The Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Alhaji Gimba Ya’u Kumo, said last week that some 68 million Nigerians were improperly housed. Ya’u Kumo stated this in Abuja at a civil society interface organised by Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch in Nigeria (ILEWN), a civil society organisation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was organised to educate and enlighten Nigerians on the mandate of FMBN. Nigeria has about 17million to 20 million housing deficit. I think that figure was taken from World Bank, World Habitat Report of 2007. “If you go by this number and multiply it with at least four persons in a house, let’s say the father, the mother and two of their children, you will have a statistics of about 68 million people who are either improperly housed or don’t have at all.”

According to Ya’u Kumo, some of the causes of this housing deficit include refusal of financial institutions, insurance companies and some agencies of government to contribute to the National Housing Fund (NHF). Ya’u Kumo said that for the country to overcome this situation and move forward, highly placed private individuals must come into partnership with the government for a lasting solution.

He, however, said that the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) had committed itself to ensuring that all insurance companies comply with the provision of the NHF Act.

He said that the NHF Act mandates a person, especially the civil servant, to remit some percentage of his/her income to the National Housing Fund as part of life and non-life insurance. Ya’u Kumo said that when the NHF Act was founded 23 years ago, the funding windows were divided into four collections where individuals make their contribution to housing development. The managing director restated that the nation would be in crisis, if all stakeholders did not work together to end homelessness in the country.

Mr Splendour Agbonkpolor, the National Coordinator of the NGO, said the essence of the meeting was to educate Nigerians so that everybody would know his or her duty and responsibility.

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