The Federal Government and the Lagos State Government have resolved to address the degeneration of infrastructure in Festac Town – a federal housing estate situated in Amuwo-Odofin area of the state.
The resolution followed a meeting held on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 between Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Sen Gbenga Ashafa, at Lagos House, Ikeja.
Sanwo-Olu said the state government took land administration and property development as critical.
He said that his administration’s urban renewal project was being implemented with the objective of opening up remote communities for healthy living and investment drive.
The governor described the development crisis in Festac Town as “unpleasant”, saying that the population growth and influx of people led to the degeneration of the neighbourhood.
He also said that the failure of oversight on activities of property developers in Festac Town distorted the original master plan of the area.
“Festac Town as it is today is not what it looked like from 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 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,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He said that once the federal government was ready, Lagos State would cooperate fully and work through its Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development on agreed plan.
The governor said that the government was ready to give waiver on statutory issues that might aid the progress of the move.
According to him, Lagos is not the owner of the estate, but has a sense of duty to prevent the depreciation of the asset on that corridor.
Sanwo-Olu also said that the state government would collaborate with FHA in the area of technology transfer.
He said this would raise the capability of creating electronic solution that would further ease allocation of property, land administration and approval of survey plan.
The governor said that the state would be willing to work with the federal housing agency on estate property development in the Lagos East and West senatorial districts.
Sanwo-Olu praised President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister for Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, for the choice of Sen. Ashafa as the head of the federal housing agency.
He noted that Ashafa’s tenure as Executive Secretary on Land Matters in Lagos boosted the value of land and property in the state.
“We want you to succeed in this new assignment you have taken up, because we believe that you have vast knowledge in land administration matters.
“Development is critical to us in Lagos, and we will be willing to cooperate with you for more development.
“We are convinced that your tenure will bring about solution to challenges the nation faces in land administration,” he said.
Ashafa led top officials of FHA – a department in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing – on a courtesy visit to the governor.
FHA’s Executive Director for Business Development, Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin, was among those on the team.
The FHA team presented four partnership requests to the Lagos government, which include knowledge sharing and technology transfer, cooperation on infrastructure delivery and quick resolution of development crisis in Festac Town.
Ashafa, a former Senator representing Lagos East, said that FHA was ready to resolve all lingering crises delaying the re-modelling and regeneration of Festac Town.
He expressed confidence that the mid-way approach adopted by the agency would yield positive outcome for both governments and residents of the estate.
Ashafa described his meeting with the governor as “productive and fruitful”, adding that the discussion be taken further.
“All the four issues we presented were taken in by the governor positively.
“With some of the relevant cabinet members in attendance at the meeting, we will be engaging in further discussions on how to go about our plan for urban regeneration in Lagos,” he said.