Some of the various housing schemes initiated by the federal government across the country are facing challenges, an investigation by the Daily Trust revealed. In this first part of a series, our correspondents in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Kwara and Benue states found out that the projects are contending with many issues. Some people interviewed said it would take a serious commitment on the side of the government to solve Nigeria’s housing deficit.
As part of efforts to bridge the country’s housing deficit, the federal government has come up with various mass housing schemes for low-income earners across the country.
For instance, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had in June 2020 approved N2.3 trillion Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) prepared by the Osinbajo-led Economic Sustainability Committee.
A component of the plan is the National Housing Programme which the CBN made an initial N200 billion for the construction of the social housing scheme for low-income earners.
The federal government stated that the plan was targeted to provide 300,000 low-income houses, thereby creating 1.8 million jobs in the process with each house to cost N2m.
Previous administrations have also rolled out various schemes to bridge the housing deficit in the country.
However, checks by our reporters showed that while the scheme has taken off in some states, othe projects are moving at a slow pace in others.
An article in the December 2019 Economic and Financial review publication of the Central Bank of Nigeria titled: ‘Addressing Housing Deficit in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Prospects’, x-rayed housing deficits across six African countries from 2016-2019 and concluded that Nigeria had the highest with 18-22 million housing unit deficit as at 2019.
In March 2015, the Federal Government, under the administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan, commissioned a 200-unit housing estate in Millennium City, Kaduna, as part of efforts to bridge the country’s housing deficit. The housing units which were fully funded by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) were among the first batch of Federal Government Mass Housing schemes across the country.
The Kaduna State Government had then provided 20 hectares of land for the project at no cost. It also constructed all access roads to the estate to ensure that the project was not abandoned halfway.
Six years after its commissioning and subsequent allocation to owners, the estate known as Ministerial Housing Estate is in a sorry state due to poor and inadequate foundation and general substandard work during construction.
Our correspondent who visited the estate observed large cracks, dampness and mould on the walls of the houses. Also, due to bad roads and lack of drainages in the estate, occupants have been facing flooding menace.
Following the poor conditions of the houses, wealthy landlords had demolished their houses and replaced them with better and standard buildings of their tastes.
Meanwhile, in 2016, the National Housing Programme kicked off at Rigachikun in Igabi Local Government Area of the state and is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, according to the project signpost. The project, which is in the first phase, is about 80 per cent complete with eight houses still under construction, while the second phase would be constructed in Zaria and Kafanchan, both in Kaduna State.
Our correspondent gathered that there are 80 houses comprising four units of one-bedroom, 28 units of three bedrooms and 24 units of two bedrooms. Other facilities like electrification, water facility, road construction among others are on the verge of completion.
When contacted, the Federal Controller, Housing Sector of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in Kaduna, Architect Aisha Yushau, could not give any insightful information on the estate in Millennium City as she claimed not to be the controller at that time.
She, however, said that the estate in Rigachikun was almost complete, but eight houses were yet to be completed. She added that the processes of acquiring the houses were underway. As for the houses that were expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2019, A’isha assured that they would soon be completed.