By Usman Peter
Minister, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has pledged to partner with the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, OHCSF, to improve the welfare of civil servants in the FCT.
Malam Bello made the pledge when he received Dr. Folasade Yemi Esan, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation on a courtesy visit to the FCT Administration.
The Minister who stressed the need for the provision of affordable houses for civil servants, said more partnership is needed among government agencies to provide high rise buildings in the face of inadequate land to carter for the teeming number of civil servants in the FCT in need of personal accommodation.
He said “What we have also observed is that the concept of building that hitherto was done here in Abuja may be 20 or 25 years ago, even for the affordable housing, is no longer sustainable in the sense that land is simply not available in the areas that are accessible by all the means of transportation and more importantly, where there is infrastructure.
“What I’m saying is that in applying the concept of affordable housing, we should now start thinking of high rise buildings. I recall in Lagos that civil servants had high rise buildings in Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Surulere. This is the concept we now have to start looking at because massive land are simply no longer available and you will be surprised with what you can do with half a hectare”
Malam Bello also said that with a strong collaboration, a robust high capacity bus system could be worked out to meet the transportation needs of civil servants. This, he said, will greatly ease the hardship faced by civil servants in transporting themselves to and from work.
Earlier, the head of the civil service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi Esan had solicited the assistance of the FCTA to improve the welfare of civil servants across the country, especially in the areas of affordable housing and transportation.
Esan said that it was worrisome that many civil servants cannot afford to own their own homes and hence the Federal Government introduced the FISH (Federal Integrated Staff Housing) scheme which was designed to enable civil servants own houses at affordable rates.
She disclosed that over 50,000 civil servants had signed up for the scheme and requested that the FCT Administration expedite action on the provision of land for the programme.
Accompanying the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation was the Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office in the Office of the Head of Civil Service, Dr. Evelyn Ngige and other senior members of staff.