The Ogun State government has unveiled a Regeneration Programme aimed at the transformation of some dilapidated structures within the state’s Government Reservation Areas (GRA).
Tagged “Ogun State GRA Regeneration Programme”, the project is meant to create “Smart Cities” with the construction of modern housing units on over 100 hectares of land, valued at billions of Naira in Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Ota, amongst other areas.
The Regeneration Programme, according to the Commissioner for Housing, Jagunmolu Jamiu Akande Omoniyi, was the idea of the administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun to rebuild the GRAs, starting with Ibara.
Speaking to reporters after an inspection tour of the Ibara housing project, Omoniyi said the main objective of the regeneration plan was to restructure the concerned areas to make them environmentally friendly through through the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) scheme.
He noted that the scheme is parts of the present administration’s efforts to alter the rapidly degenerating environment by a deliberate adjustment of the existing city areas to meet the current and future needs of urban life.
It is also intended to replace the obsolete and dilapidated buildings that share the characteristics of slum areas with the general framework of an overall plan for modern city development, he added.
Apart from Ibara, the scheme will also be extended to Idi Aba (annex of the Government Technical College, which sits on about 7 hectares of land), also in the Abeokuta metropolis.
Omoniyi said: “We are here on the directive of the governor to kick-start the regeneration programme of Ibara GRA and the government housing units at Idi Aba, Abeokuta. We have gone around, and we saw that the occupants of these houses have heeded the vacation notice. Now, we are ready to commence the demolition of the old and dilapidated structures and begin planning to build smart cities within the Abeokuta metropolis. For clarification purposes, GRA Ibara does not belong to the civil and public servants in the state.
“At the inception of the creation of Ogun State in 1976, this location provided shelter for the civil servants of Ogun extraction who were coming back from the defunct Western Region. But, we realized that this prime location was being under utilized, that is why the incumbent administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun in the state summoned the political will to reinvent and redevelop this place to harness its potential for the benefit of the Ogun people, and to create values for the decaying assets of the state government.
“Numerically, the Idi Aba housing scheme is sitting on 7.5 hectares of land, while GRA Ibara is sitting on nothing less than 30 hectares of land. And we believe that as we move on with this project, we will discover some hidden or encroached portions of the land.
“Within Abeokuta alone, we are talking about 40 hectares of land to play with. There are similar schemes in Igbeba in Ijebu Ode, Ota, and Ilaro. For now, we are starting with Abeokuta. Then, we will move to other locations where we have the state government’s assets being wasted away.
“Meanwhile, Mr. Governor, out of his magnanimity and empathy, has directed me to prioritize the requests of the civil servants in the allocation of houses in this regeneration programme. Don’t forget that some of them have benefitted from other housing schemes such as Kobape, Kemta, Ilaro, and so on, that this present government has done.
“For those who missed out on those ones, I have the directive of the governor to absorb them immediately in this new scheme. We have a wide range of opportunities such as rent-to-own; outright purchase and mortgage through Gateway Mortgage Bank.
“The practice before now was for civil servants to live here and get evacuated after retirement. But, this new scheme will allow for mortgages and the houses can be paid for while still in service. What we are going to do here, which is a common patrimony of the Ogun State people, will cut across all the cadres of income level.
“We will accommodate everyone – commercial, residential, and institutional. We are creating smart cities where people will live, work and play. We are creating a total ecosystem to ensure that everything you need to make a decent living is found inside of our GRA.”
According to the Commissioner, the urban regeneration scheme is expected to have between 4 and 5 bedrooms of different sizes which are to be complemented with world-class infrastructural facilities.
The Ibara scheme, he said, is to be redeveloped into 500 housing units, while Idi-Aba is to have 100 units.
Omoniyi, accompanied on the visit by the Head of Service (HoS), Mr Peter Kolawole Fagbohun, and the General Manager, Ogun State Housing Corporation, Mr Wale Ojo, noted that on the directive of the governor, civil servants at different income levels are be considered in the new scheme.
He noted that a wide range of opportunities such as rent-to-own, outright purchase, and mortgage have been put in place to make public servants benefit from the new scheme.
He noted that the programme would focus on local content by engaging artisans, suppliers and developers within the state, just as it did with Kobape Housing Scheme, Kemta Housing Scheme, Prince Court Estate and other similar housing projects, with about 20,000 direct and indirect jobs expected to be created.