Food, clothing and shelter are some of the most important things needed by man in his quest to meet the challenges of this cruel world. All that man does on earth, in one way or the other are geared towards meeting one of these basic needs.
This explains why all governments that come into power or politicians seeking public office make them some of the areas of their priority attention before fully assuming office or when elected.
In Bauchi State, the Malam Isa Yuguda administration has the vision of constructing 6, 000 additional housing units to ease the housing needs of the people of the state. The administration has embarked on the construction of 1,038 houses at the Tambari Housing Estate Phase II. The mass housing scheme is being carried out through Public-Private Partnership arrangement. With a N 5 billion facility secured from the Federal Mortgage Bank, the government in partnership with private developers who were allocated plots of land have started construction work on 5,000 housing units in Bauchi.
The administration inherited an unresolved problem of government estates and low cost quarters sold to various categories of occupants in different parts of the state. These houses were all constructed by the past administrations from the creation of the state through the military era but sold to the occupants, most of whom were civil servants, by the immediate past administration on owner-occupier basis at costs the occupants could not afford to pay because of their poor packages.
These residential quarters which were sold to the occupants by the previous administration but not completely resolved, are 42 houses at Adamu Jumba housing estate, 40 at Bello Khaliel, 63 at Old Ibrahim Bako Estate, 60 at New Ibrahim Bako and 96 at Tafawa Balewa Estate. Others are 230 State Low Cost Houses, 21 Muda Lawal Houses, 9 Ibo Quarters, 2 Gwallaga Quarters Low Cost, 248 Tambari Housing Estate, 60 Nurses Quarters Low Cost, 18 Water Board Quarters, 20 Resident Engineers and 209 Gubi Housing Estate, totalling 1,118 in Bauchi metropolis.
Other 183 low cost houses spread across the state were also considered and sold to their various occupants by the administration. These low cost houses are 7 in Toro, 3 in Tilden Fulani, 2 in Gumau, 4 in Liman Katagum, 6 in Tafawa Balewa, 10 in Dass, 4 in Katagum, 7 in Jama'are, 2 in Itas, 81 in Azare, 3 in Hanafari, 3 in Giade and 2 in Kirfi. The remaining are 10 in Alkaleri, 7 in Darazo, 10 in Misau, 2 in Dambam 2 in Udubo, 3 in Yana, 2 Disina, 7 in Ningi and 3 in Shira.
The Yuguda administration reviewed the cost of the low cost houses downwards with 30% subsidy to the beneficiaries. At the 209 Gubi Housing Estate, for example, 4 bedroom houses earlier sold at N4 million, were reviewed downward to N3 million, while 3 bedroom houses were sold at N2.3 million as against N3.5. The terms of payment was also reviewed from six months to two years.
Because some of the houses at the Gubi housing estate were not completed, having reached 90% completion, while some others were blown up by wind storm, N63 million has been estimated and sent to the state governor for his consideration and approval to make them ready for occupation by the respective owners.
To make life easy for the inhabitants of the new housing estates, the administration is providing them with more social infrastructures. Some of these infrastructures are construction of a police station at the Tambari and housing estate at the cost N5 million, award of contract for the construction of a clinic, police station and 16 shops at the Gubi housing estate at the cost of N43 million as well as contract for a 2 span bridge and 2 box-culverts to link phase I and II of Tambari housing estates at the cost N196 while estimates for the landscaping of the Tambari police station are being prepared.
Refuse disposal is a serious problem in most urban centers across the world and Bauchi is not an exception. To this end, the Bauchi State Government through the Bauchi State Environmental Protection Agency has taken various measures to address the environmental problems. These measures include evacuation of dumpsites and desolation of drainages using private sector participation at N6.3 million, rehabilitation of working vehicles-tippers and water tankers at N4 million and establishment 244,000 capacity nurseries in the 20 local governments and landscaping works undertaken in Bauchi, Misau and Azare at the cost of N15.35 million.
Abubakar Saidu al-Sadique is Special Assistant on Media Affairs to Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State.