MINISTERIAL PRESS BRIEFING BY THE HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER, MINISTRY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, HON. BARR. JOHN OTOKPA ONOJA ON THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF GOV. SAMUEL ORTOM IN THE MINISTRY.
It is with thanksgiving to the Almighty God that I am before you today on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Joseph Dankaro, the directors and staff of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to brief you on the activities of the Ministry in the past one year.
The revival of the accountability briefing is a welcome development and it is in line with the present administration’s emphasis on transparency.
Before I proceed to give you the details of the activities of the Ministry, which was established in July, 2011, it is proper that you first understand its structural arrangement with the team I am presently working with so as to appreciate better the working of the Ministry.
The structure of the Ministry
The Ministry has six directorates (departments) and presently has one parastatal.
The activities of these directorates are generally coordinated by the office of the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Joseph Dankaro who is the administrative head and also the accounting officer.
The directorates with their heads are given below:
- Administration and Supply – Kormi Hycinth
- Architectural Services – Igba Emmanuel
- Quantity Surveying Services – Surveyor Ikape Alfred
- Urban Development Control – TPL Stephen Adah
- Building Services – Cephas Suswan
- Finance and Account – Idoko Solomon
The Ministry presently has Benue State Urban Development Board as its parastatal with Agwa Richard Terwase as the General Manager.
The Ministry is mandated to, among other things:
- Initiate and implement new housing development projects within the state, resulting in availability of new and affordable housing units to the public and the growth of accruable revenue to the government from such housing investments.
- Take control, design and supervise all government building and housing projects in the state.
- Oversee the management, maintenance and refurbishment of all government buildings and housing projects within and outside the state.
- Design, evolve, implement and enforce compliance with Urban Development laws, policies and practices as they relate to all public and private buildings and structures in the state.
- Modernize and strengthen the Urban Development Board (UDB) for more effective intervention and enforcement of compliance with modern urban revenue policies.
DIRECTORATE OF ADMINISTRATION AND SUPPLY
This department renders support services to all the other departments in the Ministry by providing guidance and direction to ensure compliance with government policies, rules, and regulations and procedures. This department is seen as the life wire of the Ministry as it coordinates the activities of the other departments bringing them to function as one body.
The staff from this department are deployed from the office of the Head of Service and Bureau of Establishment and Management Services, the staff deployed are 14 in number.
During the period under review, the department has carried out the promotion of staff of the Benue State Urban Development Board and the department is currently processing the 2017 promotion.
DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES
The department is charged with the following:
- Conceptualization and design of new building projects and the preparation of schematic drawings for the renovation and upgrading of used building structures.
- Vetting and advising on / recommendation of design proposals from private consultants on government projects.
- Tender invitation, analysis and placement of building contacts.
- Supervision and certification of construction work by contractors.
- Design and supervision of projects, i.e acting as consultants for the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government.
The directorate currently has thirteen (13) staff:
- 10 number of architects
- Three number of technical staffers
DIRECTORATE OF QUANTITY SURVEYING
Quantity surveying are costs and procurement experts in the construction process.
The Directorate advises the Honourable Commissioner on issues relating, but not limited to:
- Feasibility studies of capital projects.
- Cost modeling i.e. cost estimation and budgeting.
- Contract documentation.
- Contract administration.
- Facility management.
The duties are in conjunction with and complimentary to other directorates in all building projects.
The directorate currently has four (4) quantity surveyors, seven (7) technical officers.
DIRECTORATE OF BUILDING SERVICES
The Directorate is charged with the following responsibility:
To advise the Benue State Government on policy issues relating to building production, management and maintenances.
- Design services of structures, electrical and mechanical from architectural working drawings.
- Control and supervise the installation of the above services.
- The professional builder takes the overall responsibility for planning, management, coordination and financial control of a building construction project.
- Control quality of materials on construction sites.
- Is in-charge of direct labour management (including both new construction and maintenance of existing infrastructure).
- Building and facilities maintenance.
- Building Engineering Services (M & E) and structural engineering.
- Building prime consultancy
- Building surveying
- Renovation/alteration and building re-modeling works
- Building material research
- Performance of any other assignments given to the directorate.
- Professional builders – 13
- Technical officers – 3
- Superintendents (works) – 5
- Draughtsman – 1
- Artisans – 1
Total – 23
FINANCE AND ACCOUNTS DIRECTORATE
This department provides the Ministry with useful and timely financial information for management decision making that enhance its performance.
- The department is in charge of all the Ministry’s financial transactions.
- It prepares the Ministry’s annual budget.
- Keeps adequate records of income and expenditure of the ministry.
- It prepares staff salaries on behalf of the Ministry and rendering return to the office of the Accountant General.
The staffs from this department are deployed from the office of the Accountant General of the State. They include;
- Director, Finance and Accounts
- One Principal Executive Officer I Account.
- One Principal Executive Officer II Account.
- One Higher Executive Officer Account.
DIRECTORATE OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT CONTROL
This is a new additional department to the Ministry of Housings and currently has eight (8) staff.
Functions of the department
The key functions of the department include:
- Formation and implementation of Urban Planning and Development Control policies geared toward stable growth and development of towns in Benue State.
- Oversee the activities of the Benue State Urban Development Board, which is a major agency responsible for the implementation of Urban Planning and Development control activities in the state.
- Production of layout for housing projects within the state.
- Ensuring that Government projects are sited in conformity with existing approved layout provision.
- Collaborating with other agencies of the State and Federal as well as International bodies on issues of Urban Planning and Development Control.
