The Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) says 80 per cent of premature deaths from heart diseases can be addressed if tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and air pollution are controlled.
Addressing a news conference in Lagos on behalf of the NHF, Mrs Dolapo Coker, Member, Nutrition Committee of the foundation, stressed the need to address carbon emissions by the government to reduce cardiovascular diseases.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the briefing was to commemorate 2022 World Heart Day. The World Heart Day is marked annually on Sept. 20 to raise awareness about Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD), their management, as well as their toll on the society.
The theme of the 2022 World Heart Day is ‘Use heart for every heart”.
Coker, a former President of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology, said that heart diseases remained the number one cause of death worldwide, claiming 18.6 million lives per year.
She said that the World Heart Foundation (WHF) was calling for urgent action on climate change and health inequity, saying millions more lives now at risk from cardiovascular disease, “which is still the world’s biggest killer.
” “The year 2022 has seen historic heat waves and, with climate change disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable populations, we can expect a further widening of the gap in global cardiovascular healthcare equity.
“Climate change and related air pollution is already responsible for 25% of all deaths from cardiovascular disease, killing 7 million people annually.
Quoting Prof. Fausto Pinto, President of WHF, Coker said: “Millions of already vulnerable people are doubly exposed to extreme weather events and limited access to healthcare.
“World leaders must step up efforts on the two biggest threats of our time – climate change and global health inequity.
” Coker said that working hand in hand with the World Health Organisation (WHO), WHF was calling on governments, civil society, and global industry to meet net-zero targets, to tackle global warming and curb air pollution, and to deliver healthcare access for all .
“A new global survey by WHF highlights the global concern surrounding the link between climate change and cardiovascular disease with climate change and air pollution ranked as the third most serious issues in relation to cardiovascular health among the respondents.
“The survey also revealed that awareness of healthcare inequality is growing: in reply to a question about which global issues affected cardiovascular disease the most the second.
“The second most common answer was social inequality and access to healthcare.
“WHF is also urging healthcare providers to help improve cardiovascular health and prevent CVD mortality by issuing regular reminders to at-risk groups about the dangers of extreme weather events, including tips on managing excessive heat events.
” She commended all partner in the fight against heart diseases and promotion of healthy lifestyles in Nigeria.
In his goodwill message, Mr Foluso Ogunwale, the Chief Executive Officer, I Fitness, who described heart as most important organ in the body, decried prevalence of harmful lifestyles and physical inactivity among many Nigerians.
“If the heart is that much important, it means that at one point we need to match the brake and examine how we live over lives so that we can perhaps live a happy and healthier life.
“The issue of physical health, physical exercise and the issue of nutrition and harmful lifestyles that potentially cause heart diseases can be addressed,” Ogunwale said.
Another NHF’s partner, Quest Oil Group, said that the issue of heart health was a concern to the firm, hence the commitment to address carbon emissions to reduce heart risks.
Its Corporate Communications and Branding Manager, Mr Gerald Moore, said: “For us at Quest Oil, we believe that good health is good business and that is why we innovatively changed the energy mix that we provide our customers.
“We now have different systems that can change from fuel to gas.
We have gas as our transition fuel.
We also provide LPG which is cleaner fuel.
“We also started something innovative in our stations, which is to replace the existing fuel generators with the solar power system.
“We believe that will significantly reduce the carbon emissions and give out stakeholders the opportunity for a better health,’ Moore said.
In her remarks, wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said it was extremely important that people desist from unhealthy lifestyles to build heathy population which in turn would enhance productivity in the state.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Mrs Patience Ogunnubi, Member, Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, said that the increase in the statistics of cardiovascular disease called for comprehensive approach and strategy.
“This is to ensure that people are aware of the serious threat that the disease posed.
” She advised people to embrace deliberate lifestyles and choice that can help to address the trend.
NAN reports that the NHF has outlined a month long activities to mark the 2022 World Heart Day which include bike a Heart Route (cycling rides), medical health talks and check, walks, mini health exhibitions, distribution of fliers and i Fitness exercise.
The United Nation’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has announced the released of 10 million dollars under the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERT) for urgent aid to victims in a Northeast Nigeria food and nutrition crisis.
This is contained in a statement by OCHA in Maiduguri on Monday.
The UN says no fewer that 1.74 million children under the age of five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in north east this year.
“This CERF allocation is the latest in a concerted effort to address the food and nutrition crisis.
In May 2022 CERF allocated 15 million dollars to support the catastrophic food insecurity and nutrition response.
“In September, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) provided two allocations of 2.5 million dollars and one milliondollars to enable humanitarian actors to provide urgent nutrition support in line with the interagency 351 million dollar-multisector plan to address the desperate food and nutrition situation,” the statement said.
In noted that the consequences of inaction were a matter of life and death as more than 5,000 were expected to die while those who survive could face lifelong disabilities.
Mr Matthias Schmale, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria was quoted as saying,: “We urgently need to close the funding gap to rapidly scale-up the response and implement immediate life-saving measures.
“For the thousands of children trying to survive, additional funding is needed today, not tomorrow.
As the people of northeastern Nigeria struggle to withstand a devastating food and nutrition crisis, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has released a US$10 million allocation to help save lives and deliver urgent aid.
to those who need it most.
Approximately 1.74 million children under the age of five are expected to be acutely malnourished in the Northeast in 2022.
With a 34% increase so far last year, the Northeast had the highest burden of acute malnutrition since 2016, and , more than 300,000 children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition.
The consequences of inaction are a matter of life and death.
If immediate action is not taken, more than 5,000 children are expected to die.
Those who survive will potentially face lifelong disabilities.
Malnutrition increases the risk of children dying from common infections, increases the frequency and severity of such infections, delays recovery, and causes stunted development.
