Opinion

Ogun housing initiative addressing growing deficit

Housing is a basic necessity of every human being just like food and clothing. It is fundamental to the welfare and survival of man. According to some experts, housing is one of the best indicators of determining the standard of living and peoples’ value in a society.

Housing deficit has become a serious phenomenon in Nigeria since independence and this is not far-fetched due to the fact that efforts of successive governments in tackling the challenge have failed to yield results as the country’s population continued to grow uncontrollably.

Recent statistics showed that 30 percent of the world’s population lives in unacceptable conditions, which means that over two billion people are in need of better housing with decent toilet facilities that will curb open defecation which has become an emerging issue particularly in Sub- Saharan Africa.

It was also revealed particularly in the United Nations 2016 Habitat report which put Nigeria’s housing shortage at 18 million while others say it is 20 million. The report further disclosed that about 30 percent of the world’s populations live in slums, under deplorable conditions or, worse still, in buildings that are structurally weak and far cry from the global standard.

Experts disclosed that the sector in Nigeria would need $400 billion investment in the next 25-30 years to resolve this problem. Meanwhile the World Bank on the other hand has said providing housing will cost the country about N59.5 trillion, which also tallies with the estimation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria which puts it at about N56 trillion if the nation is adequately prepared to meet its housing demands.

Though it has been argued over time that the Land Use Act of 1979 is one of the obstructions hindering the set objectives in the national housing sector, which rested the ownership of land on the state governments. It also includes the bottle neck in property registration process, the high cost of building materials, rural-urban migration as well as inadequate development policy which focuses majorly on urban development to the detriment of the rural areas and coupled with the failure of mortgage institutions to fulfil their core mandates among others.

The recent statement by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, which disclosed the Federal Government’s developmental plan of constructing affordable homes in 36 states of the federation, rekindled the hope of Nigerians and gave assurance of better things to come in the sector.

The project is part of fulfilment of the model National Housing Programme aimed at providing acceptable and affordable housing for Nigerians. The core vision of the project was further revealed during the inspection of on-going construction of housing units in Abuja, where the Minister of State for Housing, Mr. Abubakar Aliyu, unveiled the Federal Government’s plan of constructing one million housing units at least annually to address the shortfall in the country. While addressing some experts recently in Abuja, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said the projects were in two tracks, one to be carried out by the Federal Ministry of Housing and the other one by the private company “Family Homes Fund but being supervised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.

One of the laudable initiatives behind the project is that core materials will be sourced locally to fix the doors, windows, tiles among others. The plan is that building materials will be acquired from the local industries and engage many of the young men and women who are artisans of various professions for direct employment.

As a matter of fact, the project, from all indications, will engage young Nigerian engineers and builders who will be allowed to develop and understand how to bid for the jobs so that the projects are not given only to big contractors without considering the national engineering future. As the Federal Government is battling with a housing deficit in the nation, the state governments across the country are also not resting on their oars. In Ogun State for example, the state Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has embarked on a housing initiative towards tackling housing challenges in the state.

According to the governor, the on-going housing projects in the state were targeted at local contractors to improve their economic status and equally promote the use of local materials as well as attract private investors through the PPP initiative. Prince Dapo Abiodun. On assumption as governor of Ogun State on May 29, 2019 had described as worrisome the challenge confronting the people in accessing affordable and qualitative housing.

He promised to address the deficit by providing affordable housing for the people. The governor in fulfilling his promise gave approval to the Ogun State Housing Corporation to construct 500 housing units that will be affordable and qualitative especially for low income earners across the state. The governor remarked at a programme that the present administration in the state “understands the importance of housing as a major social need of our people. We intend to work with private sector and financial institutions in the development of affordable homes and ensuring availability of mortgage for prospective home owners”.

As part of measures towards addressing the growing housing challenges in the state, the government is targeting the construction of 2,000 housing units in the next 12 months. To achieve this set objective, the administration had proposed the building of 300 housing units out of which 150 units are currently under construction at Kobape Village in Obafemi Owode Local Government area of the state. The proposed 300 units, when completed, according to the State Commissioner for Hous-

 

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