A Professor of Building, (Construction and Materials Management),Olabosipo Fagbenle, has called on the Federal Government to initiate policies that would boost adequate, affordable and sustainable housing delivery to Nigerians.
Fagbenle, a Senior Lecturer, Department of Building Technology, Covenant University, made the call during the 24th Inaugural Lecture of the Institution, on Saturday in Ota, Ogun.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the lecture is “Affordable and Sustainable Housing: A Practical Approach to Total Building Construction.”
He noted that government’s policies in time past had not sufficiently addressed the issue of quantitative and qualitative demand for housing in the cities.
“Consequently, this challenge forces poor people to settle in urban periphery that are injurious to their health and well-being.
“In addition, inadequate policy from the government affects sustainable housing delivery, thereby leading to high rent, overcrowding and poor living conditions.
“More recent housing policies formulated by government have not yielded visible positive effects in the lives of the poor, despite the huge funds invested on housing,” Fagbenle said.
The don said that the concept of sustainability and affordability needed to be adequately explained in policy formulation, to realistically achieve efficient housing production delivery.
Fagbenle stressed the need for the three-tiers of government to have adequate policies on land, for affordable housing delivery.
He said this would make affordable houses available to the poor that constitute the largest part of the population and are most often forced to settle in slums because of high price.
The don identified land acquisition, materials procurement and construction process as major problems confronting the quest for affordable and sustainable housing in the country.
He advised the Federal Government to provide housing finance and encourage collective savings to handle long-term housing loans with quality, fairness and accountability.
Fagbenle emphasised the need for the government to promote an all-inclusive participation through active involvement of civil society.
He said this could be done especially through the efforts of housing users’ organisations, such as low-income earners’ organisations and community-based organisations.
The don said government could also help by offering land to developers working on low and medium-cost housing projects under social concession contracts.
This, he said, was to reduce disagreement and conflicts on land.
In his address of welcome, Prof Abiodun Adebayo, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said that most new housing production were targeted at upper-income households.
He said that consequently, middle and lower-income families were experiencing more of housing shortage.
“The resulting effects of this are inadequate infrastructure, increasing poverty, hopelessness, rising social vices and human degradation,” Adebayo said.
The Vice-Chancellor said that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and industry experts had estimated the current housing deficit in the country to be in the range of 17 to 23 million.
Adebayo said that there had been significant increase of population, especially in the rural areas of the country, without an equivalent rise in the number of new housing units.(NAN)