Aminat Yahaya —
The Trade Union Congress (TUC), Ebonyi State chapter, yesterday protested the alleged selling of a housing estate to non-workers in the state. It is alleged that the workers’ housing estate was sold to politicians and unidentified individuals who are not civil service workers in the state by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the project developer.
Briefing journalists in Abakaliki, the State Chairman of TUC, Chidi Igboji, explained that Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) sponsored the affordable housing delivery project, in collaboration with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress and Nigeria Employees’ Consultative Association.
Igboji said members of TUC regretted the negligence of FMBN and the developer of the housing project, especially when they found that some politicians allegedly connived with the developer to displace supposed beneficiaries.
He further expressed dismay over non-accommodation of TUC members in the housing allocation and allotment processes, even when an encouraging amount of money had been deducted from their bank accounts.
According to the Guardian, 90 houses of three-bedroom flats were built for government workers in the state, which were officially commissioned by the governor.
The NLC Chairman, Ikechukwu Nwafor, who also briefed journalists after its members and members of the Academic Union of Universities and Trade Union Congress staged a walkout from the estate commissioning, on Thursday, alleged the housing units were meant for workers who had been contributing to the National Housing Fund.
The NLC boss also called on Governor David Umahi to put the commissioning on-hold, pending when the issue is resolved.
“Ebonyi State Government has done well for the first time by donating land for the housing estate to be built for the workers, he said.
“But the housing estate is supposed to be built and sold to workers and indigenes, and not non-workers and outsiders. This is very unfortunate.
“Workers from Ebonyi State have been contributing through the National Housing Fund, which is being handled by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria. Some of us have contributed for well over 20 to 23 years for this housing estate project.
“Workers in Ebonyi State are not happy with what the FMBN did and it should be queried. The process should be revised to make sure that Ebonyi workers are able to access the facility.”
Trade union members, who boycotted the commissioning, appealed to Umahi and President Muhammad Buhari to stop the alleged calculated strategy by FMBN and the developer of the housing project to deny them access to the buildings, proposing to employ every legal means to reclaim their rights.