From Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
The Staff Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (SMCSL) of the Federal University of Wukari commenced on Sunday the construction of a one hundred unit housing estate for staff of the university to address housing deficit in the school.
President of the Cooperative Society Dr Akpa Paul Hassan, in his welcome address at the groundbreaking ceremony in Wukari, said that the project is an initiative of the cooperative in line with its drive to make the working environment more conducive for university staff.
Hassan said that as president of the cooperative he was concerned about the rate in which members were seeking loans to pay house rent and complaints about harassment from their landlordsand; so he decided to take the bold step to ensure that as many staff as possible own their own homes instead under a more affordable payment arrangement.
He disclosed that the project, n collaboration with Archtech Property Investment Limited, with funding from the Federal Mortgage Bank, and counterpart funding from the cooperative, will consist of two and three room detached bungalows.
‘I am highly elated today that we are here to perform the ground-breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of this noble project which is the construction of one hundred unit housing estate for staff of this great institution. One may ask why we are embarking on such a gigantic project at this time. First of all, you may wish to know that Federal University Wukari is not sited at the state headquarters and, as it is typical of most satellite towns, there is acute deficit of decent housing for our workers. The few ones that are there, workers have been harassed severally once they delay in payments. And so we feel that, though it is a difficult task, it is better that we take up the challenge of providing decent homes for our workers and members of this cooperative through an arrangement that would not put so much financial pressure on them,’ Hassan explained.
‘This is a challenging task, but we can not afford to stay aloof because it is a daunting task. The tough times call for tougher decisions from tough people. The importance of a home to a man cannot be overemphasised as shelter is one of the basic human needs. Personally, this is a dream come true.’
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Jude Rebo, commending the initiative of the cooperative, noted that ‘we have a lot of housing deficit in the university and even this project may still not address 20 per cent of the housing deficit. I know that Archtech is a very serious company. I am confident that this is just the beginning of more of such projects in this university. Let us pray that this project is successfully completed. I encourage the cooperative to maintain the tempo of development that they are bringing to the school,’ he said.
The Aku Uka of Wukari and Chairman, Taraba State Traditional Council, HRM, Dr Shekarau Angyu Masa Ibi, CON Kuvyo ll, who performed the ground-breaking, assured that as the host community will do everything within their powers to ensure the security of the property.
His representative noted that the university has attracted a lot of development to the area and called on all natives of state to key into the initiative to enable the cooperative to do even more for the university and the host community.
The Managing Director of Archtech Property Investment Limited, Mr Adeolu Adewale, gave the assurance that ‘the company would deliver quality homes with good finishing materials, upscale sanitary fittings, good road network, a gatehouse, drainage and central borehole within the next twenty four months,’ to the delight of the guests.
In March, cooperative launched a campus shuttle system to address the challenges of campus transportation, following complaints by students and workers without a reliable means of mobility and a mass transit to serve the community.