About 86.4 million Nigerians are either having difficulty accessing land and/or finance for housing development in the country, while 56 million are living in urban slums, according to UN-HABITAT. UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements, mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
Programme Manager for Nigeria, UN-HABITAT, Prof. Johnson Bade Falade, lamented that access to land and finance for housing, especially, for the poor has been problematic in Nigeria as with many African countries.
â€œWith regards to Nigeriaâ€™s poverty figure put at 54 percent, about 86.4 million Nigerians may be having difficulty in accessing land and finance for housing,â€ he noted.
Falade, who was speaking at an awareness and sensitisation programme on the housing secor in Abuja, further stated: â€œCases of forced evictions and demolition and insecurity are undesirably on the increase in urban areas.
There is no doubt that the present daunting housing problem makes great demands for the provisions of adequate shelter for Nigerians and the promotion of well planned towns and cities and making access to land and finance easier for the homelessâ€.
He noted that Nigeriaâ€™s urbanization rate as at 2007 was put at 50 per cent, consequently, one out of every two Nigerians now live in cities. â€œWhile housing shortage in Nigeria is currently estimated at 16 million houses, as much as 70 per cent of urban population (i.e. 56 million people) is said to live in slums.
â€œConsidering Nigeriaâ€™s high homelessness and slum population, the country needs to fast track its actions to attain the goals and recommendations of global commitments such as Article 25 of the UN Universal Human Rights Declaration on housing as a fundamental human right, the Habitat Agenda adopted in 1996 on the provision of adequate shelter for all and Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals on improvement of the lives of the people living in slums.
â€œMore importantly, Nigeria, as a giant of Africaâ€™, needs to take giant stride to promote national programmes on providing adequate shelter for Nigerians and adopting sustainable and participatory approaches to land use planning, architectural design, building construction and management of towns, cities and villages to achieving the goals of National Housing Policy of providing housing for all and the goals of National Urban Development Policy and the Vision 20:2020 of promoting a dynamic systems of well_planned human settlements that can significantly contribute to national economic growth.â€