This CERF allocation will allow accelerated action to increase treatment capacity and early identification of acute malnutrition.
The funds will be used for integrated prevention and treatment, including proven local solutions to improve the availability, affordability, and/or accessibility of nutritious foods that protect women and children from repeated episodes of acute malnutrition.
This CERF allocation is the latest in a concerted effort to address the food and nutrition crisis.
In May 2022, CERF allocated $15 million to support catastrophic food insecurity and nutrition response.
In September, the Nigerian Humanitarian Fund (NHF) provided two allocations of $2.5 million and $1 million to enable humanitarian actors to provide urgent nutrition support in line with the $351 inter-agency multi-sector plan.
million to address the desperate food and nutrition situation.
These funds are being disbursed in the midst of an alarming lean season in which 4.1 million people in the Northeast face the pain of hunger according to the Cadre Harmonisé Food Security and Nutrition Assessment.
Despite these efforts, a huge funding gap remains.
The nutrition sector has a shortfall in funding during the lean season of $39 million, or 57%.
According to Mr. Matthias Schmale, Nigerian Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, “We urgently need to close the funding gap to rapidly scale up the response and implement immediate life-saving measures.
For the thousands of children trying to survive, additional funding is needed today, not tomorrow.”
Prof. Abdulqadir Abikan, the National President of Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), has commended the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) for introducing ‘Non-Interest Rent to Own Housing Product’ to enable a broader spectrum of Nigerians own their homes.According to the University of Ilorin (Unilorin) Bulletin issued on Monday, Abikan made the commendation when he led a team of MULAN executive committee members on a courtesy visit to the FMBN Management Team at the Bank’s Head office in Abuja.Abikan, who is also the immediate past Director of the School of Preliminary Studies, Unilorin, said the association received the news of FMBN’s approval of the non-interest rent-to-own product with extreme excitement.“This is because it provides an alternative mortgage scheme for many Nigerians whose religious beliefs do not allow them to benefit from the Bank’s housing products because of their interest-based nature.“We believe the decision will engender a more inclusive mortgage system for a broader spectrum of Nigerians.” The MULAN president added that the association is ready and willing to partner with the FMBN towards ensuring a smooth implementation of the non-interest housing products through the provision of relevant advisory services by its members.He explained that FMBN developed the product to eliminate the challenges that eligible Nigerians who want to own their homes through the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme face because of the interest-based nature of the bank’s existing housing products.“The product uses a rent-to-own model that allows beneficiaries to move into FMBN and non-FMBN-funded homes and conveniently pay towards full ownership using or annual rentals.“The product’s financing structure is based on the non-interest financing contract of Ijarah Muntahia Bitamleek (Lease to Own),” he said.Abikan noted that FMBN retains ownership of the property until the financing term ends or at any time during the lease period that the beneficiary wishes to purchase the property.Receiving the MULAN team, Mr Madu Hamman, the Managing Executive of FMBN, commended them for the visit while assuring of the bank’s readiness to collaborate with the association towards ensuring a hitch-free provision of the non-interest housing product.Hamman, who was represented by the bank’s Executive Director, Loans and Mortgage Services, Alhaji Lukman Mustapha, observed that the FMBN non-interest rent-to-own product is available to Nigerians who must be contributors to the NHF scheme.He added that it covers both FMBN and non-FMBN-funded properties with a maximum price of N15 million.Hamman explained that beneficiaries have the options to pay to own the property in or annual rental installments over 30 years, depending on their age and years in service.He encouraged members of MULAN to become ambassadors of the non-interest rent-to-own product.The FMBN boss advised the association to take the news outside of the association to other prospective home owners within their respective areas of influence and network.NewsSourceCredit: NAN
Appraising FG’s interventions in housing sector Appraising FG’s interventions in housing sector By Perpetua Onuegbu, News Agency of Nigeria In the range of man’s needs, shelter comes next after air and food.
For dignity, having a place to live becomes a priority in the hierarchy of necessities.
To this end, the world over, governments make meeting the housing needs of the citizenry a key factor in their agenda.
The present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has taken certain steps to meet the housing needs of Nigerians by initiating the National Housing Programme (NHP).
The government, through the Ministry of Works and Housing, initiated partnership with state governments and other stakeholders to develop and deliver affordable houses to Nigerians nationwide.
Although, the target of ensuring that every Nigerian is properly housed has not been fully met, the efforts of government have started yielding results.
A recent report by report on Nigeria’s housing sector by Bank of Industry (BOI) estimates Nigeria’s housing deficit at 28 million, a figure that requires N21 trillion to address.
According to the report, however, N470 billion was what the Federal Government budgeted for housing in 2022. Experts say Nigeria will need to deliver one million housing units every year to bridge the gap.
Declaring the event open, the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, promised that the Federal Government would accelerate its housing programmes, with pledging that the Federal Government would deliver over 50,000 homes by 2023. Osinbajo said this at this year’s Africa International Housing show themed: “Housing For All, The Role Of Governments In Creating An Effective Enabling Environment”.
Part of the efforts to meet that target was witnessed in Kano in June when government officially handed over keys to four beneficiaries who have paid for houses built under the first phase of the National Housing Programme (NHP) in Kano, Kano State.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Bashir Alkali.
“While we welcome those who can afford to pay outright, it is not a condition for eligibility.
“We have offered flexible payment options like Mortgages and Rent-to-Own which we encourage applicants to pursue.
“Some of the requirements for qualification to access these include – current passport photograph in JPEG or PNG format; most recent copy of your current tax slip in PDF format.
“Means of Identification (National ID, Driver license, International Passport) in digital JPEG format; Letter of recommendation from any Primary Mortgage (for Mortgage Subscribers) and Evidence of 10 per cent initial payment deposit (for Mortgage Subscribers only),” he said.
