By Ignatius Okorocha
Following the intervention of a member of House of Representatives, Hon Samuel Onuigbo (PDP Abia), for citing of a Federal Secretariat in Abia state ,Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has disclosed plans by the Federal government to begin construction of a Federal Secretariat Complex in Abia .
Onuigbo had at a joint committees of the Senate and House of Representatives on Housing on Thursday last week commended the minister for publicly acknowledging the provision of land by Abia government to authorities of the ministry for construction of the secretariat .
The lawmaker who represents Ikwuano, Umuahia North /South Federal Constituency of Abia in the ninth House of Representatives had in interview with The Authority at the weekend expressed optimism that the projects would soon be flagged-off by Works and Housing Ministry.
According to Onuigbo,Abia state Governor, Dr .Okezie Ikpeazu had directed the provision of seven hectares of land to the ministry for the building of a federal secretariat in the state.
Meanwhile, Fashola had at a budget defence session on Nov. 12 at the Senate and House of Representatives joint Committee on Housing acknowledged publicly that Abia government had provided Federal Government with land to build a federal secretariat complex in the state.
Speaking further on the project, the Minister said, “It had has come to our attention that two states, Abia and Ebonyi also has not been provided Federal Secretariat , and I think that Abia state has formally made a request to us and they have also provided Land as one of the requirements to build a secretariat.”
Onuigbo, said that given the provision of land, the construction of the secretariat would be a win-win situation for the state and the federal government.
“I just want to thank the Honorable Minister, for acknowledging the efforts made by Abia government in providing land for building of a federal secretariat and to use this opportunity to commend him.
“Because we had this conversation on Oct. 23, 2019, and between then and now in spite of the COVID pandemic , we have been able to work in a cordial, harmonious and productive way which has led to the provision of the land.
“Since the land had been made available, at least whatever amount that can be able to put aside.
“We can start from fencing the place to make sure that we are able to build the federal secretariat for Abia and reduce the associated cost by government agencies in Abia that are paying rents ,” he noted.”
According to him, he had asked the minister during a budget defence session , on Oct . 23 2019 why Abia do not have a federal secretariat, like other states after several years of creation.
He, however, said the minister had advised him to work with the State Governor to provide land saying that the ministry would build a federal secretariat in the state.
“Right from there, I wrote a letter on Oct .23 ,2019 and met with my Governor on Oct .25, 2019 informing him on the ministers promise, and my governor wrote the minster.
“The governor has now provided the land via the state’s ministry of land for the building of a federal secretariat.
“That gives me and indeed other Abians hope that the building of a federal secretariat in Abia state will be done as soon as the federal ministry of housing sets resources aside for that purpose and I commend him, because this is a swift action.’’
On reduction of housing deficit in Nigeria, he said government has to develop a clear policy designed to creating enabling environment for private sector to drive housing activities to reduce housing deficit in the country.
“I think government need to spend much more on housing, by privatizing the Federal Mortgage Bank, Privatize the Federal l Housing Authority for them to be actively involved in housing matters.“
On the quest for an Igbo presidency in 2003, Rep. Onuigbo said: “It is true that the Igbos are naturally and justifiably clamouring to be supported to produce the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and their clamour is justified .
“Because they have made more contributions to the development of Nigeria than any other tribe, because there is no part of this country that you go and you don’t find an Igbo man.
“The Igbos have being the main agent of unity, in this country, If after major ethnic tribe have had their turns in governing the country, it is not out of place for the Igbos to say this is our turn we need your support,” he noted.