Senior officials of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA)’s seven zonal offices have cried out to the management over an array of problems, which they said were hampering them in their bid to deliver on their targets.
The zonal managers spoke at a meeting with management in Abuja convened to brief them on latest developments in the Authority. The problems included encroachment on the authority’s land, lack of property files with which to work, decaying infrastructure in the estates and shortage of manpower.
Briefing the meeting, the Zonal Manager (North-West), Mr. Dauda Balogun complained of gross under- manning of the Kano Office as only the Secretary and himself were at work there.
The other zonal staff, he said were deployed to Kaduna to work on the Goningora Estate and had not been sent back to Kano even after the project was completed. Balogun said the lack of property files a major constraint to them as complaints receive from allottees could not be properly addressed.
For the zone to achieve the set goals, he said property files should be sent to the Kano Office. Balogun also complained about lack of suitable accommodation, poor infrastructure in the estates and encroachment on the authority’s land.
In her own report, the Acting Zonal Manager (South-West), Mrs. Aisha Onotu complained that the unrelenting activities of land grabbers, popularly called Omo Onile had continued to pose a threat to residents and allottees of FESTAC Town as well as to the staff of the authority.
Onotu also identified the conversion of many residential houses in the estate to commercial use as a major drain to the authority’s revenue. She said the continued dilapidation of the infrastructure in the estate had eroded the goodwill of the Authority with residents and allottees alike thus affecting their willingness to pay ground rents and other charges.
To curb the activities of hoodlums and land grabbers in the estate, she requested for the purchase of a 40 feet container to be stationed at the Festac Town 2nd Gate for the police to curb their illegal activities.
From the South-East Zone, J. A. Saleh reported that the zone was facing the challenge of lack of verification of the plots in the Authority’s land at Lower Irete Estate, Owerri, poor state of roads especially in Egbeada Estate, also in the Imo State capital, lack of conducive office accommodation and non-availability of property files.
He said the Authority was at present active only in Anambra and Imo States with Imo playing host to two partnership sites.
In his own report, acting Zonal Manager (South-South), Istifanus Nuhu complained of encroachment on the Authority’s land in Asaba by Africa Independent Television (AIT) and the Delta State government.
Nuhu said the office was at present unable to process requests for certified true copies of property documents, ground rent payment and other requests from allottees because of the non-availability of property files in the zone.
He implored Management to urgently do something to ameliorate the deplorable state of the zonal office.
The Zonal Manager (North- East), A. S. Adai said the land earmarked for public private partnership (PPP) by the Authority in Gombe was being encroached upon by the local government, which was allocating it to individuals.
He said he had raised the issue with the state government, which advised that the Authority should build a perimeter fence to protect the land. Adai also complained of incessant theft of materials and equipment at the Gombe site as well as the vandalism of property.
He said the Authority’s estate in Gombe, the only functional one in the zone, consisted of 50 units of 3-bedroom detached and 30 units of 2-bedroom semi- detached bungalows.
From Makurdi, Arc. A. C. Okpanachi of the North-Central Zone said the major challenge was the collapse of a road in the Authority’s North Bank Estate in the Benue State capital. He said the office had also have to contend with gross hostility from indigenes of Benue State who encroached on the Authority’s land at will.
The Federal Capital Territory Zonal Manager, Bldr. M. B. Mohammed drew the attention of the meeting to the overlapping of functions between the zonal staff and their counterparts in the head office.
Mohammed also said the decaying road networks in Gwarinpa and Lugbe Estates had become a sore point in the relationship between both parties.
By Marc Philips