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2,000 hectares of land mapped out for FG’s social housing–Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, says over 2,000 hectares of land with titled documents have been given out by 24 states for Federal Government’s Social Housing programme.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said the vice president presided over a meeting to review the implantation of the Economic Sustainability Plan implementation (ESP).

The vice president said that 17 States have indicated interest to participate in the Solar Power programme, also an important element of the ongoing implantation of ESP.

He said that an agreement has been reached with one major cement manufacturer in the country to sell at significantly discounted prices as low as N2,600 per bag of cement for the social housing projects.

The vice president said the agreement is an offshoot of a meeting he held with three major cement manufacturers in the country– Dangote Cement, Bua Cement and Lafarge Cement manufacturers.

He said that the focus must be on providing affordable housing for the masses.

“If the Federal Government is going to intervene in housing, most of it should be social housing.

“Everybody else, including the private sector, can build N9.6 million worth of houses, but nobody else will do social housing.

“All over the world, when government intervenes, it is social housing; those who cannot afford housing are the ones we must focus attention on.

“I think that we have enough problems with finding homes for the vast majority of Nigerians who cannot find a home.

“The people who are poorest, who have no houses, are the people we should target because that is what government should do. Let’s focus on this social housing,”

The vice president said that the Federal Government would continue to collaborate with states to ensure that more Nigerians benefit from the Social Housing scheme.

Under the Social Housing Programme, the Federal Government plans to support 1.5 million Nigerians to acquire low-cost houses through mortgage options and also Rent to Own option.

The scheme is expected to also generate 1.8 million jobs and deliver houses to about 1.5 million Nigerian families.

The houses are to be priced around and about N2 million and N4 million each, putting it within the reach of the low-income earners, depending on the number of rooms; there are one, two and three bedrooms options.

Alhaji Ahmad Salihijo, the Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), in a presentation, said the Solar Power Naija team had engagements with the six states who had identified private sector developers.

He said that the team had also selected Akwa Ibom, Ekiti and Kano as pilot states for the state-guaranteed transaction model for the solar power programme.

Salihijo explained that REA is currently tracking transactions worth N55 billion, potentially contributing the first two million connections in Nigeria and providing thousands of jobs.

“For instance, the programme is currently tracking four transactions in the commercial bank upstream channel, contributing 3,500 jobs and 100,000 connections.

“Nine participants have submitted applications for over N4 billion of the N20 billion allocated with three companies close to receiving disbursements.

“Bleu Camel Energy, with a loan amount of N3 billion, is targeting to create 600 jobs; Sunking, another investor with a loan amount of N3 billion, will create 1,500 jobs.

“Auxno Solar, with N300 million loan amount, targets 100 jobs while Emerald Industrial Co. is seeking N3 billion funding to manufacture 100,000 Solar Home Systems and smart meters,” he said.

Mr Femi Adewole, the Managing Director, Family Homes Fund Limited (FHFL) – the implementing agency for the Social Housing scheme, said that 17,584 units across 16 locations are underway.

Adewole further said that under the ESP Social Housing programme, Nigerians would be given at least a 15-year period with a monthly payment at 6 per cent interest rate to pay for each housing unit.

“This will help to improve access to housing for low-income people in the informal sector who, otherwise, will not have an opportunity to access a mortgage,” he stated.

“In addition to the typical two, three, and four-bedroom housing units, the FHFL is considering a Students’ and Young People’s Housing – to address the needs of young people.”

Adewole stated that the delivery of the units will be through SME Delivery Partners – who are being encouraged to register on the Housing Portal.

He said that so far, about 7,333 SME groups and individuals are registered on the online portal as up to 2,000 of these would be involved in current projects.

“We will be drawing from ongoing experience on our project in Yola where the construction of 3,600 homes are ongoing and a partnership between FHFL and the Ministry of Housing is implementing a large-scale youth employment scheme currently employing 1,350 young people.

“The young people are manufacturing interlocking tiles, paving, screeding, among others.

