The global housing crisis is inching closer to Nigeria, with the United Nations warning that 96,000 new affordable houses must be constructed every day to meet the housing needs of an estimated three billion people by 2030. Despite this alarming prediction, Nigeria has been grappling with a severe housing deficit that has continued to worsen over the years.
The housing challenge in Nigeria has been persistent, starting from an estimated need of seven million housing units in 1991, which has since grown to 12 million in 2007, 14 million in 2010, and a staggering 28 million housing units in 2022. Even with the combined efforts of states and the Federal Government, the country has failed to deliver up to three million housing units in the last two decades.
The past administration, led by General Muhammadu Buhari, witnessed a considerable shortfall in the housing sector. In eight years, the Buhari administration delivered fewer than 8,000 housing units, highlighting the inadequate attention given to affordable shelter provision.It is becoming increasingly evident that neither the state governments nor the Federal Government can single-handedly address this national housing challenge.
Hence, a pressing need for collaboration with the private sector has emerged to make headway in mitigating the deficit.
According to the United Nations, the right to adequate housing is a fundamental human right, as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The UN has noted that all nations have ratified international treaties related to adequate housing, committing to protect this right through various agreements and documents.
Lagos, as Nigeria’s commercial hub and home to a rapidly growing population, faces a unique challenge in tackling its housing deficit. The World Bank predicts that by 2030, Nigeria will become the third most populous nation globally, with Lagos hosting the largest share of its residents. The city struggles to accommodate newcomers, with a significant portion opting to remain, thereby exacerbating the housing deficit and straining existing infrastructure.Adequate housing is not just a basic necessity; it is crucial for social and economic development, poverty reduction, and overall national prosperity. While Lagos thrives in the premium property market, it must also address the housing needs of the lower and middle-income segments, considering the sheer number of residents in the state.
The state government’s decision to collaborate with residents on residential housing schemes targeting a broad spectrum of society has garnered widespread applause. However, the fate of subscribers to various residential schemes initiated by the government, including the Orisan Water Front Residential Scheme, Ogudu Garden Valley Residential Scheme, Igbogbo Residential Scheme, and Paradise City Residential Scheme, remains uncertain.The recent handover of plots to subscribers of the Fortune Garden Residential Housing Scheme in Ogudu Alapere marked a significant milestone.
After a 16-year wait, these subscribers finally received the land they had paid for. While the state government has partnered with real estate developers to expand housing schemes in the city, there is a growing clamor for the government to expedite similar handovers to other subscribers who have paid and received Certificates of Occupancy (CofO) but await possession.
The chairman of the Fortune Garden Residents Association, Bosun Falore, has called on the government to fulfill its initial obligations, including drainage system construction, road infrastructure development, and addressing illegal encroachments on some plots within the scheme.
Still, he acknowledged that budget constraints might be hampering the government’s ability to meet these commitments promptly.Falore urged the allottees to unite and work collectively, emphasizing that their determination and unity would be essential to achieving their goal.
While the housing deficit in Lagos remains a critical issue, the resolution of issues like those faced by Fortune Garden allottees represents a positive step toward alleviating the housing crisis in the state.
The success of such partnerships between the government and residents may prove instrumental in reducing the housing deficit and providing affordable shelter for Lagosians.