Source: thewillnigeria.com

Since creation, it is given that the need for shelter is as important as the air human's breath.

Man's cravings hold a very strong pull in this direction especially for comfort, security, warmth and urbanization.

Imagine a world without shelter over the heads of a people.

Its effect could be imagined rather than experienced.

Such is the import of shelter in man's lists of needs.

So when Abraham Maslow postulated in his famous ''Man's hierarchy of needs'', the need for shelter held a prime place.

It is against this backdrop that government all over the world place housing as part of the integral programmes to enhance the makeup of the peoples welfare.

Little wonder politics itself can hardly do without the need to incorporate housing facilities as part of their various manifestoes.

It therefore goes without saying that accommodation is the lifeblood of man's existence.

Think of a situation where irrespective of the years of service in government, a worker retires into penury occasioned by lack of a befitting roof over his or her head.

Nothing exposes the frustration of a man than his inability to get a befitting roof over the head of his family at retirement.

Service is usually given a rich meaning with something very rewarding, and nothing is as rewarding as when a public servant retires into his own home after years in service.

The foregoing is the template that must have informed the colonial masters to evolve the ''AFRIICAN STAFF HOUSING SCHEME''.

A scheme that was fashioned out to motivate public servants to see their service as a worthwhile venture as far back as 1924.

This scheme was to later evolve into a different and more encompassing phase with a view to providing mortgage facilities for government workers to avail themselves of Government desire to ensure a well housed work force.

To give it a policy face, it was later rechristened "The Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board'', which later became self -accounting.

Suffice to say from inception, this body was under the supervision of the ministry of Works and Housing.

But later, it was moved to the service welfare office of the Head of Civil Service of the federation.

As a substantive parastatal, it was set up to drive the housing policy of federal government staff, the initiative endorsed by government as a corporate social responsibility.

To the uninitiated, there is the need to apprise the public of the mission of this body and its essence in government scheme of things.

Essentially, it is to provide soft financial backing to career public servants including civil servants members of the Armed forces, the police, Customs, Immigration, Prisons, civil Defense, the legislative and Judiciary staff.

''To enable them to purchase, build or renovate their own houses, for a peaceful post retirement life after a successful career in the public service''.

According to the mandate of the board, the Loan scheme is revolving funds through which grants of soft loans are advanced to public servants within the limit of available resources and in accordance with the regulations for the purpose.

These purposes are, building a residential house in Nigeria for use of the applicant and his family, purchase a parcel of land in Nigeria on which such residential house is to be built, and more than any other thing, improving or extending a residential house anywhere in Nigeria, being a house owned by the applicant and to which he has a valid title acceptable to the board.

Nothing sign post a worker's joy after years of meritorious service than being able to point at a modest and beautiful edifice after years of service and declared 'hitherto hath the Lord helped me'.

It won't be out of place to remind Nigerians that some highly placed citizens are beneficiaries of this scheme.

Even before attaining their revered positions in government, they were able to avail themselves of the facility.

By implication, it means such people started small in the journey of life.

This trend has continued to attract Nigerians who want to own a house of their own after service.

President Goodluck Jonathan,s transformation agenda has continued to draw from this scheme to enhance the value of public servants in the country.

Little wonder he places maximum premium on this scheme.

As a matter of policy, the Goodluck administration has given the scheme further impetus with a view to enhancing the value of service to fatherland.

According to the chief Executive of the Board, Dr.
Hannatu Adamu Fika, who is a refined and high breed bureaucrat, the scheme is essentially to bring succour to workers in the public service, whose dream of owning a house of their own, may ordinarily appear like a far and difficult prospect.

''With the current dispensation in government, public workers are in for a beautiful treat by reason of repackaged federal government Housing loans board.

Workers in the public sector cannot ask for something more than this cushion of a policy that will insulate workers from the vagary of post retirement housing challenges.

Goodluck to Nigerian workers Written By Akinwale Adegbola

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