“The beneficiaries today are therefore among the first set of Nigerians other than the 1994 Super Eagles who have been handed the keys to their houses promised by the Federal Government over 28years ago.
” Also speaking, Alkali, represented by the Director, Public Building and Housing Development, Mr Solomon Labafilo, said the philosophy behind the NHP was the provision of pilot scheme that is affordable, accessible and acceptable in line with the National Housing Policy.
“The approach to the design and use of materials take cognisance of the cultural and climatic peculiarities of the regions, while responding also to the tenets of the Building Energy and Efficiency Code (BEEC) being championed by the ministry,” he said.
According to the Director, Housing Building in the ministry, Mr Solomon Labafilo, government has delivered in 35 states of the federation and the FCT.
According to him, the breakdown is as follows: Phase 1 = 2728 Units, Phase 2 = 2254 Units and Phase 3 = 964 Units, totaling 5,946 Units.
He said another set of 2665 housing units available for subscription by the public through: .
On its part, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) said it has initiated Rent-to-Own housing scheme to enable everyone that is a contributor to the National Housing Fund (NHF) to be able to own a home of their own.
According to Mr Lawal K-Sauri, the General Manager, Corporate Communication, FMBN, the Rent-to-Own housing product is an innovative affordable housing product, which provides an easy and convenient payment plan towards homeownership for Nigerian workers.
“FMBN developed the rent-to-own housing product as a strategic response to the inability of low income contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme to meet the equity down payment requirement for accessing the NHF Mortgage loan.
“To enhance affordability, the rent-to-own product eliminates the need for a down payment.
The FMBN rent-to-own product makes it possible for Nigerians to move into FMBN funded homes – located nationwide – as tenants.
“They pay for and own the property through monthly or yearly rent payments spread over periods of up to 30-years at best market single-digit interest rate of 7 per cent on the price of the property on an annuity basis,” he said.
K-Sauri also said that FMBN currently had over 3,190 housing units available for off-take on a rent-to-own basis across several locations nationwide.
Some of these houses, he said are located in FMBN-funded estates in FCT Nasarawa Akwa Ibom, Ondo Enugu, Kogi, Adamawa, Sokoto, Borno, Jigawa, Abia, Katsina, Ogun, Kwara, Kano, Taraba, Niger and Kaduna states.
“You can visit them to confirm and also see the beneficiaries.
We currently are building mega cities in collaboration with some developers like Brain and Hammers.
“About 1,200 housing units are almost completed which is funded by the bank at Jibi behind the police housing estate in Kubwa,’’ he said.
One of the beneficiaries of the housing interventions, Mr Farouk Adamu, who is a retired civil servant, said the gesture had made ownership of houses easier for workers.
“Anyone who says that he has used influence to obtain the house I will tell him it is not true.
We applied through the portal that the ministry opened.
We were lucky to be selected.
“This is what Nigerians are waiting to see, especially the less privilege citizens to get things without lobbying for them or having to know one big man or the other,” he said.
Another beneficiary, the Manager of Spray well & Finch Solutions Ltd., Mr Henry Obi also said he got his allocation without having to lobbying any government official.
Although the Federal Government intervention has not provided housing for every Nigerian that needs it, stakeholders say with the evident increased government’s commitment, thing will only get better for Nigeria.
****If used please credit the author and News Agency of Nigeria.
Some workers in the North-East have advocated for review of the Federal Government’s National Housing Programme (NHP), to enable more Nigerians to own decent houses.
The workers and other stakeholders made the call in Bauchi, Damaturu, Dutse, Gombe, Maiduguri and Yola while responding to the News Agency of Nigeria survey on NHP implementation.
They said the call was imperative to mobilise participation and fast track successful implementation of the programme.
The NHP is the housing component of the President Muhammadu Buhari Economic Sustainability Plan to deliver affordable housing and millions of jobs for Nigerians.
The programme seeks to construct 300,000 houses across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for low income earners, and create up to 1.8 million jobs in the Construction Value Chain.
It is also designed to increase domestic production of construction materials through economies of scale as well as increase access to home ownership for low income earners through reduced housing cost and alternative financing options.
However, high cost of the houses has been a source of concern to the workers as most of the respondants said they could not afford the exorbitant prices.
Available data on the NHP verified portal being handled by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing indicated that a number of the houses were currently on sale across the country.
According to the ministry, prices of the completed houses in Dutse, Jigawa, indicated that one-bedroom bungalow costs over N9.268 million, and two-bedroom bungalow N12.398 million while three-bedroom bungalow costs N16.491 million respectively.
Some workers in Damaturu, Yobe, bemoaned the high cost of houses built by the Federal Government under the NHP.
They said the houses were beyond the reach of ordinary Nigerian.
Alhaji Mohammed Alka of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), said he did not apply for the houses under the scheme because it would attract high deductions from his salary.
“The deduction of over N40,000 from my salary is much, If I agreed to it, I won’t be able to fend for my family.
“Again, according to the National Housing Fund website, the prices of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom and Duplex houses range from N7 million to over N16 million.
“I have since given up because these houses are too expensive for a low income earner,” he said.
A staffer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), in Damaturu, Rabiu Haruna, also said he could not afford the 20 and 30 per cent down payment as required under the scheme.
Saleh Mohammed, who is with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said the over N12 million price for the scheme’s two-bedroom flat was on the high side.
“I can get a land and build a two-bedroom flat here in Damaturu with half of that amount,” he said.
A worker with Federal University, Gashua, Yobe, Adamu Saleh, said the houses were built in the outskirts of the town, which he felt was unsafe.
