Written by Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie
Posted on 11-07-2019
Is the 17 million housing gap true?No, says a fellow of the Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Mr. Ismail Gbenga.
He spoke at an interactive session organised by the institution in Lagos.
He argued that the figure could not be correct as there were many unoccupied houses in many cities, such as Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
He said the institution had raised the alarm over the increasing number of unoccupied houses.
He wondered if there were proper statistics of unoccupied houses. He agreed with the immediate past Works and Housing minister Babatunde Fashola, who also disputed figures.
He said with the several housing estates built by the government and the private sector, the 17 million housing gap should no longer exist.
According to him, what the cities lack are infrastructure, adding that with infrastructure, such as good rail system, good road, efficient waste management system and potable water, many people could live outside major cities and commute to the city centres daily.
He called for a housing policy that would make it possible for many citizens to afford decent accommodation. He however advised the government to build more housing estates, such as Festac 77 Housing Estate and Gowon Estate, Lagos in various parts of the country.
Another expert, Biodun Olapade said only social housing could solve the challenge.
He criticised the national development plan, which did not accommodate the various needs of states and people.
He said, for instance, the type of houses needed in Lagos is not what is needed in Zamfara State because of various reasons.
In Lagos, what the people need is transit accommodation, such that when a person’s social status changes, he moves to a bigger accommodation unlike what is obtains where one size fits all,, he added.
On housing deficit, a participant, Ewenla Mustapha, said the government should provide a level-playing ground for private investors. He urged Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, an expert in the built industry, to reduce the housing deficit.
On incessant building collapse, he listed the causes as poor foundation, lack of maintenance, and defects in design.
He regretted that some people stay in buildings marked for demolition by the government.
Culled from The Nation Newspaper, July 2019