By Bankole Shakirudeen Adeshina
CONTRARY to an article earlier published in The Guardian Newspapers of February4, 2012, titled “Federal Housing Scheme Depositors Allege Fraud 18 Years After….”, the project implementing agent, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), has explained that the project was neither fraudulent nor a scam. The authority said the scheme could not achieve its primary objective because of faulty implementation and eventual suspension by the government.
The agency, in a rejoinder yesterday, said contrary to claims by depositors, who recently alleged being defrauded, a good number of those who met the standard conditions were allocated houses in the FHA/Diamond Estate, Isheri Olofin, Lagos, Lugbe Estate and Abuja, when the estates were completed.
It also stated that FHA, in spite of the hitches, proceeded with arrangements to refund moneies to depositors who indicated their willingness to withdraw from the programme, “which in any case had been suspended by the Federal Government.”
Specifically, FHA said from 2005 to date, it has made a total refund of about N334million to depositors who could substantiate their claims by presenting their original receipts of payment after confirmation of such deposits with the banks.
According to FHA, “Today, the authority has in its custody refund vouchers totaling N81.5 million sent to the South West Zonal Office in Lagos but whose owners have not come forward to claim them. In fact, In its determination to assist the very poor depositors, the authority at a point waived the requirement for bank confirmation of deposits not above N20,000.00 (Twenty Thousand Naira only).
“ Members of the Association of Federal Housing Depositors of Nigeria referred to in your report have refused to take advantage of the refund window to claim their deposits. Rather, they have insisted that houses must be built for them at the 1994 prices or nothing else. The Association took the matter to court and secured a favourable judgement. The Authority, in the belief that the judgement was not fair to it and in the due pursuit of its rights under the constitution, has appealed the judgement. It does not demonstrate respect for the rule of law for the association, having submitted itself to the process of the law, to now embark on another media campaign of calumny while the appeal is pending in court.
“Finally, it should be stressed that the National Housing Scheme is neither a scam nor a fraud as it was erroneously tagged in the report. Rather it is a people-oriented programme that suffered faulty implementation and was suspended by government.”
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