Also, Mr Haliru Ibrahim, a retired worker in Bauchi, said Nigerians could not access the houses due to cumbersome processes.
He said workers were not getting the houses inspite of monthly deduction which was being effected from the salary of a worker and remitted to the NHF account from the point of entry to retirement.
“If you are lucky, you get your money back.
There is really no hope in the system,” he said.
Another worker, Mr Alhassan Usman, described the concept of the NHP as welcome initiative, adding that if effectively implemented, it would address the wide gap of housing deficit in the country.
“Let’s have the hope that whenever we retire, we will have reasons to be happy and proud,” he said.
In Borno, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said its members were not befitting from the Federal Government’s housing programme in the past three years.
NLC Chairman in the state, Mr Yusuf Inuwa attributed the trend to misunderstanding resulting from monthly deductions for those who had benefited from the programme.
He said that while deductions were being made from beneficiaries salaries, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) claimed it has not been recieving the required remittance from government.
“This to us is a problem between the bank and Ministry of Finance, and should not affect workers,” he said.
He said workers in the state were disturbed, particularly those eager to access house refurbishment loan.
“We appeal to the management of the bank to come to aid of workers.
“We want them to resolve this matter with the ministry so that our members can start benefitting from the loan again,” Inuwa said.
Responding; Controller of Housing in Yobe, Mr JCN Wannang said that 38 blocks of houses had been completed under the scheme in Damaturu.
He said 24 of the houses were two-bedroom, 12 three-bedroom and two blocks of one-bedroom bungalow.
Wannang said all the necessary facilities were installed in and around the houses which would soon be inaugurated and released to successful applicants.
Additionally; the Federal Government had so far inaugurated 76 housing units in Dutse, Jigawa, under the first phase of the NHP.
The project comprised four units of one-bedroom bungalow; 24 units of three-bedroom bungalow and 48 units of 2-bedroom bungalow.
The project was designed with roads, drains, water and electricity supply facilities.
Also, The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) had constructed 100 houses in Dutse.
Accordinng to the bank, the project is being implemented in collaboration with Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA).
Moreso; the Federal Government in May inaugurated 76 housing units in Gombe under the NHP of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
The 76 housing units comprised 48 units of two-bedroom bungalow, 24 units of three-bedroom bungalow and four units of one-bedroom bungalow.
For Ibrahim Baba and Abigiel Jesper, both workers in Damaturu and Yola, said review of the scheme would address housing deficit and assist more Nigerians.
Baba said that downward review of the prices would enable more Nigerians to own houses and benefit from the scheme.
While Jesper stressed that such review was necessary to reposition the scheme to enable it to achieve the set objectives.
Contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme in Northwest have demanded the easing of conditions for securing housing loan under the Scheme.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NHF Scheme was introduced by the Federal Government to enable Contributors to the Fund, mostly civil servants, secure flexible loan to enable them build their own houses.
Speaking to NAN in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Katsina states, stakeholders advocated a complete review of the Scheme to serve the purpose for which it was initiated, or in the alternative, scrap it completely.
They argued that not only was the process of securing loan too cumbersome, the requirements were hardly met by majority of civil servants, thereby defeating the laudable objectives of the Scheme.
Aliyu Musa, a retired Federal civil servant in Gusau, said there was need for the review of the Scheme for its objectives to be achieved.
“All the years I spent in the Federal Civil Service, I could not secure a house despite all the contributions I made from my salary.
“I think the essence of the Scheme is to mobilise long-term funds to address the problem of inability of Nigerian workers to secure houses of their own, but honestly, the objective is not being achieved fully”, he observed.
Another Contributor to the Fund in Gusau, Alhaji Abubakar Usman, lamented that securing access to NHF facilities was always a herculean task, and therefore called on the Federal Government to restructure the Scheme to make things easy.
A widow in Gusau, Maryam Adeniyi, also made similar call, recollecting how her late husband who was a Contributor could not access the housing loan in spite of all efforts.
She lamented that even the process of recovering his accumulated NHF savings after his death, was cumbersome, adding that the money had remained stuck.
Malam Musa Lemu, a retired Federal civil servant in Sokoto, described the NHF Scheme as a laudable programme that enabled workers to own houses easily.
He however lamented that the process of securing loan was tedious, thereby depriving the Scheme of the advantages derivable from its implementation.
According to him, he retired two years ago but is still struggling to get his savings refunded.
Malam Adamu Suleiman, a staff of Federal Ministry of Information, Sokoto, told NAN that he received alerts on deductions in respect of his NHF savings in peace-meal.
He said when he approached Sokoto Office of Mortgage Bank for housing loan, he was told that only headquarters of the bank could process same.
He suggested the introduction of seamless contribution and reconciliation process that would encourage more voluntary participation in the Scheme.
Usman Shehu of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Birnin Kebbi, lamented that administrative bottlenecks had hindered the full realization of the benefits of the Scheme.
“Scarcity of the application forms, superfluous and discouraging requirements and processes are issues that need to be addressed for the Scheme to record maximum success; there is need for constant sensitisation on how the system operates,” he suggested.
In his contribution, Alhaji Hamisu Abubakar of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Birnin Kebbi, observed that civil servants benefiting from the Scheme were negligible, and therefore called for its scrapping.
As far as I am concerned, the Scheme is a failure; some people are using the funds for their benefits at the expense of Nigerian workers; the Scheme should be scrapped”, he insisted.
Arguing along the same line, Mohammed Iliyasu of Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Birnin Kebbi, alleged that the Scheme was bedeviled by insincerity and corruption, just as he acknowledged that the motive for initiating it, was laudable.
He suggested that it either be reviewed, or scrapped.
Meanwhile in Katsina State, some stakeholders expressed dissatisfaction, saying the Scheme had not served the purpose for which it was initiated, noting that conditions for securing loan were stringent.
