Association of Housing Corporation of Nigeria (AHCN) has canvassed for pragmatic approaches and appropriate strategies to tackle Nigeria’s housing deficit, in a bid to utilize housing as a veritable tool for economic recovery, thereby empowering citizens to reduce unemployment in the society.
The association argued that federal and state ministries’ involvement in direct construction should as a matter of exigency be terminated on the ground that their efforts had yielded little or no results in the housing sector.
The remedies were provided by the Council’s President, Victor Onukwugha in Abuja, during a speech on the state of the nation’s housing at an event commemorating World Habitat Day.
He stated that Nigeria’s housing challenges are surmountable if a holistic approach is adopted to saving the sector from total collapse.
According to him, the housing deficit will continue to grow, while many people and places, particularly urban areas, will be left behind if a concerted effort is not made to address the housing challenges of the country’s low and middle income groups.
While recognizing the fact that the housing sector possesses the most viable platform to rescue the nation from going into recession, he said: “It is time to stop playing politics with the destiny of the people, particularly the future of our youth and generation unborn.
“The rising unemployment and inflation rates in the country calls for serious concern as to what the future holds for the upcoming generation and this necessitates urgent action.
“Our governments both at the Federal and State levels have refused to mind the whopping housing deficit and housing challenges of the people especially in our urban cities and have indeed left Nigerians and our cities behind. Slum settlements are springing up in our major cities as a result of non-availability of decent housing and environment that are pocket friendly to most vulnerable Nigerians yet no notable government’s plan of resettlement or redevelopment. Security of lives and properties could no longer be guaranteed across our nation as bandits, kidnapping and menace of herdsmen and armed robbery pervade our entire society.
“Inflation is rising uncontrollably and many Nigerians in rented apartments are becoming homeless as a result of eviction arising from their inability to pay their rents. How long shall we continue as a nation to move in a circle without appropriate direction to develop our housing sector. This is not where we want to be and this was not the dream of a greater Nigeria.
“Housing sector has a great multiply effect on job creation and it has been tested and proven over time that a three bedroom unit has potential to engage at least about 25 skilled and unskilled labour ranging from Architect, Engineer, builder, bricklayers, masonry, carpenter, food vendors etc. The roles of Housing corporations in all of these cannot be underestimated.”
Onukwugha, therefore, restated the government’s commitment to provision of affordable and rental housing, proper funding of housing projects, and the establishment of agric villages to reduce rural-urban migration, noting that the comprehensive strategies are required to save the sector from future ruin.