A stakeholder in the building environment, Mr. Toye Eniola has claimed that the establishment of Housing corporations is the solution to the huge housing deficit bedeviling the country.
Nigeria’s housing deficits have been put at 17 million. Eniola, who is the Executive Secretary, Toye Eniola of the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN), spoke in an interview recently in Abuja.
He opined that housing corporations remain the only body that can solve Nigerian housing deficit, noting that: “the public and private sector driven mass housing provision has been experimented and trusted over years.
He continued: “It has been proven that public sector driven housing provision through housing corporations are equal to the task of developing mass housing, given the right atmosphere.
“Housing challenges of most of our state capitals, especially during creation of new states were effectively resolved by housing corporations and it is most evident in most state capitals with popular and established housing estates.
“Housing corporations are government parastatals with access to government land, which place them at vantage position to execute government housing scheme.” He said.
The Executive Secretary, however, stated that private developers are profit driven as they prefer middle and high-income housing projects, which are easier to dispose and recoup their investment in a short term.
He noted that, invariably, their decisions do not favour the low-income group because of affordability question.
On his part, AHCN’s immediate past president, Dr. Ifenna Chukwujekwu, said most of housing corporations exist by names.
“In some states, they are rendered irrelevant in their special field while state ministries have taken over construction and in some states, they have been merged with the ministries.
“This situation has relegated housing development to the background and hardly can we see any state government today that categorize housing as priority and major cardinal focus unlike in the second republic.
“The recent shift of housing provision through government policy of total withdrawal from direct construction introduced by the Obasanjo regime did not help matter as the private developers were unable to meet the housing demand of the people.
“This situation has further widened the rising housing shortage in Nigeria,” Chukwujekwu explained that all the edict that established most of the housing corporations are outdated.
“For these corporations to be effective, these outdated laws and edicts require urgent and immediate amendments.” He said: “Provision should be made to commercialise these housing corporations with full autonomy to make them more dynamic and productive.