The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola says the Federal Government has no plan to sell off unoccupied houses, especially those in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
There were reports last week that the government was about to sell off the posh houses scattered across the city which have remained unoccupied for a long time.
A statement the Ministry’s Director, Press and Public Relations, Boade Akinola on Tuesday said Fashola stated this while receiving the Fellowship Award of the Nigerian Institute of Building in Abuja.
The Minister used the occasion to debunk the reports that Federal Government was planning to sell unoccupied houses.
He explained that what the government was saying was to encourage big house owners to break them to small units so that people can rent or buy them and start to make income from such houses.
He therefore charged builders to build what people can use, instead of building big houses only to be left unused.
“Build to the sensitivity of the young generation by building small houses”, he added.
He also urged builders in Nigeria to deploy knowledge and value in building projects, pointing out that it was the combination of both that give value to building.
According to him, “We need to build on our knowledge and value. It is these that give meaning to the bricks and mold we use. If we build without knowledge, it will not last”.
Fashola thanked the Institute for the conferment of the award on behalf of the Ministry, saying that it was recognition of hard work and team spirit.
“On my own, I will do my best to live up to the responsibility of encouraging the building of affordable houses”, he stated.
Earlier, the National President of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Builder Kunle Awobodu said explained that the conferment of the prestigious honorary fellowship of the institute “is the highest recognition to be bestowed on an individual solely based on performance evaluation of which Fashola is a beneficiary”.
He said that construction of buildings is a barometer of a thriving economy, adding that what distinguishes a city from a town, and a town from a village is the number and quality of buildings.
He stated that “any nation bereft of building codes is vulnerable to inappropriate building construction”.
He therefore called on manufacturers of building materials, artisans and professionals that the culture of doing it right must be embraced.
He enjoined the Minister not to relent in his efforts to ensure the use of Nigeria’s building code to guide building construction in Nigeria.