Malam Yusuf Abdulkarim of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Katsina office, said the scheme was not living up to the expectations of the Contributors.
On her part, Mrs Uwani Rabe advised Federal Government to fine-tune the Scheme for it to have the desired impact, just as she also noted that conditions for securing loan were stringent.
“I tried to secure the loan but did not succeed despite my contributions to the Scheme, so I gave up, and since then, I developed negative feelings about NHF”, she said.
Also, another respondent in Katsina, Malam Ibrahim Danlagos, suggested that participation in the Scheme be made optional.
“Participation should not be made compulsory for civil servants, rather, it should be optional; the way it is now, its like workers are being coerced to contribute, which should not be so”, he said.
Some residents of Kaduna also decried lack of easy access to loan facilities of NHF, saying the procedure involved in securing same, was cumbersome.
Residents who spoke to a NAN correspondent in Kaduna, said the conditions to be met to access the loan, were difficult to satisfy.
Mrs Larai Usman, a civil servant, said she filled a housing loan form from NHF two years ago, but was yet to get any positive response.
“I am told the loan takes two to six months to process if one is lucky; our names were compiled and a few forms were brought to us at the office but as we speak, two years have passed with no response,” she said.
Mr Danjuma Jato, a teacher in Kaduna, said he once attempted to secure the loan but could not succeed.
Jato said the requirements for securing the the facilities were rather stringent, saying his application was rejected because he was still servicing a loan from a commercial bank.
“Some of the requirements should be reviewed to make it flexible for everyone,” he said.
Also, Mrs Rose Ishaku, an entrepreneur, said she had been approached by a private Estate Developer, but was told she would have to make payment of N500,000 as part of the requirements.
“The Estate Developer said they collaborate with FMBN and process loans for interested individuals, but the initial payment and monthly remittance is quite high”, she said.
She urged the Federal Government to review the conditions for securing the loan to enable eligible Nigerians benefit from the Scheme.
On his part, Mr Felix Ayina, a civil servant in Kaduna, said although he had been contributing to the Fund, his salary was to meagre to meet family needs, as such securing any loan would be an additional burden on him.
Making the same appeal, some civil servants in Kano state urged the Federal Government to restructure the Scheme in order to reduce the bureaucracy involved in accessing housing loan.
They also requested that the process of refund of the accumulated NHF money to retired civil servants, be simplified.
Mr Isaac Ighure, a former Editor-in-Chief of the News Agency of Nigeria , has called for more enlightenment for civil servants on the National Housing Fund for more workers’ benefit from the scheme.
Ighure, a retired civil servant, in a telephone interview with NAN on Saturday in Lagos, also called for review of mortgage policies due to inflation to accommodate low income civil servants.
He said he retired seven years ago but had to use heavy interest commercial bank loans while in service to purchase a government bungalow in Abuja because of inadequate information.
He lamented that upon completion of 35 years of meritorious service to the nation, he got an NHF refund of about N500 which he joked could hardly buy good quality pepper soup.
He said that the explanation offered for his low refund was that deductions from his NHF contributions were stopped because he became a director.
“Later I gathered that I didn’t ask them to continue deductions because Executive Director level is supposed to be either administrative or political.
So, once you climb above director, they stop deductions, I didn’t know about that.
“At the end of the day, what I got after 35 years was five hundred and something Naira, What can N500 buy for you now,’’ he queried.
He said it was difficult during his service years to access Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) loans, adding that “many people are not even aware of what to do under the NHF’’.
“Government needs to create more awareness and maybe educate or enlighten workers on the benefits of the fund.
“It would have been okay to raise the value of monthly deductions but with the value of the salary and the worthlessness of the salary now, the purchasing power is weak, so if you now jerk up the deductions it is going to further weaken the purchasing power of workers.
“Although, the objective is laudable, to enjoy it you have to live to enjoy the benefits.
Government has to think of what to do to make it easier for workers to afford their own accommodation,’’ he said.
He lamented the skyrocketing prices of construction materials and land which had further weakened ability of workers to build their homes unlike in the past where civil servants could build gradually.
He called for longer term and low interest mortgages which were used in other advanced countries but not working in Nigeria.
“Workers are heavily disadvantaged when it comes to housing.
Every worker needs housing, even when government builds some of these low cost housing, the rich buy them up and give out on rent at exorbitant rates,’’ he said.
Narrating his ordeal, Mr Deji Idowu, a retired broadcaster from the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) told NAN the NHF programme of government was shrouded in a lot of secrecy that promoted fraud.
Idowu said he retired from NTA at the age of 57 after 35 years in service but was told he could not get refund of his contributions until his 60th birthday.
He said he Joined NTA in 1983 and his contemporaries who retired at 60 got between N500,000 and N600,000 as refund for their NHF contributions after 35 long years in service.
He said upon turning 60, he returned to collect his refund and was stalled by bureaucracy.
He said he was supposed to process payment through NTA’s in house mortgage institution but was given impossible conditions to make available pay slips of about 10 years and other inaccessible documents.
“Next, they said is that I should go and bring my passbook.
I am supposed to have a passbook with NTA.
I went there to finance, they said they can’t find my passbook,’’ he said.
He queried why civil servants should be ones to supply records that should be domiciled in the budget and finance ministries of the Federal Government or IPPIS.
He said the NHF deductions from workers salaries, like the pension funds, were not just sitting idle but were being invested and queried why workers did not get profit on contributions.
Idowu, now a lecturer in the University of Lagos, said that NTA staff could not benefit from the FMBN loans because they were told their poor salary structure disqualified them.
The former broadcaster called for more transparency and awareness on the scheme while civil servants should be paid better wages to benefit from NHF.
