The federal government will adopt to build six different models of houses for the six geographical regions of Nigeria in its new national mass housing programme, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has disclosed.
Fashola in a statement from his senior media aide, Hakeem Bello, yesterday in Abuja stated the models were adopted to reflect the cultural preferences of the country’s geopolitical zones.
He said this was how the government plans to achieve a sustainable housing programme for the country, and that a little over N30 billion has been allocated to start building these houses in the 2016 national budget. The statement said Fashola met with the National Assembly Joint Committees on Housing to tell them how the national housing programme would be implemented in 2016.
It said he disclosed this plan to the legislators.
The minister said while there could be the desire that government should do what everybody has done in the past, and probably end up with the same old results, the focus of the present administration was more on a sustainable housing plan. Fashola explained to the legislators that the government started with 480 designs but the technical department of the ministry worked hard to reduce them to a manageable numbers. He said the adopted designs would drive industrialisation; standardisation; and mass production of building materials.
“So, this department, in my view, deserves commendation for reducing a potential 480 designs a year, which can be over 1,000 over four years, to 12 designs which we now have and which we want to reduce further to about six in a way that it responds to the broad cultural challenges of our country,” Fashola said.
He further stated the importance of the cultural basis for the national housing programme, saying: “Some of the feedbacks that we found, because the basis for cultural design first is consultation; you don’t just sit down and design and say go and give them, is that some of the buildings built for the IDPs, they refused to live there.
“It was a cultural shock for them. They were transiting from what they were used to into what they were not used to, so they stayed outside.”
According to him: “It happened in Rwanda too immediately after the genocide. This is the extent of research that we have done before we begin to build. We have consulted not only within ourselves, but with architects from outside, from the six geopolitical zones. What do your people want, what are they likely to accept?”
He said these feedbacks revealed that in some cultures some people do not accept toilets inside the house while in others in-laws are not allowed to use toilets in the same house.
The statement noted that he said in response to a question as to whether to build one bedrooms for the low income group who are likely to have more children than the elite group that: “The one bedrooms we are building are not the standard one-bedrooms, they are a minimum of 60 square metres which leaves room for small earning families, low income people, hoping that we can fit the design to their budget to be able to possibly partition within and live their lives.” He also said: “They are very big one bedrooms, because affordability lies at the heart of what we are doing. Are we building houses that people will look at or are we building a house people can afford to say okay let me try? The issue of affordability is being given every due consideration.”
On the inability of some states to provide land yet for the programme, Fashola recalled the insistence of the House that every state must benefit instead of the proposal of the ministry during its budget defense that states should access the programme on the basis of willingness.
The statement however said that out of the 36 states written to for land allocation, only 19 states, consisting of Ogun, Jigawa, Kwara, Kogi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Ekiti, Kebbi, Adamawa, Abia, Ondo, Yobe, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Bauchi, Osun, Anambra, Oyo and Plateau, had responded.
Fashola added that what the government was trying to do was to move away from the models of the past to the extent that those models had not provided the speed and scale of response that government seeks to achieve sustainable housing.