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April 22, 2024
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A building at Gowon Estate, Egbeda, Lagos

Homeownership: Lagos residents seek more accessible NHF

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By Lydia Ngwakwe

Some Lagos residents have appealed to the Federal Government to make the National Housing Fund (NHF)  more accessible and smoother to help people achieve homeownership

The residents disclosed this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos, while reacting to the rising price of cement in the country.

They said in spite of the agreement between the Federal Government and manufacturers to sell a bag of 50kg cement at a retail price between N7,000 and N8,000, cement was still sold at exorbitant rates.

They noted that the inflated price of cement had made it hard for them to build or renovate their homes.

They, however, called on the government to streamline the NHF to allow for a hassle-free experience.

Mr Obot Akpanim, a federal civil servant, who did not want to disclose the name of his ministry, said, “Sometimes, I feel the government creates rules and programmes that make it hard for the poor people to improve their situation.

“I have applied severally for the NHF mortgage since 2022, as we speak, I’m not able to access it due to its complex application process.

“At my age (55years), I am still not able to build a room for myself. Now, look at what the price of cement is talking.’’

Mrs Felicitas Igbodo, a business owner, urged the government to further bring down the NHF mortgage rates so as to allow low income earners benefit from the scheme.

Igbodo also enjoined the government to come up with other initiatives that would make homeownership more accessible for the people.

According to her, the government can help low-income earners understand budgeting, saving, and responsible homeownership practices.

Mr Paul Ibeano, a former employee of the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), urged the government to address the issue of limited availability of funds in the scheme.

“Once this is addressed, a good number of Nigerians will own a home of their own.

“I am a beneficiary of that scheme, though it took me a very long time to achieve it due to high demand and limitations on the amount of funds available.

“This made me wait a longer time before I got this two-bedroom apartment that I am living with my family today in FESTAC Town.

“Though looking rough, this is because the price of cement made it so. You can see that I’m placing plywood on the floor of my balcony because of the holes.

“You can also see the crack on my wall on my balcony, due to the high price, I’m not able to renovate the dwarf wall and the floor,’’ he said.

Mrs Chijindu Okoye, a civil servant, called on the government to embrace policies that would tackle inflation in the country.

Okoye also urged government to make the environment more friendly for businesses to thrive.

Meanwhile, a check by NAN revealed that the retailers around Ikotun, Idimu and Egbeda axis of Lagos, were still not following the agreed-upon price range.

They still sold at a high rate such as N10, 000 to N14, 000 per 50kg bag in these areas, depending on the brand.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

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