Following the recent pronouncement by the General Manager of Rivers State Housing and Property Development Authority, (RHPDA) Architect Iyerefa Cookey-Gam, that the 844 units Rivers State Housing Estate at Iriebe will be ready in the next two months, workers in the state, particularly public servants have urged the state government to equitably allocate the houses to ensure that those who need them actually benefit.
Some public servants who spoke to The Tide on condition of anonymity posited that the issue of housing allocation in the state over the years have been highly politicised, in such a heavy that non-public servants had benefited more in the government housing projects.
In their submissions, they averred that public servants in the state have not benefited much in the housing programmes of government and that for this reason, so many workers in the public service have remained perpetual tenants, whence substantial sum of their salaries have been used in rent servicing.
In order to bridge the gap, they urged government and the appropriate authorities to ensure that at least 60 per cent of the housing units are set aside for workers in the public service to enable them own their own houses, while the cost of such buildings deducted from their salaries.
For Mr. Paul Owaka of the Universal Basic Education Board, the idea of owning a house, particularly in Port Harcourt, is a very serious task, pointing out that the ideal hope for such becoming a reality to them is by government giving housing loans or build and recover the cost from salaries of beneficiaries.
He, therefore, urged the state government and the housing authority to put the plight of Rivers public servants into consideration in the current Iriebe Housing Units project as well as other subsequent ones.
Recounting experiences of the past, Mr. Iheanachor Williams explained that one major problem that has been very recurring in housing allocation is the issue of those who have, to have more, while just few workers (public servants) are picked to justify their being involved.
Williams, who is civil servant in the Ministry of Agriculture, however, noted that if government and those responsible for allocation will do justice to the problem of public servants housing needs, that so much will be on the offering for workers.
It would be recalled that the General Manager of RHPDA, Arch. Cookey-Gam while addressing civil servants last week stated that the vision of government is coming through at Iriebe estate and will be ready in the next two months.