The subscribers of the FGN/NLC/TUC Housing Scheme have called on the Federal Government to intervene and find solution to the long standing issue of non delivery of houses they subscribed to under the scheme.
The Secretary of the group, Mr Peter Olayinka, represented by Mr Abasi-ubong Attah, made this call at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
Olayinka said that in 2014, the Federal Government represented by the Federal Capital Territory Authority and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC/ and Trade Unions Congress (TUC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a property developer, Good Homes Development Company Limited to deliver 1,000 units of houses to Nigerian workers within one year.
The project, located at Apo-Tafyi District after the Mechanic village, Apo Abuja-FCT was inaugurated on Dec. 18, 2014 by the then President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
According to him, sequel to the launch, the property developer in collaboration with the NLC and TUC sensitised Nigerian workers to subscribe to the scheme.
On the strength of the involvement of both labour unions, hundreds of Nigerian workers subscribed to the scheme by making up-front payment in various sums ranging from 10 per cent to 100 per cent.
Olayinka said that as at the last count , stakeholders had identified a total of 160 subscribers who made an investment of N400,034,000 on the project since 2013/2014.
“The monies were paid into a bank account owned and operated by Good Homes Development Company Limited.Nigerian workers who subscribed to the scheme were expected to take mortgage loans from Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).
“And, other mortgage institutions to offset the full payment of the housing unit while the repayment of the mortgage is deducted from the worker’s salary. According to the plan the company was supposed to deliver the first phase by December 2015.
“The subscribers waited patiently for their houses for over five years between 2013 and 2019 while the developer kept using all kinds of tricks to delay the project, ” he alleged.
He added that the group led by its executive members had engaged the NLC/TUC Leadership as well as the Minister of the FCT with the objective of finding an amiable solution to the problem.
He further said that several letters had been written to FMBN, Office of the Secretary to the Government (SGF) and Public Complaints Commission.
“Between 2018 and 2019, FCT minister represented by the permanent secretary, held two meetings with the stakeholders, the NLC/TUC Leadership and Management of Good Homes Development Company Limited, however there has been no solution yet.
“The last feedback we got from the FCTA was that the matter would be handled by an arbitration panel to be appointed by Government. After that pronouncement was made in 2021 nothing else was heard by the stakeholders.
“This body of stakeholders have sufficient evidence to show that the Good Homes Limited had started to sell part of the land under contention to other unsuspecting members of the public,” he said.
He therefore, urged government to intervene and ensure that the workers get their houses which they had paid for through mortgage.
While fielding questions,, on the way forward, Attah called on government to intervene and find a resolution to this issue.
“Violence has never been a solution to any problem, we still hope that we can continue mediating calling on the good conscience of the government of Nigeria to intervene on this issue.
“Of course we are hoping that the labour unions will step up to their responsibility being that they laid credence to this mass housing scheme and intervene in this matter together with the developer.
“We are still going to advocate peaceful resolution of this issue.
“And, we also want this breach of contract by the Good Homes Company Limited to be looked into by the Government of Nigeria, this way subscribers, workers of the government will not have their money wasted after so many years,” he said.
NAN recalled that the group had a peaceful protest on January 18, 2023 at the FCT Ministers residence and later NLC Headquarters which turned sour.