BY YINKA KOLAWOLE
The Nigerian government has been accused of paying lip service only to the issue housing development in the country.
Chairman, Faculty of Housing, Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Chief Kola Akomolede, made the accusation at the recently concluded Second National Housing Summit hosted by the Institution in Abuja, adding that the present situation of the country’s housing sector leaves much to be desired. He lamented that the present government has relegated housing to the background because it merely talks about transformation without any agenda for housing.
Akomolede said the creation of a separate ministry for housing has not led to any improvement in the development of the housing sector in the country. “Unfortunately, the Nigerian government has relegated the issue of housing to the background. That is why even as the government created the Ministry of Housing during the second term, the ministry has not done much. Initially they were just busy selling the houses that were already built by previous governments.”
According to him, a review of the budget of the country every year shows that what is allocated to housing is next to nothing. “What is allocated to housing is just for the payment of salaries of the ministry’s staff and not for physical development of housing,” he added.
Akomolede noted that while the defunct Shehu Shagari led administration identified food and housing as priorities and went about building low cost houses for Nigerians, successive governments thereafter have neglected housing, merely talking about transformation without any credible housing agenda.
He said the second National Housing Summit was deliberated brought to Abuja, the seat of government, to harp on the importance of housing in the country. “This year, we have decided to take the Second National Housing Summit to Abuja away from Lagos and other cities in the country because we were far from them and they were not listening to us. We are hosting it in conjunction with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development this year.
“This time, we are moving ahead to tackle constraints of housing development in Nigeria. This faculty of housing is designed to appraise the issue of housing in Nigeria, to look at the problems and challenges of housing delivery in Nigeria and proffer solutions. Housing is an important subject. That is why it baffles me why government is not taking the issue of housing seriously as it is taken at individual level, but that is the situation we found ourselves in Nigeria. After food and clothing the next thing human beings require to exist is shelter,” he stated.