Successive governments in Nigeria had identified the provision of decent and affordable housing as one of their top priorities, but the country, has not developed a system capable of delivering a house for all. So, recognising inadequate funding, high cost of building materials, dearth of local artisans in the building industry, low penetration of mortgage financing, and non-accessibility of finance by genuine developers as some of the problems, President Muhammadu Buhari government has evolved a robust policy to deliver houses to Nigerians.

From the onset, the National Housing Programme (NHP) set up under the former Lagos State governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola-led Ministry of Works and Housing, had one major agenda; to deliver affordable and accessible housing to beneficiaries. With necessary collaborative actions aimed at ensuring nationally acceptable designs that respond to and accommodate the country’s diversity in terms of climatic conditions and cultural leanings, the programme is now delivering on its objective.

The NHP is presently undertaking 6,022 housing unit projects across 46 sites in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and of these numbers, 2,864 housing units are completed. The NHP has a total of 2,382 housing units under construction from January 2022 to date. Out of this number 1,462 housing units have been delivered in seven sites across the nation.

While providing these houses, and the construction process associated with them, jobs in the construction value chain, translating into 46,4202 number employments for Nigerians were created. The value chain also empowered 1,245 building contractors across the nation. A breakdown of some of the projects by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Building Nationwide for all Cadres further shows massive investment and commendable results by the administration.

At the Pilot Mass Housing Programme, Zuba, Abuja, FCT, where N7.20bn out of the N9.30bn earmarked for the construction of 764 units of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom houses with associated infrastructure is already expended, 746 housing units have been completed as of June 2022. In Apo, Abuja, construction was recommenced towards the completion of 90 Luxury duplexes. Of the N4.05bn set aside for the project, N1.85bn is already expended, and 73 housing units have been completed.

There is an ongoing Index Housing Project in Kubwa, Abuja, for the construction of 18 units of two-bedroom in blocks of six flats. The budgeted sum of N229.2m has been released and spent with the 18 housing units delivered.

The project cost for the partnership between the FHA and ENL for the completion of 764 luxury housing units in Apo, Abuja, was put at N41.78bn. Thus, N18.8bn has been released so far and 550 housing units have been completed already. N1.1bn was earmarked for the construction of 59 units of a lettable space shopping mall at the 3rd Avenue Shopping Mall, and N493m has been utilised on 38 units of the project, which commenced in January 2022. There is an ongoing construction of 337 units of two-bedroom, three-bedroom blocks of flats, three-bedroom terraces, and associated infrastructure. For this, N9.6 billion was set aside and N1.5bn of that has been used.

The construction of 80 units of two and three-bedroom bungalows is already completed at the Markudi, Benue State Nationwide Housing project. N712m was expended out of the N768m set aside for the project and 83 housing units were delivered.

At the Yenogoa Nationwide Housing project, where N342m is already used out of the budgeted N2.28bn, the project is ongoing for the construction of 80 units of various house types and associated infrastructure. At Odukpani, Cross Rivers State Nationwide Housing project, N570.35m has been released out of N830.12m for the construction of 86 units of two and three-bedroom bungalow house types with associated infrastructure.

Seventy of these houses are ready as you read this. Also, in Awka, Anambra State, work is ongoing on the construction of 104 units of various house types with associated infrastructure under the Nationwide Housing project. The project already received 246.74m out of N1.8bn and work is ongoing. It is the same story in Rigachikum, Kaduna State; Gama-Gwari, Fagge Kano State; Akinyele Area of Oyo State; Uyo, Akwa-Ibom, State; Minna, Niger State; Avu Town, Along Port Harcourt Road, Owerri, Imo State; Jalingo, Taraba State and every other state, where the project is ongoing.

With the Buhari government winding down, the programme is now in a season of completion, and many of the houses have been completed and are now being handed over to the beneficiaries, who followed the allocation procedure set out by the National Housing Programme. The National Housing Programme has therefore produced new homeowners but in the process also produced citizens, who found economic fulfillment as contractors, suppliers of various construction items, and artisans as well.

Altogether, 461 contractors are working on these projects, not only are these projects stimulating the economies of the 35 states and the FCT in the communities, where work is being undertaken for the construction of houses, by providing work for artisans, builders, engineers, and other skilled persons in the building industry, the construction sites have been and remain centers of supply for building materials and other commodities.

This explains why earlier in 2022, President Buhari, when speaking at the inauguration of a 68-unit housing scheme by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, under the National Housing Programme (NHP), Phase One, along Benin-Auchi Road in Benin, Edo State, maintained that his administration had stayed committed to the promised change he offered Nigerians in the build-up to the 2015 general election, which ushered him to power. He singled out the housing sector as one aspect of the nation’s infrastructure development, where his administration had delivered satisfactorily, the 2015 promised change mantra of his campaign and administration’s signature.

Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stated: “When our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), sought your mandate to form the government in 2015, one of the things that we promised was change. This housing estate is an example of the fulfillment of that promise of change.

“This is a good example of some of the developmental possibilities that inter-governmental collaboration can produce, and I am optimistic that with the provision of more land, the federal government certainly can do more. Of course, the progressive ideals of our government seek to achieve one primary objective, which is to improve the human condition.”

According to him, in the states, where the houses have been completed, the government has issued maintenance contracts to small businesses, to ensure that the estates were maintained and kept in good repair, consequently creating jobs for Nigerians

At the event, Fashola said: “We have offered all the housing units to members of the general public in a non-discriminatory way of opening the national housing portal, to ensure that those interested are not inhibited by any artificial obstacles and allocations will be made based on those who apply and pay, on a first-come, first-served basis.”