Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu
James Emejo in Abuja
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has said the Senate would assist the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to provide affordable housing to Nigerians.
Ekweremadu, who paid a courtesy visit to the Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Garba Ya’u Kumo, said Nigerians should be given an opportunity to live like human beings. According to him, “When people live in shanties they are prone to commit crimes, but when people live in a respectable atmosphere they behave like human beings.”
The FMBN, he said should play a role to ensure that Nigerians are given the opportunity to live like human beings by giving them the type of houses, which they deserve as inhabitants of a respectable nation and that there was no way that would be achieved without mortgage.
He said: “I want to assure you of our support and cooperation to ensure that the exercise you are carrying out now is fully implemented to enable Nigerians own houses and live in decent houses.”
Kumo, in his remarks unveiled current efforts at bridging the housing deficit. “As a way of contributing to the Nigerian economy, we are now building on a pilot bases about 1000 houses in each of the six geo-political zones. We will start with Abuja and it will take off by February. It will be a self sustaining settlement with electricity, water, roads and all the conveniences of life. If it works very well, we intend to replicate it in all 36 states.”
According to him: “When we came on board in 2010, we were able to increase the stock of estate development loans by 30 per cent, the NHF loan by almost 35 per cent and collection has gone up by almost 100 per cent from 750 million to almost 1.5 billion. States that were not contributing have now come on board and not more than three or four states are now left and all of them have given their words that they will soon join.
“Since we came in we were able to put in place some basic things that will now improve the mortgage in Nigeria. What we did is to encourage the other sector of Nigerian community that are not in the formal employment, the informal sector.
We launched a programme last year which we called ‘The informal Sector’ that is giving Nigerians the opportunity to have houses through cooperative societies and we intend to do that in two ways.