Following the successful execution of the first phase of its civil servant housing estate, the Cross River State Government has said it is set to commence work on the second phase of the programme.
The state acting Governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham, who said this yesterday, at the inauguration of the Akpabuyo Housing Estate near Calabar, said the second phase will see houses springing up in Ikom, Ogoja, Obudu, Yakurr and Odukpani local government areas.
He said the housing scheme at Akpabuyo would be replicated across the state, while significant progress has been made to achieve the target.
Akpabuyo CROSPIL Estate has 200 units made up of 64 three-bedroom detached and 98 three bedroom semi-detached bungalows, 26 two bedroom semi-detached bungalows as well as 12 units of one bedroom terraces. The entire estate had been landscaped, grassed and decorated with flowers giving the environment beauty.
"This estate will have a total of 610 housing units on completion comprising 135 units of one bedroom, 246 units of two bedroom semi-detached, 67 units of two bedroom detached, 98 units of three bedroom semi-detached and 64 units of three bedroom detached," the acting governor said.
He expressed government concern over the fate of those displaced from their abodes in Atimbo and IKOT Offiong Ambai Clan to make way for the sprawling estate, but said: "The state government has taken necessary steps to relocate the displaced persons through the allocation of alternative plots while appropriate compensation has also been paid to them."
He added that government demonstrated its commitment to the successful realisation of affordable housing for civil servants by granting internal loans of N99, 684, 065.86 to 15 pensioner-beneficiaries and 22 others to enable them qualify for National Housing Fund (NHF) loan.
"The Akpabuyo Housing Scheme is a legacy scheme which intends to provide value for service to those who have served the government and people of Cross River State. The estate is executed through a public-private-partnership arrangement with a reputable firm-Aso Savings and Loans and Aso Investment Development Company as estate financiers and developers.
"Under this model, the developer provides funds for the construction of the houses while the state government undertake the provision of land, infrastructure and payment of equity contribution on behalf of civil servants beneficiaries," Cobham said.
The acting government revealed that government spent N1. 6B "on various aspects of development including compensation to the communities, contracts awarded for land clearing, as well as the internal roads and drainage network. We have also ensured that electrification, water supply, landscaping and beautification as 10 per cent equity contribution on behalf of civil/public servants have so far been catered for in this regard".
Cobham revealed that government was coming up with "a housing policy that will govern the restructuring of the housing delivery process in the state, thus ensuring the provision accessible and good quality housing for our citizens. This policy will bridge the housing gap in Cross River State".
"The policy will also deliver a realistic action plan and framework for implementation over the years and provide for management of affordable housing, compliant with defined minimum standards," he said.
Earlier, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama Pepple, had during the inauguration given keys of the houses to beneficiaries, who expressed happiness in being proud owners of houses, while still in service.
Pepple commended the state government's initiative, saying it was in line with that of the Federal Government in providing affordable houses for Nigerians and called on other states to emulate the state as an example.
"The Federal Government Housing programme for civil servants is meant to save them the agony of using their meagre salary on building houses. The Federal Government is ready to partner any state government in providing houses for the people. Our housing programme remains on course," she said.