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AU body, NGO sign MoU on housing scheme for widows of military, security personnel

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The African Union (AU), Economic Social and Cultural Council ECOSOSCC) signs an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an NGO, Support Our Troops (SOT)to provide a social Housing Scheme for widows of military and security personnel.

ECOSOCC is an advisory body of the African Union designed to give civil society organisations a voice within AU institutions and decision-making processes.

Dr  Tunji Asaolu, First-Nigerian Representative of the Permanent General Assembly of the AU-ECOSOCC, in his address at the official MoU signing ceremony marking the inauguration in Abuja underscored the need to tackle housing deficits.

The MoU was signed between the AU-ECOSOCC and Support Our Troops (SOT), an NGO, to officially inaugurate the Social Housing Scheme for Widows of Late Military/Security personnel of Nigeria.

According to him, although Nigeria is referred to as a giant of Africa, it has 22 million housing deficits and that the shortfall had become a cause for concern for many Nigerians.

Asaolu said, “As the gaps between demand and supply keeps on increasing, there are numerous challenges facing the housing sector in Nigeria.

“We do not have ‘man’ challenges, but housing challenges, which means man is available but there are limited houses available.

“It is obvious that population has a role to play in housing surplus or deficits, likewise the economic condition of the country.

“There are also other contributory issues which include change in lifetime, meaning many people live alone or in a small household and improper land use, building horizontally, instead of vertically.

“All these challenges make Nigeria to be characterised as one of the eight countries that needs sustainable and affordable houses in Africa.”

He explained the partnership between AU-ECOSOCC and SOT to be in fulfillment of the mandate to mobilise civil society organisations and all relevant stakeholders on strengthening citizens’ engagement with government.

Speaking at the event, the Founder of SOT, Mrs Funmi Ogbue, said that the housing initiative was borne out of the need to improve the living condition of families of late security personnel.

She expressed appreciation to the Federal Government plans over its announcement during the 2020 Armed forces Remembrance Day to increase its annual budget, to support families of the fallen troops.

“One person cannot do it alone; it has to be through collaborative effort to cater to the housing needs of fallen troops.

SOT and AU-ECOSOCC are joining forces to design, build and maintain a mass housing project for the widows of the members of the armed forces across the country.

“In continuance of our mission to lift the spirit of the Nigerian troops and their families, SOT is in collaboration with AU to develop a military housing scheme and provide 600 housing units.

“We want to build 600 affordable housing units every 2years in every state of the country, the idea is to provide these houses free for widows, starting from the FCT,” Ogbue said.

Also speaking, Mrs Mary Etta, Director General of Women Development Centre, expressed appreciation to AU-ECOSOCC and SOT for their partnership to provide shelter for widow of Nigeria military/security personnel.

She noted that military and security personnel at the forefront of defending and protecting the integrity of the people died without preparing for the welfare of their families.

Etta said, “Due to patriarchy a woman is a social statue, women’s social status is associated with her husband, however when the husband is no more, her situation is made worse in the society.

“They suffer a lot of social and economic stature, become homeless and vulnerable; global index watch on women indicates widows undergo abject poverty, many of them are without skills that can empower them.

“They are very vulnerable to harmful traditional practices that mitigate their human rights, therefore need to tackle poverty among women.

“Especially, through economic empowerment initiative and acquisition skill to make them self-reliant, give them a voice and raise their living standards in general.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event which attracted stakeholders of the Office of the Chief of Army Staff and the Military Widows Association, featured signing of the MoU.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Source: NAN

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