Some serving federal civil servants who spoke on conditions of anomity, said they did not understand the housing policies of the government.
One of the civil servants said that she benefited recently from a N5 million loan under the FISH scheme operated by the office of the Head of Service.
“We don’t understand anything but whenever they bring forms for any housing loan or scheme I just key into it.
I have filled countless forms in the past until the last one that I got N5 million to build my own house.
“They said the FISH (Federal Integrated Staff Housing Programme) scheme is under the office of Head of Service,’’ she said.
Workers lament difficulty in accessing housing loans Workers lament difficulty in accessing housing loans Loans By Reporters Port Harcourt, Aug. 19, 2023 Civil servants in the South-South have expressed disappointment over the difficulty in accessing housing loans from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).
The workers, in a survey conducted by told the News Agency of Nigeria , said that the conditions for getting the loans were too stringent and had hindered them from accessing them.
They called on government to device other means of improving the scheme, including relaxing the conditions to enable workers to access loans from the bank to build houses.
A staff of the Federal Ministry of Information in Cross River, Mrs Enawan Effiom, told NAN in Calabar that she had approached the FMBN to access funds to build a house.
Effiom said she was disappointed to be told that she could not access the loan, except he came with a third party who should be a property developer.
The Grade Level 14 officer said that on making further enquiries she was given the phone number of a developer who was based in Uyo, Akwa Ibom. According her, she was told that it was her responsibility to bear the cost of the developer’s movements to inspect the building site if she eventually secured the loan.
“This is outrageous because it simply means that if I need say N2 million or N3 million to build a two-bedroom flat, the cost will eventually rise by the time I finish bearing such additional costs.
“Like many other civil servants, I became discouraged.
“I have also tried the ones built by the Federal Government that workers are expected to apply for.
I abandoned the effort because the requirements only favoured the rich and very senior civil servants,” she said.
According to her, the houses are usually built at the outskirts of the state capital.
“The ones for this state are located between Calabar and Odukpani.
“The inhabitants have faced so many security challenges because of the location.
I cannot leave there in this era of insecurity,” she said.
Effiom said that it was easier to obtain a loan from a commercial bank to build a house than getting it from FMBN.
She however called on government to attach less stringent conditions that would encourage workers access the loan to be able to build houses of their own.
Another civil servant, Mr Edet Archibong, said he gave up hope on the scheme long ago because it “lacked sincerity.
” Archibong lamented that every month deductions were made from his salary yet accessing the fund was “practically impossible.
” According to him, it is difficult to see civil servants in Calabar who would say that they got assistance from FMBN to build their houses.
He said the loan scheme could only benefit workers if government relaxed the requirements for the loan, especially for low income earners.
The Coordinator, National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in Delta, Mr Sylvanus Onyeogo, said in Asaba that the stringent conditions for accessing loan from FMBN has remained discouraging to civil servants.
Oneogo told NAN that he applied for a N5 million loan sometime ago while serving in Bayelsa, to enable him complete a housing project, but it was not realisable.
“I owned a piece of land that I wanted to develop then and I needed N5 million to augment what I had to build the type of house I wanted.
“I applied and all what they demanded from me, though stringent, l presented to them, but rather than approve the N5 million I requested, they approved N2.5 million for me.
“It was tough for me and I rejected the money.
I rather sourced funds from our cooperative society to complete my project,” he said.
He said though the fund was accessible, the approvals may not meet the subscriber’s need.
“For those who are subscribing for federal government housing units, it may be a bit easier because the houses are fully developed and ready to be allocated.
“In that case, civil servant who are interested in such low cost houses can apply and if selected, may not have as much difficulty accessing the fund.
“Those civil servants who have many years to go can apply, and in not too long a time, they may get the loan.
“Even if you have your own land and you want to develop it, there are so many stringent conditions that you have to meet.
“This is why many civil servants find if difficult to get the fund,” Onyeogo said, urging government to make the requirement more attainable.
On his part, the Federal Controller of Housing in Delta, Mr Victor Uduokhia, said that the first phase of the housing estate built by the federal government at Issele-Azagba, had been fully subscribed for.
He said however that he was not certain whether or not the subscribers sourced their funds directly from FMBN or from other sources.
“As we speak, the first phase of the low cost Federal Government Housing Units at Issele-Azagba have been fully subscribed for.
“We are in the second phase on same site and work have reached advanced stage,” Uduokhia said.
In Rivers, a respondent complained of poor housing programme for the civil servants in the state.
A staff of state Ministry of Information, Mr Kelvin Nengia, said: “since I came into the civil service in 2008, not much has been done in the area of providing housing for civil servants.
“The last time the government had a raffle draw for housing at Iriebe, Oyibo Local Government Area was around 2009. “Since then, nothing has been heard of the programme until recently when they gave loans to some workers in 2021,” he said.
A staff of the state-owned Radio Rivers FM Station, Mr Stanley Job, however, said that the state government had granted loans to its workers, though not enough to build houses.
Job said no fewer than 30 workers in the station received housing loans in 2021. According to him, some civil servants in Rivers State Television also obtained the loans.
“They were given about N1 million each which is not enough to build a house.
The most the money can be used for is to acquire land,” he added.
Job urged the government to partner with private investors to drive the housing programme in the state.
On his part, the Akwa Ibom Coordinator and Manager, FMBN ,Mr Ifiok Umoren called on the National Assembly to amend the existing laws regulating housing policies.
Umoren said in Uyo that the measure would enable the country to tackle emerging exigencies in the housing sector.
According to him, the bank had tried to ensure that the current legal framework was amended but had not succeeded.
He said lack of revised laws to address housing problems had caused serious set back in the sector.
