By Omosola Akingboye
Housing crisis and its looming danger in the Nigeria Federal Capital Territory have been blamed largely on the over concentration of the federal government agencies, and other parastatals within the Abuja city center hence the extreme congestion vis-à-vis the demand for urgent infrastructural developments of some of the satellite communities, which Karu/Nyanyan in the Abuja Municipal Area Council under review are among those begging for help from concern stakeholders.
Undoubtedly, the influx of the largest part of the Abuja workforce to Karu and its flanking Nyanyan neighborhood is attributed to the search for affordable shelter on account of the cities proximity to the Abuja Central Business District (CBD).
The housing problem has indeed contributed largely to issues most residence in the area have had to contend. This is due to the erratic growth of population with attendant rise in the costs of accommodation, abuse of Abuja master plans, including unending traffic gridlock inhabitants cohabit daily.
These are among various issues too many emanating from shelter and in search of shelters by Abuja populace.
The spotlight on Karu/Nyayan
This analysis examines; the costs implications of living in the area, effects of poor housing pattern, and the implications of the defaced Abuja master plans leading to poor housing conditions.
Costs of Accommodation in Karu/ Nyayan
Not a few pundits have described accommodation problems, particularly in Karu as scary, and no thanks to the population explosion of Abuja. This is against projections by the progenitors of the new capital city at the time of its migration from Lagos.
Investigations reveal that, costs of renting various levels of apartments, including moderate boys quarters in Karu-site has skyrocketed beyond bounds in recent time.
A 2 bedroom flat in Karu today goes for N700,000 while 3 bedrooms are now rented for not less than N850,000 and a detached boys quarters in Karu is rented for not less than N300,000.
Some sector analysts have also blamed high costs of living in Abuja and its outskirts in particular for lack of proper planning by concerns authority. They noted several factors ranging from lack of political will, policy inconsistency, poor financing to weak institutional structures.
However, some believes the rising costs of accommodation in some parts of Abuja are unconnected with the general inflation the country has witnessed lately.
These school of thought believes high costs of building materials is among major driving force contributing to tenants nightmare, which Karu and environs are major beneficiary owed to the increasing Abuja population.
Inhabitants of the two communities indeed bear the brunt as a result of its nearness considerations to and from Abuja municipal. This is also irrespective of hustling and bustling the traffic monster portends daily.
Meanwhile, it would be recalled that the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), under the leadership of the incumbent Minister, Mallam Mohammed Bello once assured Abuja residence of his administration’s initiated programmes under the Public-Private Partnership to address the 1.7 million housing deficit in the FCT.
Bello who was represented at the event by Umar Shuaibu, Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Management Council (AMMMC), released the information at the opening of the 12th Abuja Housing Show in Abuja. He said that the initiative was in line with private sector driven housing policy. He posited that it is parts of the cardinal objective of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to ameliorate pains associated with housing deficit in the FCT.
Though, the new policy, according to him, will acknowledge the private sector as a key partner in the delivery of housing for the country.
Effect of Poor Housing Conditions on Residence
It has been observed that the causes of poor housing conditions in Karu/Nyayan area were; Population explosion, lack of proper waste management and uneven spacing of buildings which creates un-conducive environment among others.
There exist; dilapidating government allocated buildings which was allocated to civil servants in Karu site and some parts of Nyayan where early settlers among Abuja work force were accommodated by the then military authority at the time of the relocation of the FCT to Abuja.
However, Karu Site in particular in I objective today boasts of good road network, which unlike the previous administrations in charge of the FCT and AMAC that lacks maintenance culture; but the incumbent administrations of Mallam Mohammed and the AMAC Chairman, Kandido has really done much to fix most of the damaged roads in Karu and Nyayan, including turnaround maintenance of what used to be poor waste disposal and management, lack of good water supply in Karu/Nyanyan areas.
Abuja Master Plans
As part of the problems bedeviling the Abuja master plans and the continuous destructing of the well laid down structure in some parts of the Abuja suburbs, the FCT Minister, Bello once quoted, he said since mid 2000, funds allocated to the FCTA by the Federal Government had continued to dwindle, thereby making it difficult to cater for the large population influx into the city.
The minister noted that due to the importance of housing, the Abuja Master Plan has apportioned a land area of 12, 486 ha for housing development, which represents 49 per cent of the total land area in the territory with 100 per cent funding by the government.
But some event watchers sees it beyond the long term solution to the decayed Abuja master plan.
Some posited that it would be in the best interests of the overwhelmed populations of Karu/Nyayan, if strict implementation of laws governing building, its standard and requirements and provision of necessary neighborhood facilities within the reach of the individual housing units in Karu and Nyayan,
They believe sticking to Abuja master plan should include maintaining already existing structures and discouraging house owners from building substandard houses by ensuring provisions of their building plans before commencing such projects.