Plans To Prosecute Cabinet Minister
OpenLife Nigeria reports that the plans and plots by Concerned Group for Accountability, CGA, to institute legal actions against Cabinet Minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who currently oversees Works and Housing portfolio in the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration, are gaining strength.
In a petition said to have been sent to the Atttorney General of the Federation, AGF, sighted by OpenLife, the group demands an investigation into the houses built by the federal government in some States and already completed but not accessible to subscribers as a result of absence of required facilities.
In the petition signed by CGA’s President, Yahaya Sanni, the group stated that Fashola must be made to clarify the unacceptable housing deficit in the country especially in view of the N500b seed capital into housing which has became a farce
The group stated further that the much celebrated houses for low income earners in which government initiated a N500 billion seed capital has dashed hopes of the unsuspecting subscribers noting that the recent disclosure by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation to the effect that low Income earners in the country cannot afford the affordable houses being built for them by the Federal Government under the Affordable Housing programme, forms the basis of the planned legal action against the Minister.
The group explained that an audit report of the programme which began in 2016 with the incorporation of the Family Homes Funds Limited, reveals that over 1,400 houses which has been completed under the programme have not been sold.
The audit which cover the period 2016 to 2018 was said to have been submitted to the Clerk to the National Assembly via a letter dated 3rd August 2022 and signed by the immediate past Auditor General, Adolphus Aghughu who retired from service in September 2022.
The report, according to the group, said many of the houses have been left unsold because the costs of such houses are above the reach of the low-income earners in the country adding that FHFL is a Company established in 2016 by the Federal Government to provide Affordable/Social Homes for low-income earners in Nigeria with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budgets and National Planning (FMOFB&NP) and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) as founding Shareholders.
The company is responsible for providing homes for low-income earners at the lowest possible price they can afford.
The report said that the total capital funding of FHFL in the three years period covered in this audit (2018 to 2020) amounted to N65 which represents 13% of the N500 billion seed capital promised by the Federal Government for provision of affordable homes for low-income earners in the country.
Quoting Shelter Afrique, a Pan-African Real Estate Finance Institution, the report, according to the Group, said the housing deficit in Nigeria is estimated to be 22 million as at January 2020 with a yearly growth rate of 20 percent.
It said further that estimates of output in the formal housing sector ranges from 100,000 to 200,000 housing unit per year, which covers only a fraction of at least, 700,000 units required per year to keep up with the growing population and urban migration.
In particular however is the audit in which reveals how past governments have expended a lot of money to reduce by initiating programs and schemes, but most of which have failed and government funds remain unrecovered.
The Group emphasized that when voters expected a difference in plans and actions, FHFL bought and built homes without recourse to how the government would recoup the funds because they did not have a financial policy that gives a clear direction, effective planning, and guidelines on how the funds should be utilized/recouped when it commenced operation in 2016.
It also said that some of the houses built in some of the states and already completed were without the required facilities and are not easily accessible to subscribers
It said that out of the houses completed only a fraction has been sold adding that the extent of sale of the houses was a clear indication FHFL did not conduct needs assessment to ensure that homes built are affordable to low-income earners
It also said that the company awarded the contract for the buildings without taking into consideration the capped cost limit, adding that the contract awarded was higher than the capped cost limit stated in section 7.4 (1.5) of the FHFL Strategic Plan 2020 — 2024.
The report, which the Group relies on, queried the non-availability of policies or guidelines on how funds invested in the provision of homes will be recouped, saying “the FHFL Financial regulations did not spell out how to recoup funds from home investments.”
Babatunde Fashola was a governor of Lagos State between 2007 and 2015.
During his tenure, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, transformed Lagos State to the admirations of global stakeholders.
So impressive were Fashola’s performances that public affairs analysts still view his legacies as the oxygen that propelled the growth and acceptability of then Action Congress, AC to national embrace.