In 1984 it was all excitement. Our Federal Government had come up with a people-oriented programme. Many of us would soon own houses. They were launching a National Housing Fund. There was optimism – what a wonderful government we had! The socialist leaning minister, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, was in charge. All that was needed was for one to purchase a form for one hundred naira, pay a deposit being twenty per cent of the purchase price of the category of reasonably priced property you are interested in. And when the deposit was paid you were told the plot number, the street address and the location of the layout in which your dream house which would be completed in record time was being built. 
Thousands of Nigerians including my wife and my brother-in-law rushed in their deposits to the Federal Housing Authority, the organ of government in charge. But it was not long before the news that the prices originally indicated had been reviewed. Though disappointed, the anxious citizens paid the required proportion of the revised prices and waited. After all it was still going to be cheaper than purchasing from the open market. Months passed, years passed and till this day majority of the depositors got no houses and have not got their money back! And, of course, as is the habit of our wonderful rulers the depositors got no written information on the status of their dream houses or their deposits till today. The scheme had been abandoned. But we are a docile people. Nobody raised a fuss. Then in the year of our Lord, 2012, there was a newspaper release asking those who made deposits on the National Housing Fund to bring their receipts and come to the Federal Housing Authority for a refund of the money they paid decades ago.
Anxious depositors rushed to the Federal Housing Authority with letters to the General Manager applying for the refunds with photocopies of evidence of payment. The officer-in-charge in each case hand-wrote `original copy collected by me’, signed and dated each copy of the application. The applicant was told to check back after some time. And each time he checked the reply was usually that they had received nothing from Abuja. And that remains the standard reply till today, five years later. One person was told that if he knew somebody in their Abuja office he may be able to speed up the matter. So, barefacedly, the Federal Government of Nigeria collected money from citizens with the false promise of delivering houses to them and has defaulted in not delivering the houses. Worse than that it has refused to refund the deposits they paid decades ago when the naira had meaningful value.
To make matters even worse about six to seven hundred depositors went to court suing for specific performance. Unbelievable as it may sound the lawyers to the Federal Housing Authority appeared in court denying having received any payment! But it was soon proved to the court that the Federal Housing Authority did receive payments and issued receipts. The depositors had as witness the Minister, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, who had been in charge of the Fund at the beginning and, of course, the court found the Federal Housing Authority liable and ruled that either they delivered the houses to the depositors or refunded the deposits with twenty one percent interest from the date of the receipt of the deposits. The Federal Housing Authority took the matter to the Court of Appeal and lost again. They have taken the matter to the Supreme Court where it has been lying dormant for over two years!
So what is the government telling Nigerians by its behaviour on the 1984 National Housing Fund? It cannot be trusted! It can take the citizens for a ride and get away with it. What is the difference between what the government has done and advance fee fraud for which it is chasing fraudulent citizens about for making false promises to Europeans, Americans and other foreigners and taking money from them? The pity is that this is not the only occasion in which our government is duping the citizens. Citizens remember the case of Nitel that kept collecting crazy and inflated telephone bills from citizens until thankfully Nitel was liquidated. How about the National Electric Power Authority or PHCN  that duped citizens through crazy bills until it was sold to friends of people in power who have redoubled efforts to continue duping citizens! When will the citizens of this country be saved from dysfunctional governments?
Now they have come out with another National Housing Fund. They have forgotten about the last one. May be they may be saying that it was not their government that initiated that one forgetting that governance is continuous with each succeeding government inheriting the assets and liabilities of the previous governments. God save us from our heartless rulers! 

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