Magnus Eze, Enugu
History was made at Emene Industrial Layout, in the Coal City of Enugu state last week, as the foundation stone-laying and ground breaking for the construction of the multimillion Solar City Estate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Staff Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society were jointly performed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The duo performed the landmark function through their representatives; Enugu State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Greg Nnaji and the CBN Branch Controller for Enugu, Chief Chiedozie Okonjo and was witnessed by members of the Executive Management Board of the cooperative and other dignitaries.
Apart from the CBN cooperative group and the developer’s team, other stakeholders that graced the ground breaking ceremony were representatives of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), custodian of the National Housing Fund, Access Bank Plc; the project funders, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Shell Cooperative, Zenith Bank Plc, MTN Nigeria and several other interested parties.
Speaking through his representative, Governor Ugwuanyi said that the project and many others springing up in the state were a clear testimony of the friendly investment environment put in place by his administration, adding that the state has become preferred destination for corporate and multilateral investors. He pledged the readiness of his administration to ensure that every bureaucratic bottleneck that would affect speedy completion, commissioning and handing over of the homes as conceived under the housing project were cleared.
Also speaking, the CBN Governor applauded praised the cooperative society for coming up with such a gigantic project, and pledged the support of the apex bank.
He announced that the co-operative as an independent body has the support and encouragement of the management of the CBN to undertake the project that will enhance the welfare of the staff.
In his address of welcome, President of the Society, Isah Buhari disclosed that Enugu is the first destination in the rollout of estate projects which the cooperative will undertake across the country; while vowing to tackle the housing needs of workers of the apex bank. He said that their mission was to ensure that all workers of the bankers’ bank irrespective of their financial standing owned houses. Daily Sun gathered that the houses when completed would be accessed by their workers at affordable cost with flexible payment plans in line with the federal government’s initiatives of bridging the housing gaps in the country. Buhari also said the estate occupying over 14 hectares of land will comprise of 3-bed- room detached and semi-detached bungalows, 4-bedroom detached and semi-detached duplexes, 5-bedroom detached duplexes and few custom design houses.
Each of the structures, he said will be installed with solar/inverter power system, adding that all the basic facilities including tarred roads, street lighting, water reticulation system and electricity will be provided.
According to him, the estate on completion, would have shared facilities like playground, park, club house, shopping mall, multi-use block, crèche, security services, maintenance facilities and waste disposal facilities.
Also, Mr. Uche Uche of Geometrix Homes and Estate Nigeria Ltd, the estate developers said the project has a completion period of 18 months, with the sites and services to be completed within six months, and pledged to deliver on schedule. He said housing fund from the FMBN will be used to fund the project as beneficiaries would use the opportunity to access their funds from the bank.
Harping on the facilities expected in the estate, the developer said that the solar solutions to be deployed will be a hybrid of both stand-alone and integrated mini-grid power architecture within the estate.
Uche said the estate will help develop and beautify the state capital, adding that the concept of solar powered estate was coming to the state for the first time and hoped that it will usher in a new era of eco-friendly and sustainable dwelling concepts within the state.
Many see the location of the estate as a choice area given its nearness to the Akanu Ibiam International Airport; and the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway.