By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA- The Nigerian Senate President, Ahmed Lawan has suggested that amending the Land Use Act of 1978 would foster the needed changes that reforms will drive reforms in the housing industry.
Nigerians have continued to shoulder the burden of their country’s housing deficit which some experts have blamed on the arbitrary provisions of the Land Use Act. Many live in shanties and slums. Only 30 per cent of Nigeria’s about 200 million people have access to decent housing.
Slums can be found in all parts of Nigeria. They are endemic in Abuja, the fastest growing capital city in Africa, Lagos, the mega city hosting 20 million people, and Port Harcourt, the oil-rich garden city.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in Nigeria, has stated that about 80 million Nigerians (79% of the population), are living in slums.
The Senate President, at the opening ceremony of the 13th Abuja International Housing Show today said “It is indeed remarkable to have a platform like this for all major stakeholders in housing and construction to dialogue on developing issues and fashion out ways to work as a team of collaborators and proffer sustainable solutions that will improve the quantity and quality of housing delivery.”
The theme of the ongoing 4-day housing show in Abuja is- ‘Driving Sustainable Housing Finance Models in the Midst of Global Uncertainties.’
According Lawan, who represented at by the event by Senator Ashiru Oyelola said “there is no better time for us to move faster in our ambition to provide decent shelter for everyone. It is indeed a core mandate for us to deal with one of man’s greatest need with the urgency and competence that it requires.”
As the Senate President, I recognise the importance of housing, and even more so, the ability of forums like this to influence housing policies. There is a lot for everyone to take from a forum of this magnitude in order to contribute qualitatively to whatever our stakes are in the sub sector.”
“I am aware that there are critical areas that require legislative intervention like the lands use act, the NHF, housing regulation, and many more enabling policies. It is in my agenda to see to it that all policies required to get us closer to our collective dreams are achieved,” Lawan noted.
The CEO/MD of the Abuja International Housing Show, Barr Festus Adebayo reminded the audience that Abuja International Housing Show is not a talk show.
“We are here to use this medium to proffer practical solutions to familiar problems, with far reaching effects across the continent,” he said.
Adebayo said that the project is out to realise a housing sector that will not only shelter man, but contribute to GDP, provide jobs and economic opportunities.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Arc Ibrahim Bunu, Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, noted that assembling local and international stakeholders of repute to deliberate on the way forward for this critical sub-sectors of the economy is no mean feat.
He said “the global housing market including Nigeria’s is in desperate need of new ideas and alternatives to financing housing development.”