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Affordable Houses:Gov’ts must intensify effort

By Hanafi Wahab | +2348129419131

The basic amenities needed by man are food, shelter and clothing; others include good road networks and security. While the means of both food and clothing are facilitated by the government, provision of shelter is solely vested in the government.
Those honorable men who drafted the 1970 constitution saw this need on the part of the authority and therefore entrenched it in the constitution.

The 1999 constitution section 16/2/d states inter-alia ‘that suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national minimum living wage, old age care, pensions, unemployment, sick benefits and welfare of the disabled are provided for all citizens’.

The constitution has therefore affirmed that shelter is a social responsibility of the government which must be attained. Houses are provided to ensure that citizens have a home to live in; it also provides safety of the people, security from wild animals, hoodlums, sunshine, wind rain and other harsh effects of the weather and its elements.

In the early colonial periods, shelter provisions were dominated by indigenous development in cities, village and even hamlets. These arrangements were not dismantled by the colonial masters but rather built new adjourned settlements with prototype modern structures to imbibe and encourage the people on the new development. The governments at both the federal and state levels over the years have had to grapple with these basic needs for their citizens.

In 1979 during the Shagari regime, 5000 housing units were built in each of the states of the federation and christened ‘Shagari Estate’ in Lagos and the federal low cast housing estates in Ilorin. Other succeeding civilian governments also came up with their brand of housing scheme according to their party manifestos.

All progressive congress(APC) government at all levels are not left out, even states controlled by other parties are doing something about it, the case in point is the PDP government in Ekiti state.

In all societies, house ownership provides social status and prestige to owners. Houses are durable goods that can be transferred from one person to another and could be inherited by dependants; that is, generational transfer. It is also discovered that housing projects provide apart from shelter, employment, collateral security and economic growth. It is also a source of income, as tenants pay rent to Landlords, while the property keeps appreciating in value. Security guards, garden attendants, cooks and laundrymen are often employed to earn wages and salaries.

In view of the above factors, the Nigerian government over the years have come to the stark reality of the houses she has been able to provide the citizenry is grossly inadequate, thus, the need for more hands in the housing sector; therefore, the Nigerian government has allowed the private informal sectors to either partner her or solely be involved in the housing provision.
The inadequacies in this is that, most prototype houses put up by most of these housing estate developers were regrettably unaffordable by the poor or low income earners. In the cities for instance, various apartment units have become increasingly expensive, this has made owing a one or even renting prohibitive. It is only the few rich who buy these houses and resell or rent out at exorbitantly high price.

Land speculations do not help matters in this regard, lands are being ‘sold’ to prospective buyers at cut throat prices, never minding the incidences of a piece of land being sold to two or more buyers at the same time leading to a lengthy period of litigations or perhaps the buying of same again at the end of the day.
The area boys are also lurking in the corner, waiting like hawks to claim their own entitlement albeit with brute force before any development could take place on the said piece of land.

The seemingly unconcerned attitude of some town planning development authority officials is also worrisome. Most of them put up unrealistic demands ranging from lack of service cars to other God-knows-what, because of these, assessment has expected were always not possible and for fear of re-selling, the owner will put up any erection he wants; the result is either building on the drainage surface, roads, et al.

All these does not allow for proper planning of building erected, no wonder most houses do not have good basic amenities, like potable drinking water and electricity. Moreover, these buildings are interlocked, the ways they were constructed makes it difficult for a thorough passage either by vehicles or pedestrians, drainage system are not provided, even in some cases, toilet facilities are not provided, nobody prays for a fire incidence; anyway, the land use act of 1978, vested all lands (in the designated urban centers) under the control of the governor of the state thereby limiting accessibility to land, due to long bureaucratic processes and thus increase land speculations, making possession of lands beyond the reach of most people.
Most Nigerians live in remote locations where essential services such as health clinics/hospitals, schools among others are not available.

Most Nigerians are currently living in houses that do not meet their cultural needs because of the provisions of the government prototype housing units.

The government at both the federal and state level should as a matter of exigency, vigorously embark on the provision of these houses and see to the shortcomings attached to them for the citizenry to have a comfortable and happy life.
Affordable Houses:Gov’ts must intensify effort Reviewed by nationalmoonlight on October 15, 2017 Rating: 5

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