Functions of Urban Development Board
The Urban Development Board is the main agency charged with planning, implementation and development control in the state.
The board has staff strength of eighty-six (86) categorized as follows:
- Permanent staff – 41
- Casual staff – 40
- Borrowed staff – 5
Total – 86
The Urban Development Board is responsible for the following activities:
- Approval of building plans for all development.
- Monitoring and control of development to conform to planning standards in all urban areas within the state.
- Preparation of layout plans and master plans for all urban centres in the state.
- Execution and enforcement of the provision of the Nigeria Urban and Regional Planning Law.
- Opening of access road.
- Demolition of illegal structures.
- Acquisition and storage of data on all urban matters in the state.
- As a matter of urgency, zonal offices should be further increased in number since this will immensely boost the revenue of the Board as well as bring the services of the board closer to the people.
- There is need to prepare a master plan of Makurdi and other towns as a matter of urgency considering the rate of their growth. This is the only way to properly guide physical development in the state.
- The Board needs a least ten monitoring vehicles.
- House numbering presently in Makurdi is done haphazardly (i.e. where they exit). There is need to carry out this exercise to reorganize the house numbering system for easy identification and location of places.
- There is need for a concerted effort through the media to embark on aggressive enlightenment campaign on the activities of the board. This should be done in conjunction with strict staff monitoring and discipline; regular phoning programme is hereby advocated.
- In some states, an Urban and Regional Planning Board is practiced; where apart from bringing all physical planning activities under such board, different departments are usually created under a directorate structure. These departments such as Urban Renewal, Planning and Design, Development Control, would have more specific assignments which could lead to more efficient performance and greater achievement, the state can as well adopt this system for maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
- A comprehensive Urban and Regional Planning Law should be made in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning, law no. 88 of 1992. This will provide for more efficient and effective physical planning activities in the state.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE MINISTRY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
During the year under review, with the support of His Excellency, Samuel Ortom, the Ministry has been able to achieve the following:
- Construction of Deputy Governor’s Office, Makurdi.
- Construction of an office extension at the Benue State House of Assembly Complex.
- Renovation of Commissioners’ Quarters to cover thirteen (13) units which includes that of the Deputy Governor, Speaker and the Secretary to the State Government.
- Renovation of Government Girls College, Makurdi.
- Funds were released by the present government for the renovation and completion work at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Makurdi.
- The renovation of a police station in Gbajimba.
- The renovation of the Independent Electoral Commission Office in Gbajimba.
- Renovation of VIP Guest House, Gboko.
- Re-construction of Tor Tiv Palace, Gboko.
- Construction of Eight Man Quarter Gbajimba.
- Construction of Ware House Besema, Makurdi.
- Renovation of Ministry of Justice, Makurdi.
- Construction of Unconvict Prison Cells, Makurdi.
- Reconstruction of Aper Aku Lodge, Makurdi.
- Renovation of AIG Zone 4 Commissioner’s Quarters, Makurdi.
- Renovation of GP (33) Lodge, old GRA (former residence of Police Commissioner), Makurdi.
The board carried out the following:
- A total number of 7,200 building plans were registered while 234 approvals were granted for all developments for private individuals and government organizations.
- Monitoring and control of developments to conform to planning standards in all urban areas within the state.
- Opening of 25 access roads in Makurdi metropolis.
- Formulation, monitoring and coordination of physical and regional development policies, plans and activities.
- Demolition of 320 illegal structures was carried out by the Board.
- Acquisition and storage of data on all urban matters in the state.
- Provision of technical assistance/consultancy services to private individuals and government agencies.
- Street naming of access roads in Benue State.
- Street signs and signage’s and house numbering especially at Judges Quarters, New GRA and High-Level, Makurdi.
- Liaising with Ministry of Justice to handle all legal cases as they arise.
- Preparation and implementation of landscape designs for public places and road corridors.
- Flood and erosion control on drainage channels by demolition of illegal structures on water ways.
- Extension of Urban Development activities to all the 23 local government areas including Zaki-Biam and Ugbokolo.
- Provision of office accommodation at the Board head office.
- Refurbishing of plant equipment for opening of access roads.
As you are aware that in all human endeavor, there are bound to be challenges.
Our major constraints are
- Office accommodation: The office is operating in a temporal building which is located at No. 1 George Akume Road. the physical separation between the Administrative Headquarters and the Professional Directorates is hampering the work flow and smooth running of the Ministry’s operations.
- Shortage of manpower: The Ministry is grossly understaffed considering the necessity and volume of work that is expected to be done. In order to overcome this challenge, the Ministry is forced to engage casual staff. There is need to recruit more additional hands especially in the proessional fields of Architecture, Land Surveyors and Estate Surveyors as well as town planning considering the necessity and volume of work expected.
- Lack of operational vehicles: The Ministry requires more vehicles to aid the supervision of projects for some are located outside the state capital.
In spite of the challenges in the state and the dwindling economic situation in the country, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has recorded great achievements in the last one year and we hope to do better this year as the resources are made available in setting standards for effective housing delivery in the state.
Let me express my appreciation to His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom for the wonderful opportunity he has given me to serve under his administration and particularly the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
I sincerely commend the staff of the Ministry for their effort and sacrifices in standing solidly behind me in the past one year of my service.
Finally, I want to specifically appreciate the media as well for being very supportive to my Ministry.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, I thank you for availing me this opportunity to brief you on the state of affairs in my ministry.
Thank you all and may God bless you for your kind attention and wonderful audience.