Challenges: Anglican Bishop urges Nigerians to hope in God



The Anglican Bishop of Kubwa Diocese, Rt. Rev. Duke Akamisoko, has urged Nigerians to put their hope in God in the midst of challenges facing the country.

Akamisoko made the call in Abuja at the dedication of an ultramodern vicarage at the Church of the Pentecost, Anglican Communion, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Lugbe.

He said: “Despite the difficult times, we should put our faith in Christ, love one another and believe that God will take care of all that we have.

Christ is the answer to our problems, despite all the challenges, our trust and faith should be in Christ and He will take care of us.

Rev. James Etor, the Vicar of the Church, who reminded Christians the importance of keeping faith in God, noted that it was the same faith that saw to the completion of the vicarage.

Etor noted that the edifice which was completed within one year, cost the church and its members about N20 million.

He urged them to uphold their faith in God especially now that the Christmas was fast approaching.

There were times we feel it’s too tough to move on and yet God inspires us and we translate the same to the people, and today we are happy for the achievement.

As we prepare for the Christmas, it should be a season to renew our hope and resolve in following Jesus Christ, more so that he is the centre of the season.

The Christmas season is a very significant period to the church, for Christians and indeed the whole world.

Except a man that is not sincere, otherwise, as Christians, we should have several reasons to thank God, essentially for Jesus Christ who saved us from the shackles of sin.

“We owe him thanks eternally, we must be thankful to God for preservation and protection upon us and keeping us safe in 2019 in the midst of uncertainty and difficulty,” Etor said.

Edited by: Ismail Abdulaziz

General news

Ashafa promises to restore FESTAC town’s glory



The Managing Director/Chief Executive, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, on Thursday promised to restore sanity in 43-year-old FESTAC Town, Lagos, where the master plan had been distorted.

Ashafa, during a tour of the FESTAC Town, said that the settlement originally designated for 200,000 houses was overstretched, with it currently having close to 700,000 housing units.

“When this estate was planned, it was planned for 200,000 units. When you have 200,000 units of houses in an estate, it is humongous.

“People from all over the world, not even only Africa, came, they lived here and enjoyed the upper class services then.

“The explosion that happened from that 200,000 went to almost 600,000. If we look at the records now, I am sure it will be nearing about 700,000 units.

“The green areas have been built up, there are mechanics all over the place. No control whatsoever in terms of traffic; FESTAC that used to adhere strictly to the traffic laws, nobody needed to tell you when FESTAC was FESTAC. There were signs everywhere.

FHA is going to start with doing something,” he said.

Aahafa said that high level of encroachment and illegal construction was continuing, even in some parts of the town under litigation.

“It was so heart rending to see the FESTAC that we were all proud of decades back in this degraded condition and I think no particular group should be blamed.

“All of us should be blamed for this dilapidation.

“So revealing is the fact that the encroachment and illegal structures are springing up by the day without adequate enforcement.

“So, first and foremost, the partnership which was secured yesterday with the governor of Lagos State would go a long way in assisting this community.

”It is all about community and not the revenue acruable to the government this time around,” he said.

He said that illegal construction had continued unabated in the second phase of FESTAC town in spite of litigation between the various interests groups.

Ashafa said that the FHA was going to take drastic measures to salvage the situation.

“All in all, it has been a revealing, intriguing and, heart-rending inspection but I am leaving this place with the fact that we are coming back again.

“Our eyes are going to be on FESTAC and it is going to be on the priority list of the tripartite agreement between the government at the Federal, state and the FHA, and of course not leaving out the people,” he said.

Ashafa said that the FHA was shopping for investors to revive the FHA Sports field.

He promised that other FHA estates in Lagos in bad condition were going to receive attention in due course, saying they were not abandoned.

The managing director said that the FHA staff had earlier in a meeting pledged total commitment to urban regeneration and renewal in line with the vision of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Ashafa, a former Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau in Lagos, at an earlier meeting with FHA Lagos staff, promised improved workers welfare, while soliciting thier support.

“Let us leave a legacy, let us be transparent,” he told the workers.

He appealed for transparency and accountability deviod of compromise to improve the revenue drive of the agency.

Ashafa also promised to digitalise operations for efficient record keeping and accounting proceedures.

“We have to deploy technology; let the improvement come, let us think of the possibilities all the time,” he said.

He said that the State Government had at a meeting on Wednesday promised to collaborate with the Federal Government in the renewal and regeneration of FESTAC

Edited By: Benson Iziama/Oluwole Sogunle
Source: NAN
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FG, Lagos to address infrastructural decline in Festac Town



The Federal Government and the Lagos State Government have resolved to address the degeneration of infrastructure in Festac Town – a federal housing estate situated in Amuwo-Odofin area of the state.

The resolution followed a meeting held on Wednesday between Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Sen Gbenga Ashafa, at Lagos House, Ikeja.

Sanwo-Olu said the state government took land administration and property development as critical.

He said that his administration’s urban renewal project was being implemented with the objective of opening up remote communities for healthy living and investment drive.

The governor described the development crisis in Festac Town as ”unpleasant”, saying that the population growth and influx of people led to the degeneration of the neighbourhood.

He also said that the failure of oversight on activities of property developers in Festac Town distorted the original master plan of the area.

”Festac Town as it is today is not what it looked like from 1970s to 1990s, given the degeneration of infrastructure and the unpleasant development observed in the community.

”The original master plan did not consider population growth, which reflected in the calibre of allottees that got the property then.

”As a result of lack of monitoring and enforcement, people took advantage of this weakness to build indiscriminately on every available space.

”I think we can still correct this irregularity and regenerate the entire area for healthy living and business, now that the Federal Housing Authority is headed by a highly knowledgeable indigene of Lagos,” Sanwo-Olu said.

He said that once the federal government was ready, Lagos state would cooperate fully and work through its Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development on agreed plan.

The governor said that the government was ready to give waiver on statutory issues that might aid the progress of the move.

According to him, Lagos is not the owner of the estate, but has a sense of duty to prevent the depreciation of the asset on that corridor.

Sanwo-Olu also said that the state government would collaborate with FHA in the area of technology transfer.

He said this would raise the capability of creating electronic solution that would further ease allocation of property, land administration and approval of survey plan.

The governor said that the state would be willing to work with the federal housing agency on estate property development in the Lagos East and West senatorial districts.

Sanwo-Olu praised President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister for Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, for the choice of Sen. Ashafa as the head of the federal housing agency.

He noted that Ashafa’s tenure as Executive Secretary on Land Matters in Lagos boosted the value of land and property in the state.

”We want you to succeed in this new assignment you have taken up, because we believe that you have vast knowledge in land administration matters.

”Development is critical to us in Lagos, and we will be willing to cooperate with you for more development.

“We are convinced that your tenure will bring about solution to challenges the nation faces in land administration,” he said.

Ashafa led top officials of FHA – a department in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing – on a courtesy visit to the governor.

FHA’s Executive Director for Business Development, Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin, was among those on the team.

The FHA team presented four partnership requests to the Lagos government, which include  knowledge sharing and technology transfer, cooperation on infrastructure delivery and quick resolution of development crisis in Festac Town.

Ashafa, a former Senator representing Lagos East, said that FHA was ready to resolve all lingering crises delaying the re-modelling and regeneration of Festac Town.

He expressed confidence that the mid-way approach adopted by the agency would yield positive outcome for both governments and residents of the estate.

Ashafa described his meeting with the governor as ”productive and fruitful”, adding that the discussion be taken further.

”All the four issues we presented were taken in by the governor positively.

“With some of the relevant cabinet members in attendance at the meeting, we will be engaging in further discussions on how to go about our plan for urban regeneration in Lagos,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle
Source: NAN
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Businessman in court for allegedly shielding his neighbour from arrest



A 24-year-old businessman, Dolapo Omole, on Wednesday appeared in a Wuse Zone Six Chief Magistrates’  Court, Abuja, for allegedly shielding his neighbour from arrest.

The police charged Omole, who lives in FHA, Lugbe, Abuja with one count of screening an offender.

The Prosecution Counsel, ASP Peter Ejike, alleged that Innocent Ndubuisi of Wuse Zone 3, Abuja reported the matter at the office of Assistant Inspector- General of Police (AIG), Zone 7, against Ms Princess Omobola on Aug. 11.

Ejike in addition alleged that when the police went to arrest Omobola, the defendant, her neighbour screened her from arrest.

The prosecutor further said the defendant knowing full well that the police were searching for Omobola, screened her in order for her to invade police arrest, thereby aiding her from lawful punishment.

He said that the offence contravened the provisions of Section 167 of the Penal Code Law.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him.

The defence counsel, Daniel Akinwale applied for bail for his client, saying that he was presumed innocent until proven guilty.

He assured the court that a reliable surety would be provided if bail was granted.

Magistrate Linda Chidama admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N100,000 with one reasonable surety in like sum, resident within the court’s jurisdiction.

Chidama also ordered that the surety must be a civil servant on Grade Level 09 and above.

She adjourned the case until Sept. 29 for hearing.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
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Fashola urges new FHA management to complete 760 housing units



The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has urged the newly-inaugurated Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Management to complete about 760 housing units under Federal Housing Project in Zuba, Abuja, which it inherited.

Fashola said this at the inauguration of the newly-appointed Executive Management Team of the FHA on Thursday in Abuja.

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari has given all the budgetary support that will see to the completion.

The executives are: Sen. Olugbenga Ashafa, Managing Director, Mr Abdulmumuni Jubrin, Executive Director, Business Development and Mr Moris Okpong, Head Finance.

He said Ashafa and his colleagues had all the requisite skills to deal with all of the challenges in the sector since they had served in many capacities that related to lands and housing.

He also called on them to ensure the maintenance of the existing structures which provided opportunities for job creation especially for artisans.

“Maintenance of existing assets and buildings is a very important policy of this government now; we see it as an opportunity for empowering people at the bottom of the pyramid through continuous strategic maintenance.

“So that all your existing estates must now be subject to this programme already approved by the Federal Executive Council.

“That is where we can impact on some of the most vulnerable people, some of the 100 million people, that the president has challenged us to lift out of poverty.’’

Fashola also urged the team to take responsibility and be subject to parliamentary oversight noting that the ministry would not interfere with the operations of the agency but would intervene whenever they veered off course.

He added that all financial procurement must be as approved by the board of FHA.

Sen. Sam Egwu, Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing, in his address noted that although the challenge of housing deficit in the country was alarming, he was happy with the team in charge of the sector.

He said the team led by a minister that was focused would resolve the challenges being faced by the sector in providing affordable houses to the people.

Egwu pledged that the committee would collaborate with the ministry and other parastatal agencies in solving the housing needs in the country.

Sen. Ashafa, the new Managing Director, FHA, appreciated the trust that the president reposed in him and his colleagues.

The MD stated that he had watched with great interest the initiatives and innovations that the Minister had continually brought to bear on the housing development across the country.

“It is in support of this new direction that my colleagues and I hereby pledge our unalloyed support and commitment to the PMB-led administration’s vision of providing affordable and accessible housing for Nigerians.

“As we assume our appointments, we look forward to a harmonious working relationship with the board, management and staff members of the Federal Housing Authority as well as all the relevant stakeholders,’’ Ashafa said.

Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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