By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Thursday said that there was no housing crisis in Nigeria.
The Minister, who stated this while refuting claims that Nigeria has a 17 million housing deficit, pointed out that a country with many empty houses cannot be classified as such.
Speaking when he appeared on the weekly ministerial briefing organized by Presidential Communication Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Fashola argued that the pressure on housing in the country was caused by rural-urban migration, which he said create a demand and supply problem.
He said that even though people leave their houses in the rural areas to squat in the cities, it did not amount to the housing deficit in the country.
According to him, “It’s illogical to say we have that housing deficit when you have empty houses. No such deficit exists anywhere in the world.”
The Minister said he had consulted with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and some international organizations including the African Development Bank (AfDP) and confirmed that the Nigerian housing deficit reports are not correct.
He, therefore, noted that they should be disregarded. However, the minister affirmed that the actual housing deficit in Nigeria cannot be ascertained until another census is conducted in the country.
On why it was difficult to complete the East/West road, Fashola explained that though about 70 percent of the road was completed, it was under the purview of the Niger Delta Ministry.
He also attributed the bad state of the Itu/Odukpani/Calabar road to the difficult terrain, stressing that cost of building roads in the area was high.