“About 228 Manufacturers of Building Components have expressed interest in supplying inputs, including doors, glazing, paint and roofing sheet.

“We are now engaging with these to secure bulk supply of key materials which in turn will provide opportunity to grow their production capacity,” he said.

He said that sites for early start projects have been identified in all the six geo-political zones in addition to the FCT.

According to him, the sites include those in Ekiti and Ogun in the Southwest, Enugu and Abia in the Southeast, Delta and Edo in the South-South, Yobe and Bauchi in the Northeast, Kaduna and Katsina in the Northwest and Nasarawa and Plateau in the North-central.

He said that sites have also been identified in Abuja, including at Dei Dei, where the vice president recently visited to see the sample designs of the Social Housing homes. (NAN)

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Defence and Security

Army Has No Desire To Truncate Nigeria’s Democracy — COAS

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Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja
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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, on Tuesday, restated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to defend the nation’s choice of government, democracy.

Addressing participants at a seminar on career planning and management organised by the Army headquarters, the COAS said the Army has no plans to truncate democracy in the country.

He charged officers of the Nigerian Army to remain above board in the discharge of their professional duties.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, particularly the Nigerian Army has come to terms with the country’s choice of democracy as the preferred system of governance,” he said during his address to officers.

“We are therefore agents of democracy and have no desire to truncate it. The Nigerian Army will continue to defend our constitution and not suspend it for whatever reason.

“It is the duty of our elected leaders to lead while the military does its job as enshrined in our constitution. Nigerian Army personnel must therefore remain professional and be above board as they discharge their constitutional duties.”

The commitment by the COAS followed the series of putsches in West and Central Africa which have experienced at least seven military takeovers in the last four years.

Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and most recently, Niger Republic — all members of the Economic Community of Western African States ( ECOWAS) — have pulled out from the regional bloc in last four years. Outside of West Africa, Chad and Sudan also experienced military coups in 2021.

 

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Economic: Defence Chief Warns Coup Advocates

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The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, has warned against advocating for a coup due to economic hardship, emphasizing patience and the superiority of democracy.

He made this known on Thursday while speaking with journalists at the Nigerian Army 6 Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, after commissioning some building projects.

General Musa urged individuals promoting military takeover to cease such statements.

The Chief of Defence Staff had earlier commissioned the newly constructed Entrance Gate and Officers Transit Accommodation at the 6 Division Headquarters.

Protests have occurred in Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Niger and some parts of the country in the last few weeks over the hardship experienced in the country as Nigerians lament food inflation, high cost of living, amongst other harsh living conditions occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, forex crisis, amongst others.

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Defence and Security

Security: Bill To Introduce State Police Scales Second Reading

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Federal House of Representatives
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A Constitution Amendment Bill to introduce state police has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which was sponsored by 13 members of the House, enjoyed support from majority of the lawmakers in the green chamber who believed that concerns of political victimisation by state governors, should take the backseat to the current state of insecurity across the country.

Last week, President Bola Tinubu and 36 state governors considered the creation of state police as solution to the menacing security challenges like kidnapping and banditry ubiquitous in the country.

State police has been a subject of controversy since the Seventh National Assembly and has failed to make it through the amendment phase.

Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had recently restated their position on state policing, as the solution to the country’s worsening security situation, lamenting that Nigeria is “almost on the road to Venezuela”.

Also, regional socio-political groups such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and the Northern Elders’ Forum, have repeatedly called for state police as solution the myriad of increasing security challenges confronting the nation.

Already, states in the South-West geopolitical zone have formed the Amotekun while their counterparts in the South-East also created state-owned security outfit Ebube Agu. The Benue Guards has also been operational in Benue State in the North Central while states like Katsina, Zamfara and other bandit-prone sub-nationals have also come up with similar state-established outfits.

However, these outfits have not been effective as anticipated as they don’t have the backing of the Federal Government or the Presidency while states continue to demand that Amotekun, Ebube Agu and others are granted license to bear assault rifles like AK-47 to confront lethal gun-toting marauders.

 

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