Nigeria’s top housing sector advocacy group – Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN) has commended ongoing efforts by the Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Mohammed Bello in tackling the Coronavirus pandemic that has become a major threat in Nigeria.
According to a statement by the Group’s President, Festus Adebayo, the Lagos state Governor has really shown leadership in the way he has led the frontline officials tackling the virus since the first case was announced in Nigeria.
‘’Governor Sanwo-Olu deserves our commendation because everyone can feel his commitment. His daily briefings and relentless proactive steps remind us of how Former Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola equally fought Ebola virus to standstill,’’ Adebayo said while encouraging the Governor to continue the good work.
He also went further to commend the FCT Minister who announced on Wednesday that a five-storey building with up to 300 rooms has been made available to serve as an isolation and treatment facility for COVID-19 patients, should the need arise in the territory.
Only two days earlier, the group called on the Minister to order the conversion of some vacant houses in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja to isolation centres for victims of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: ‘’It is good news for us and for Nigerians that the FCT Minister has provided a decent five-storey building in a good location with not less than 300 rooms to cater to would-be patients of the virus. We recently made this call and we have seen the Minister swing to action. It shows that he is listening and very proactive.
‘’We still call on him to ensure that his plans as stated in his press address are fully implemented so that we can resist the virus as much as possible, and quickly too.’’
The group has been consistent in its call for a decisive action over the number of unoccupied buildings in Abuja, a city that hosts thousands of homeless people and others living in slums.
Adebayo said the group joins the world and Nigerians in praying for all victims of the virus and wish them quick recovery. He also encouraged others to abide by safety precautions like social distancing, hand washing and general hygiene.
He went further to draw the attention of the government to the issue of decent affordable housing and its usefulness, especially in a time like this.
‘’Decent affordable housing is key to good health, and without it the spread of any disease is inevitable. As we try to manage Covid-19, the government must heed to our earlier calls on the need to prioritize affordable housing for Nigerians. If a lot had been done in this area, the fear of the spread of the virus would have been minimal. With the dense population in our urban slums, there is always a high risk of a disease outbreak.’’
He assured the millions of Nigerians in need of shelter that the group is continuously motivated to sustain the advocacy for decent affordable housing in the country.
Additionally, he used the opportunity to send across a cautionary message to all partners of Abuja International Housing Show all over the world, encouraging them to remain safe and steadfast. ‘’Wherever you are in the world, please make sure to intensify the campaign for decent affordable housing and solid health facilities from the government,’’ he advised.
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