He regretted that the revised bill to regulate the sector had been pending in the national assembly for a long time now, and urged the lawmakers to do the needful.
“In the past 10 years, the bank has tried to get this law amended but it has not been possible,” Umoren said.
He commended civil servants in Akwa Ibom for remitting their monthly contribution to the National Housing Funds (NHF) promptly.
“NHF is working in Akwa Ibom. The civil servants are paying money to us.
In facts it is 100 per cent efficient.
All workers under the employment of the state pay money to FMBN.
Umoren however hinted that the bank had not adequate funds to finance housing as required.
He also decried the difficult workers faced in meeting the requirements for loans such as providing Certificate of Occupancy, Right of Occupancy, Registered Deed of Assignment, Registered Deed of Sublease, among others.
“Most times one will want to acquired two bedroom flat which may be as high as N7 million depending on the location.
“But because of how much you are earning, you can’t afford it; what you earn can’t guarantee the repayment of the loan for the property,” he said.
Some civil servants in the South East have called for the reform of the National Housing Fund (NHF) to make the agency meet up its mandate of housing provision.They disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews while reacting to the impact of the NHF since its inception.In Enugu, a retired civil servant, Mr Vincent Okwor, said that the fund was meant to provide houses or loans for housing acquisition and other related issues.Okwor, a former Assistant Editor-in-Chief of NAN, said that in recent times, the fund had not met the requirements of civil servants and low income Nigerians it should be catering for.According to him, previously, it only takes three months to collect your NHF contribution and its interest after retirement; but today there is delay in this process and at times contributors are short paid.“The purpose of the fund is not being fulfilled and it needs some reforms for it to function exceptionally.“I collected my contributed money and its interest in three months about five years ago after retirement; but recently, a newly retired colleague went to the fund but was delayed and was about to be short paid.“It took him accosting the managers of NHF in Abuja and intervention of a friend working in the fund for his over N100,000 short payment to be restored,” he said.A serving civil servant, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the fund had not lived up to its expectation as even civil servants getting simple housing related loans below N1 million was still challenging.“The fund mandate should be looked into again and see how to make it more functional and realistic.“Myself and some colleagues applied for a Home Renovation Loan in the fund for N1 million and we even paid N9,000 for the facilitation of the loan.“But till date close to a year, we have not heard from the agency office in the South-East whether the application is accepted or not.“So, the purpose of providing little loan, let alone a shelter for civil servants is not visible any longer,” he said.Other federal and state civil servants expressed dissatisfaction over non affordability and accessibility of houses built by governments.They said that the cost of accessing and acquiring the buildings were beyond their salaries, urging government to do something to alleviate their plight from becoming house owners.According to them, it is disheartening and painful that after working for 35 years, a civil servant cannot boast of personal house or land.In Abia, a federal civil servant and contributor to the scheme, Mrs Grace Okonkwo, said that the institution fell short of the expectations of its subscribers nationwide in spite of the monthly deductions from their salaries by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).Okonkwo said that she and her colleagues, who also subscribed, had not got the houses they were paying for.She said: “I’m not satisfied with NHF because deductions are made from my salary every month but I have nothing to show for it.“For those of us in the Abia office of the institution, it is only one person out of the lot that got a parcel of land in Abuja.“I think one of the challenges for us here in Abia is that there is no Federal Secretariat, where we can easily take our complaints to or make inquiries.” For Mr Patrick Ufomba, another contributor to the scheme, the purpose of establishing NHF is defeated.Ufomba said that to the best of his knowledge, not many civil servants have been able to access the fund to execute housing project.He said that he had spent over two decades in the federal civil service but cannot boast of having his own building.“It pains, especially when money deducted monthly from my salary for that purpose.At times, I feel defrauded because I cannot enjoy the benefit of the contribution.“The Federal Government is expected to build low-cost houses for civil servants, after which they deduct the money from their salaries.“Unfortunately, such projects are not seen, especially in states,” Ufomba said.A federal health worker, Mr Julius Eze, said that he applied for a Home Renovation Loan since two years ago but had yet to get any positive response.“I’m just disappointed that l have not been able to access the N1 million that I applied for since two years ago.“I met the necessary requirements from FMBN but no official response from the institution on the issue to date.“I wish that the relevant authorities would intervene so that civil servants can access the houses or get loans as and when due,” Eze said.A Deputy Director in the federal civil service described the scheme as a scam that should be investigated urgently.“I appeal to the EFCC and the Code of Conduct Bureau to beam their searchlight on NHF and tell Nigerian workers what is happening with their monthly contributions.“It is painful that a civil servant at my level would work for decades and not own a house of my own.“This is unacceptable.Something is fishing and management of the institution has explanations to make,” the lady said on the condition of anonymity.An official of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), in Enugu who pleaded anonymity, urged the Federal Government to replicate same housing they built for workers at the Federal Capital Territory to states to enable workers at the state level to benefit.He said, “We only see from television of government workers who have benefited from the FG housing plans in Abuja.“It is sad that after retirement, one will be struggling to pay house rent, school fees for children and feeding.“The highest thing any government can do for its working force is to provide them with personal accommodation, adding that many retired civil servants die because they cannot afford house rent.A staff of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, who also pleaded anonymity, described Contributory National Housing Fund as a “fraud” explaining that in spite of the contributions, many civil servants found it difficult to access housing loans “I see it as a scam because the purpose of contributing is to enable workers own house but the house is not available for them while few ones built was beyond our reach.“This is a big challenge to civil servants that earn little; government should come to our aid,” he appealed.An Enugu State teacher who simply gave her name as Sabina, also appealed to governments and developers to reduce the price at which they sold houses to low income earners.She expressed dismay that civil servants in the state did not have houses of their own as well as accessing loans from the mortgage banks and other financial institutions.