As part of plans to provide accommodation that is affordable to its citizenry, Cross River State government has signed into law an act making houses available for the low-income earners.
The Social Housing Law, which is expected to make housing for the vulnerable a right, emanated as a result of what Governor Ben Ayade described as a law that carries emotional significance to him, considering the fact that he has strong feelings and sympathy for the poor.
According to the governor, as indicated in reports, he said, “The most emotional bill to me is the Social Housing Law which seeks to provide housing for the poorest of the poor in the state. Various researches have linked corruption in civil service to housing.
“It has also been proven that given the salaries of average civil servants, if they don’t originate memos that give them extra money, if they don’t compromise, there is no civil servant in Nigeria that will be able to build a house.
“So by virtue of our salary structure, you have already created catalysis for corruption to thrive,” he said.
The governor further described the bill as a legal stimulus introduced to put a drive on the housing structure of Cross River State.
“By this bill, housing in Cross River State is now a right to the citizenry, it may not be justifiable at this point in time but we have created a legal stimulus to drive the structure that we can achieve housing for everybody and in the process, stamp out all mud and thatch houses in Cross River State,” he explained.
Lately, it was confirmed in the Irish Times that “Galway Company is in talks with a regional government in Nigeria to establish a factory there and build up to 5,000 modular homes for a social housing project.
“Some of the houses are being proposed for a new ‘city dubbed ‘Calas Vegas’ by local officials, adjacent to the existing state capital of Calabar.”
It was also confirmed that the houses would be designed off-site and each of them erected in less than a week.
Desmond Cullinane, chairman of Affordable Building Concepts International in Oranmore, corroborated this, adding that the company is in discussions with Cross River State government in relation to the proposed project, even though nothing has been concluded at this stage.
He included that they “came to see what we had to offer and they liked it. It would be a major investment, but nothing is decided yet.”
The report further said Ayade announced locally that the modular homes would be constructed according to three different grades.
Ayade later stressed that they would be manufactured at a factory set up by Affordable Building Concepts, and erected to house poor residents in less than three days.
“The venture’s website says it has developed a patented foam cement panel it uses to build walls in its quick building method and a note from Mr. Cullinane says it can erect a house in “less than five days” using the method (and) the company currently has an annual production capacity of up to 15,000 houses.
“The houses are built in sections, with doors and windows in place within each section before it is erected,” he disclosed.
Meanwhile, report also has it that a measure was taken, one that was aimed at generating revenue to the state from its abundant water resources despite being pronounced a non-littoral state by the Supreme Court following the loss of Bakassi Peninsula, the governor signed the Water Landing and Fee Charges Bill into law.
He explained: “When the Supreme Court ruling said that Cross River State is hemmed in, and by implication we ceased to be a littoral state, we are today demonstrating with a simple law that the ruling was wrong because the implication of that ruling is that whatever waterways that exist within the confines of the state is internal and therefore cannot be covered under the Inland Waterways of Nigeria.
“So we have the right to regulate it. We are going to place a maximum figure on any vessel coming into Cross River waterways. So when it becomes an affront to the federal government they will revisit the ruling.”
Other laws signed into law by the governor include Infrastructure Safety and Regulatory Law, Water Front Management and Development Law, Corporate Social Responsibility Agency Law and Tax Exemption Law for low income earners.
It was published that speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon John Gaul Lebo who described the legislature as the incubator of leadership, said the bills were thought of to help the government better the lot of Cross Riverians.
He said it was quite impressive that in just three months the House is able to turn in10 bills in three months, adding that the development was an indication that the vision of the Governor is so clear that the House was able to translate it into laws. He promised the collaboration of the legislature with the executive to ensure that the PDP- led government in the state succeeds.

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