By Stephen Adeleye
Lokoja – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), Kogi Chapters, have urged the Gov. Yahaya Bello led administration to subsidise the costs of houses for workers in the state by 50 per cent .
The state’s NLC and TUC Chairmen, Onuh Edoka and Tijani Ahmed, made the call in separate interviews with newsmen in Lokoja on Monday.
The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in collaboration with NLC/TUC/NECA had on Jan. 26, inaugurated 100 housing units estate for civil servants in the state.
Edoka, who was represented by his Vice, Comrade Opaluwa Eleojo, also urged the governor to take advantage of FMBN’s various housing schemes for the benefit of the state workers.
“If you look round and going by the history of Kogi since its creation, successive administrations have provided housing estate for state workers.
“But for seven years running now, this administration has not been able to provide housing for state’s workers.
“So, the organised labour unions want the state government to cash in on this opportunity to acquire the FMBN housing scheme and give it to workers.
“The estate should be named after him as ‘Yahaya Bello Housing Estate’ or ‘Yahaya Bello Workers Village’ in Kogi.
“The government should acquire the housing estate and allocate it to the interested civil servants in the state,” he said.
According to him, the FMBN is meant to provide housing for Nigerian workers, and it is the workers’ contribution that had made the bank to be what it is today.
“So, we don’t expect anything less than 100 per cent of the occupants of this FMBN/NKC/TUC/NECA housing estate to be workers; that is our position,” he said.
The unions also advised that if the state government could not build housing estate for workers as proposed, it should subsidise the price of the FMBN Housing estate for the workers.
He explained that one bedroom flat in the newly inaugurated housing estate was as high as over N5 million, saying it was significantly out of the reach of an average worker in the state.
“So, we are expecting the state government to subsidise housing estate at least by 50 per cent, as government’s contribution to the workers’ housing need in the state.
“The workers will pay the remaining 50 per cent,” he said.
On his part, the state TUC boss also appealed to the state government to build estate for workers, saying it would go a long way to help them acquire affordable housing.
Ahmed further stressed the need for the governor to partner with the FMBN to build housing estate which would be named after him as part of his legacy projects in the state.
He urged the government to subsidised the newly commissioned FMBN/NLC/TUC/NECA housing estate for the workers.
“This is the message of the labour unions to the state government which includes NLC and TUC,” he said.
NAN reports that the inaugurated housing estate comprises 20 units of one-bedroom, 40 units of two-bedroom and 40 units three-bedroom semi-detached bungalows. (NAN/vitalnewsngr.com)