“How can a civil servant that earn N40,000 to N50,000 buy the lowest house they sell N5.5m, N10m and N15m,” she lamented.In Anambra, Mrs Chinwe Orizu, the state Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, said that workers were yet to benefit from national housing fund they contributed over years due to non completion of the housing estate scheme in the state.Orizu said that the process of the scheme should be made open to the public for easy accessment of information to avoid a situation where contributors would miss the opportunity to own a house or get reimbursed.Mr Christian Beluchukwu, a retired civil servant, said that he never had a house nor being reimbursed the contribution he made while in service because of the tight process involved since no estate had been built by the government for her workers.Mrs Ada Okafor, a Chief pharmacist with the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, said that years back, she filled a form regarding the process to claim a house based on their contribution but surprisingly, till date nothing had been done to actualise the goal.Mrs Pamela Igwe, a contributor with Purity FM, said that government should make the process to be transparent and easy to access for contributors.Igwe said that the idea was laudable as the condition of many civil servants were pitiable in housing area and appealed to controller in charge of Anambra national housing scheme to ensure that the projects were realizable.“This national housing scheme is doable, Lagos and Delta states have achieved it so Anambra can do better.“We need houses to be called our own so at retirement, we can rest from rent age,” she said.Meanwhile, Mr Iwuchukwu Okafor, Federal Controller, Federal Housing Sector, said that national housing scheme projects were ongoing in Anambra and that efforts were being made to complete them for commissioning.Okafor said that the national housing projects started since 2016 in the state at Isiagu Community Layout in Awka South Local Government Area of the state.He disclosed that the projects were done in three stages which involved site location, clearing and erecting of the building meant for all grades of workers.He explained that the stages entailed building of condominium which implies building a detachable structures that contains three bedroom flats , two bedroom and one bedroom flat for all grades of workers.“Primarily the process starts from interested worker picking up a form from the ministry and presenting proof of contribution amongst others which at the end of the verification exercise flats would be allocated based on the contributory value of each worker.Mr Chijioke Onyi, a supervisor with the federal ministry collaborated the claim of the controller and said that they were working hard to ensure the problem of housing in the state for civil servants were solved.Onyi said that some of the challenges they encountered include access road to the estate and expressed hope that attention would be given to that as soon as possible.However, some stakeholders in Ebonyi, have decried the lack of awareness from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) on the possible steps to access the housing fund in the country.The Stakeholders, in a separate interviews with NAN, said they did not know how to access the fund or have knowledge of where deductions from their salaries were being stacked.Mrs Chika Oko, a subscriber, said she had been seeing deductions from her salary but not fully aware of how or where to access the fund.“I am a contributor and I don’t know how to access the fund for the purpose of house ownership.“I am sure some people are just enriching themselves with people’s contribution, because I have not seen a contributor who have benefited before.“On houses built by the current administration, I have no idea and I do not think there is anything like that in the state because I have not heard,” Oko added.Mr Mike Chukwuka, a civil servant in the state, also blamed FMBN for lack of information on the Federal Housing Fund scheme.‘‘It is unfair that many civil servants do not know anything on how to access the fund even when their salaries are being deducted.We should blame FMBN that is managing the fund.“Yes, I am a contributor, and I have not had any need to access the fund.But I have a friend, who have benefited, but that was when the person retired.“FMBN should come out to educate people, especially on how to benefit to clear the negative impression by workers,” Chukwuka advised.Another subscriber and teacher, Mr Kennedy Okechukwu told NAN that he had not seen any house built for contributors in Ebonyi by the current administration in the past seven years.Okechukwu said that some of the challenges plaguing the scheme remained lack of information about the fund.“Many people are ignorant of the scheme and how to access it,” he added.A Retired Civil Servant, Mr Wilson Okereke, Former Deputy Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA) said he was able to access the fund after his retirement.On challenge, Okereke said that he did not encounter any and added that the process was fast.He urged the people to stop the impatient conclusion about the housing fund scheme.“Yes, I benefited when I retired in 2020. I have no idea of anybody, who have benefited while in service,” he stated.In Imo, beneficiaries of the National Housing Fund (NHF) said the process of accessing the fund was seamless and devoid of unnecessary stress.A staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr Michael Erondu, said the fund was a reasonable arrangement by the Federal Government but decried the bureaucratic process involved in accessing it.According to him, the stress associated with bureaucracy of procuring the loan from commercial banks is a far cry from what the Federal Government intended it to serve.Also contributing, a senior staff of the state ministry of Information, who pleaded anonymity, said that the state’s housing fund had gone moribund.The source, who hinted that the fund used to be operative before the start of the current administration, expressed confidence that it would be reinstated.It noted that the fund was seamlessly assessed when it was still available to workers, adding that it provided a viable platform for civil servants in the state to own a house.A retiree, Mrs Kate Ubochioma, said that she could not enjoy the Fund due to its unavailability throughout the period she worked.Ubochioma called on the state government to revive the fund for the benefit of civil servants, especially low income earners.However, a secondary school teacher, Mrs Chinwendu Ohaya, commended the Federal Government for the fund, adding that she had begun the construction of her own house.‘I accessed the fund from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and it was helpful.I am currently building my own house,” Ohaya said.Another beneficiary, Mrs Ngozika Hyacinth, said that the long duration for repayment of the loan negatively impacted her salary, amounting to almost infinitesimal amount.Hyacinth, who works as a nurse, called for a review of the initiative to guarantee a more citizen-friendly process and repayment system.On the other hand, Mr Anthony Uwa, who pleaded that the establishment should not be mentioned, called for an increase in government support to the fund to enable it serve its purpose.“It will help restore belief in the system and attract more potential benefits,” he added.NewsSourceCredit: NAN