The Department is responsible for the provision of Housing and Urban Development and it is headed by a Director with a staff complement of 46. The Department is made up of two (2) Divisions.
(i) Housing Development; and
(ii) Urban Development.
Functions of the Department
The Department is saddled with the following functions:
(i) Prepares layout plans and architectural designs for housing and building development projects of the Ministry in the nines (9) states of the region
(ii) Supervises the implementation of housing and building development projects
(iii) Initiates, prepares, and review material specifications, material schedules and bills of quantities on building materials.
(iv) Initiates, prepares, review and implement policy; programmes and projects for urban renewal/slum upgrading in the nines (9) states of the region;
(v) Provides a platform for the integration of all physical development plan in the region into one holistic region wide plan on a digital scale and coordinate, monitor and review the implementation of the Niger Delta Action Plan;
(vi) Researches into housing and urban development challenges including local building materials.
(vii) Evaluation of regional development for the development of new town to address regional imbalance.
(viii) Develops policies and programmes to encourage and facilitate greater participation of Public Private Partnership in the delivery of housing and urban development projects; and
(ix) Superintend land acquisition, compensation and resettlement of displaced people for development projects of the Ministry in liaison with the Federal Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development.
Projects of the Department
Housing Scheme Projects
The Housing Schemes were embarked upon by the Ministry as part of the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government with the aim of providing a unique model of community built environment that is cost effective with locally available building materials. Development of Infrastructure for the Housing Schemes To make the Housing Schemes habitable and conducive for living, the Ministry included in the project package the construction of perimeter fencing/gate house and the provision of infrastructure.
Construction of Skills Acquisition Centres
The Contracts for the Construction of the Skills Acquisition Centres were awarded on the 15th of March, 2010 to Twenty-Seven (27) Contractors made up of Three (3) Lots per site in each of the Nine(9) States, i.e. Lot 1 – Building Works, Lot 2 – Civil Works and Lot 3 – Electrical/Mechanical Works at a total contract sum of N30,334,238,396.44 (Thirty Billion, Three Hundred and Thirty Four Million Two Hundred and Thirty Eight Thousand Three Hundred and Ninety-Six Naira, Forty-Four Kobo) only with a completion period of between Ten(10) to Twelve Months;
The level of work on all the ongoing Skills Acquisition Centres has attained a cumulative average of 65 % completion.
The Ministry had acquired land for its various projects with compensation fully paid except for the Skills Acquisition Centre, Delta State, where additional 3.75 Ha of land was acquired and the payment is being processed. It is also to be noted that land for New Town Development have been identified and approval for compensation granted by FMLHUD for the nine states and the payments still pending, though 5% consultancy fee due to consultants have been paid for selected states.
In order to support the capacity of the Department to deliver the projects design and supervision consultancy services were procured for the Housing Projects, Skills Acquisition and State offices projects in the Nine (9) States of the Niger Delta Region.
Commissioning of Projects
Despite the mounting challenges, of the Department, the housing scheme in Imo state consisting of 40 housing units, complimentary infrastructure, perimeter fence and gate house which have achieved practical completion was commissioned on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015 by the Honourable Minster Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs Dr. Steve O. Oru. Also four other housing scheme projects in Cross-Rivers, Edo, Delta & Ondo states are slated for commissioning soonest though they still require additional works. Allocation of Completed Houses A total of 250 units are now completed at the various sites as follows: Ikpiri Ikang New Bakassi, Cross Rivers State -30 units; Kurutie, Delta State-40 units; Upper Sakponba, Edo State- 36 units; Umuagwo, Imo State- 32 units; Igbekebo and Igbokoda, Ondo State- 32 units; Owazza Ukwa, Abia State- 20 units; Ikot Ekpene and Uyo, Akwa Ibom State-26 units; Odi, Bayelsa State - 24 units; and Kula Asari Toru, Rivers State - 10 units.
The Ministry has undertaken direct consultations with stakeholders on possible modalities for allocation of the completed units and has harmonized its proposal with that of the communities to avoid crisis after allocation. The modality proposed for the allocation of the housing units has been approved by the President. It took cognisance of key interest groups such as community members displaced by flood or security reasons, disadvantaged groups (especially widows, aged and disabled), youths and members of the community.
Skills Acquisition Centre (SAC)
The Skills Acquisition Centre (SAC) in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area; Bayelsa State developed to provide training in oil and gas for the youths. The development of the centre has achieved 85% practical completion. The Federal University Otuoke (FUO) applied to take over the SAC and this was approved by the President. The SAC Otuoke was handed over to the Federal University Otuoke (FUO) on Tuesday 12th May, 2015 on as is basis. All outstanding commitment to contractors and consultants on the project totaling N156, 516,511.92 (One Hundred and Fifty Six Million, Five Hundred and Sixteen Thousand, Five Hundred and Eleven Naira Ninety-Two Kobo) only was also handed over to the University for settlement.
Post Seventh World Urban Forum (WUF7)
Under the auspices of the Department, a rethink of the project portfolio and the policy approaches of the Ministry in respect of human settlement development have been undertaken. This was spurred by the outcomes of the participation of the Ministry at the Seventh World Urban Forum (WUF7) held in Medellin, Columbia, in April 2014. The report outlined the way forward. A copy of the Report is available on demand.
The major challenges of the Department are the following:
Security and protection of project assets on site:
Due to inadequate funding, projects have been stalled and the contractors are owed. This has affected the morale of contractors and many have deserted sites. The absence of contractors on sites has made the sites vulnerable to vandalism. The Ministry appointed a security firm to safeguard the sites. However, due to the lean finances of the Ministry, the contract which lapsed in March 2015 has been terminated. The security men on sites have been withdrawn and there are ominous threats of vandalism to the various site.