A Professor of Estate Management at the University of Lagos, Professor Timothy Nubi has queried the non-use or implementation of the Employee Housing Decree that he said has been in existence since 1995. He made this disclosure yesterday at an organized Workshop in Abuja via virtual, titled ‘Financing Affordable Housing Development in A Depressed Economy’.
He said that the ruling authorities should look at systems in the past that ought to be regenerated, including the Employee Housing Scheme that served the country’s housing sector so well in the past decades.
Nubi who is also a Director of University of Lagos Center for Housing Studies and a Board of Trustees member of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria [REDAN], said that the Employee Housing Scheme was created to ensure that an organization having at least fifty staff need to provide accommodation for them.
“These are success stories for regeneration, we are not people that do not have success stories to show, said Nubi.
“All I am saying is that, let us look at those systems that we have adopted over time that have sustained us, that God has used us to meet the needs of the people and let’s see how houses improve. Let us see how through regeneration we can work on this.
“There is an act that was made in 1995 that once you have staff numbering fifty, you must provide accommodation for them, that is the essence of the Employee Housing Scheme of 1995. It was that decree that delivered satellite towns, and satellite towns before the implementation of that decree was bad. The government had large plots of land and sub-divided them for 19 companies, including the then NITEL, CBN, University of Lagos, etc.
“It provided the primary roles, infrastructures and gave them these platforms that these companies developed for their staff and it is still there and has achieved the so-called satellite town as we have it today.
“Why are we not having a repeat of such all over the country? We have to go back because, we say we have 17 million housing deficit, it is obvious that the government alone cannot fund these deficits. What I’m saying is that let us unbundle the deficit and apply caution to different agencies, cooperatives, organizations like University of Lagos, let them help.
“Why should Employee Housing Decree be suspended? It is still there; it is not abrogated. It requires every employer of labour that have about fifty persons under their staff role to provide housing for them. So, there are still workers housing programs, nothing should stop them”. He also said that urban regeneration will see slums giving way for organized housing.
Prof. Nubi further commended faith-based organizations like the Living Faith Church and the Redeemed Christian Church of God [RCCG], owners of Covenant University and the Redemption Camp respectively, which he said have built, developed and surpassed what the Federal Housing Authority [FHA] has done in terms of housing development over the years. He said that it is right to emulate the activities of these faith-based organizations and translate them into the national housing delivery model.
“The Redemption camp is no longer a camp today, it’s a city that is almost approaching Sagamu and if you get to Covenant University and the housing estate they have built, we eventually begin to see that the type of houses these faith-based organizations have developed, they surpass what FHA has done over the years. The Redemption camp today looks like this and we see these estates driven by faith-based.
“It’s right when we begin to ask how do we capture their activities into the national housing delivery model because we have thousands of housing units within the camps today. We see large number of housing being developed by NASFAT along the same express road and other parts of the country. I’ve seen faith-based organizations like YWCA all over the country, the world, accommodating young ladies. These are things that have sustained us over the years”.