Ashafa promises to restore FESTAC town’s glory


By Grace Alegba
Lagos, Sept. 10, 2020 The Managing Director/Chief Executive, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, on Thursday promised to restore sanity in 43-year-old FESTAC Town, Lagos, where the master plan had been distorted.

Ashafa, during a tour of the FESTAC Town, said that the settlement originally designated for 200,000 houses was overstretched, with it currently having close to 700,000 housing units.

“When this estate was planned, it was planned for 200,000 units. When you have 200,000 units of houses in an estate, it is humongous.

“People from all over the world, not even only Africa, came, they lived here and enjoyed the upper class services then.

“The explosion that happened from that 200,000 went to almost 600,000. If we look at the records now, I am sure it will be nearing about 700,000 units.

“The green areas have been built up, there are mechanics all over the place. No control whatsoever in terms of traffic; FESTAC that used to adhere strictly to the traffic laws, nobody needed to tell you when FESTAC was FESTAC. There were signs everywhere.

“FHA is going to start with doing something,” he said.

Aahafa said that high level of encroachment and illegal construction was continuing, even in some parts of the town under litigation.

“It was so heart rending to see the FESTAC that we were all proud of decades back in this degraded condition and I think no particular group should be blamed.

“All of us should be blamed for this dilapidation.

“So revealing is the fact that the encroachment and illegal structures are springing up by the day without adequate enforcement.

“So, first and foremost, the partnership which was secured yesterday with the governor of Lagos State would go a long way in assisting this community.

”It is all about community and not the revenue acruable to the government this time around,” he said.

He said that illegal construction had continued unabated in the second phase of FESTAC town in spite of litigation between the various interests groups.

Ashafa said that the FHA was going to take drastic measures to salvage the situation.

“All in all, it has been a revealing, intriguing and, heart-rending inspection but I am leaving this place with the fact that we are coming back again.

“Our eyes are going to be on FESTAC and it is going to be on the priority list of the tripartite agreement between the government at the Federal, state and the FHA, and of course not leaving out the people,” he said.

Ashafa said that the FHA was shopping for investors to revive the FHA Sports field.

He promised that other FHA estates in Lagos in bad condition were going to receive attention in due course, saying they were not abandoned.

The managing director said that the FHA staff had earlier in a meeting pledged total commitment to urban regeneration and renewal in line with the vision of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Ashafa, a former Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau in Lagos, at an earlier meeting with FHA Lagos staff, promised improved workers welfare, while soliciting thier support.

“Let us leave a legacy, let us be transparent,” he told the workers.

He appealed for transparency and accountability deviod of compromise to improve the revenue drive of the agency.

Ashafa also promised to digitalise operations for efficient record keeping and accounting proceeds

“We have to deploy technology; let the improvement come, let us think of the possibilities all the time,” he said.

He said that the State Government had at a meeting on Wednesday promised to collaborate with the Federal Government in the renewal and regeneration of FESTAC.

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