr Ayodeji Gbeleyi, said that the giant stride made in the housing sector was a pointer to the fact that the “Federal Government through the FMBN is delivering on its mandate.”
Gbeyeli said that there was no state without at least two FMBN sponsored estates, adding that FMBN was working assiduously on the supply side to increase the housing stock and increasing our mortgage portfolio on the demand side.
“Within the last 12 months, we have approved a sum of about N14 billion National Housing Fund (NHF) loan, N2.5 billion Rent To Own and N200m Individual Construction Loan to over 2,000 loan applicants who are NHF contributors,” he said.
The Managing Director of FMBN, Mr Madu Hamman, said that the successful delivery of the project had shown that the Cooperative Housing Initiative developed by the Bank can be a game changer in tackling the housing shortage facing the country.
Hamman, represented by Mr Lukman Mustapha, Executive Director, Loans and Mortgage Services of FMBN, said that the journey to deliver this project with I-Connect started in 2018 with the first loan advanced to the cooperative for the purpose of delivering 52 housing units.
According to him, in 2019, another loan was approved for the society to deliver another 52 units. In 2020 and 2022, two other separate transactions were approved to deliver 150 housing units each.
“In total, the Bank has committed more than N5.2 billion credit facilities on these projects.
“Remarkably, all the projects have been successfully delivered and the housing units taken up by members of the cooperative society who are NHF contributors. This is a successful template that the Bank is replicating across the country.
“In addition to the four housing projects that we are commissioning today financed under the FMBN CHDL window, we have nine other housing projects spread across the state that have also been financed and successfully delivered by FMBN under our various loan windows.
“Through those projects, the Bank has committed more than N10.2b to deliver 1,520 housing units,” he said.
Earlier, the President of I-Connect Investment Limited, Pastor David Nwachukwu, thanked the Federal Government and the minister for having to approve the first funding of this project without knowing who we were or where we come from.
“I sincerely appreciate Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for providing necessary support for the success of this project – access road, security and convenience for easy habitation of this estate,” Nwachukwu said.
One of the beneficiaries of the housing units, Mrs Evenly Onuoha, thanked the Federal Government, FMBN, Enugu State Government and I-Connect for making her and her family a proud owner of a house within Enugu metropolis.
“We are grateful for this gesture in our lifetime and pray that God will continue to bless all that made this possible,” Onuoha said.
Another beneficiary, Pastor Gentle Nwaobi, appreciated the Federal Government and FMBN for the “great gesture,” which would have an impact on families and up-coming children that occupy this estate.