I never promised Lagos residents low-cost housing, Fashola says

Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola

“Some people have criticised us that homes under our mortgage scheme are not low-cost, but these people cannot point to one place where our government promised to build low cost houses”.

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Wednesday said he did not at anytime promise to provide low-cost housing for residents in the state.

Mr. Fashola spoke in Ikeja, the state capital, at the monthly draw for the allocation of homes to residents under the state Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS) which produced another 76 beneficiaries.

He said that criticisms that homes, under the state’s mortgage scheme were not low-cost, were unfair, adding they aimed at discrediting the good intentions of the state government.

The governor said that his administration had always promised the provision of affordable housing for which home-seekers could pay conveniently over a period of time.

“Some people have criticised us that homes under our mortgage scheme are not low-cost, but these people cannot point to one place where our government promised to build low-cost houses.

“We did not promise low-cost housing. What we promised was affordable housing and people should not accuse us of not doing what we did not promise.

“I have always reiterated since I was campaigning as a governorship candidate in 2007 that my commitment to the people of Lagos is affordable housing and that is what we are delivering, ’’he said.

Mr. Fashola said that he could not have promised low-cost housing when there was no low-cost land, no low–cost labour and building materials and when the exchange rate of our currency to others was high.

The governor said that he was glad that he was fulfilling his promise of providing affordable housing through the delivery of homes to residents in the state.

“These could be accessed by them and they could conveniently pay for them within a minimum of 10 years.

“The homes are affordable because there are one, two, three-bedroom designed to fit different income brackets.

“They are affordable because residents can easily access them and they can pay for them conveniently, ’’he said.

According to him, the state`s mortgage scheme is already a success story as 200 homes in estates across the state are allocated monthly to successful applicants.

Mr. Fashola urged the beneficiaries to help strengthen the scheme by fulfilling their obligations to the mortgage.

He pointed out that it was when they serviced their mortgage as required that the government would be able to mobilise more resources to expand the scheme and provide access to more residents.

The governor said the state mortgage board would retrieve the homes from defaulters and refund their contributions.

Mr. Fashola said his administration was resolutely committed to the sustainability of the mortgage scheme, explaining that he had put in place structures to ensure continuity of the programme.

“This scheme has been designed to outlive me and continue for a long time.

“To achieve that, I have created a board that will be processing applications and ensure delivery of homes to successful applicants.

“I don’t have a hand it. It is not about me ’’he said.

Seventy-six beneficiaries of homes, comprising two and three- bedroom apartments across different estates, emerged at the end of the draw.

The estates in which homes are allocated are Sir Michael Otedola Estate in Epe, Olaitan Mustapha Estate in Ijaiye, Adetoun Mustapha Estate in Ijaiye, Shogunro Estate in Ogba and Choice Estate in Lekki.

Oluwatoyin Lawal, one of the beneficiaries, commended the state government for conceiving the initiative, saying the scheme would tackle the problem of accommodation in the state.

Mrs. Lawal, who shed tears when her name was announced as a beneficiary, said she had had ugly experience with land grabbers in her efforts to own a home.

She said her new home was a dream come true.

(NAN)


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