The Federal Government and Lagos State Government have resolved to collaborate to address the degeneration of infrastructure in Festac Town, a federal housing estate situated in Amuwo-Odofin area of the State.
They had promised to address the challenge of excessive property development and lack of facility in the housing estate.
This resolution was the outcome of a meeting between the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Senator Gbenga Ashafa, on Wednesday.
This signals an end to the lingering disagreement between Lagos State and the Federal Government over the matter.
Ashafa, who led top officials of FHA including its Executive Director for Business Development, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, on the courtesy visit to the governor, presented 4 partnership requests to the Lagos State Government, which include knowledge sharing and technology transfer, cooperation on infrastructure delivery, and quick resolution of development crisis in Festac Town.
Sanwo-Olu described the development crisis in Festac Town as unpleasant, pointing out that the population growth and influx of people led to the degeneration of the neighbourhood. He also said the failure of oversight on activities of property developers in Festac Town distorted the original master plan of the area.
He said, “Festac Town as it is today is not what it looked like from the 1970s to 1990s, given the degeneration of infrastructure and the unpleasant development observed in the community. The original master plan did not consider population growth, which reflected in the calibre of allottees that got the property then. As a result of the lack of monitoring and enforcement, people took advantage of this weakness to build indiscriminately on every available space.
“I think we can still correct this irregularity and regenerate the entire area for healthy living and business, now that the Federal Housing Authority is headed by a highly knowledgeable indigene of Lagos. Once the Federal Government is ready, Lagos State will cooperate fully and work through our Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development on the agreed plan. We are ready to give a waiver on statutory issues that may aid the progress of this move. Lagos is not the owner of the estate but we have a sense of duty to prevent the depreciation of the asset on that corridor.”
The Governor also conceded to FHA’s request to collaborate in the area of technology transfer, pledging to work with the federal housing agency to raise its capability by creating an electronic solution that would further ease allocation of property, land administration and approval of survey plan.
Sanwo-Olu expressed his appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister for Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, for the choice of Sen. Ashafa as the Managing Director of the federal housing agency, noting that the FHA boss’s tenure as Executive Secretary on Land Matters in Lagos boosted the value of land and property in the State.
Ashafa, on his part, said FHA was ready to resolve all lingering crises delaying the re-modelling and regeneration of Festac Town, expressing confidence that the mid-way approach adopted by the agency would yield a positive outcome for both the Government and residents of the estate.
He described his meeting with the Governor as productive and fruitful, pledging to take the discussion further. He also acknowledged that all the 4 issues they presented were taken in by the Governor positively.