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HOUSING PROBLEMS IN NIGERIA


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Housing problems abound in Nigeria both in rural areas and urban centres. The problem in the rural areas has to do with qualitative housing while the problem in the urban centre is quantitative in nature. Housing problems in the rural areas are connected with qualitative deficiencies like place, degree of goodness and the value of the house. Wahab (1993) declared that rural housing is incomplete because social services cannot be adequately linked with them. He submitted further that the social services required with housing include electricity, water supply, as well as transportation facilities. All these are deficient in rural housing. On the other hand, urban housing problems include homelessness slum dwelling, squatting and overcrowding. High rate of urbanization, ever-increasing population of urban dwellers in conjunction with the increasing social expectations of the people are all responsible for housing problems in Nigeria. Ibimilua and Ibimilua (2011) identified the problems of urbanization as inadequate housing, unplanned development, improper maintenance of existing structures, aging, absence of social infrastructure, waste management menace, crime, and health hazard. Additionally, the houses in the urban core areas are characterized by inadequate infrastructural facilities, poor ventilation, non-availability of in-built toilet and kitchen, as well as poor refuse disposal system. Other problems that are associated with urban housing are lack of effective planning, development of shanty towns, and availability of dilapidated houses.
            Generally, housing in Nigeria is bombarded with problems like poverty, discrimination against the use of indigenous materials, ineffective housing finance, inadequate financial instrument for mobilization of funds, high cost of building materials shortage of infrastructural facilities, as well as the bureaucracies in land acquisition, processing of certificate of occupancy (C of O), and approval of building plans.
Other constraints to housing development, maintenance and delivery are lack of effective planning, ineffective government programmes and policies, uncontrolled private sector participation, weak institutional frameworks and poor research and development into housing. In addition to the earlier mentioned problems, Agbola (1998) submitted that housing is inextricably interrelated with broader issues of inflation, income policy, and perplexing range of difficult social and economic trends. All these challenges culminated in the ever-increasing demand that cannot be met by supply.
Researches (Balchin, 1995; Onibokun, 1990; Baer, 1991; Mtafu et al, 2011; Aribigbola, 2006; Kabir, 2004; Charles, 2003) have suggested that housing problems cannot be eradicated. Even the developed countries still have some pockets of homeless people. In Nigeria, the problems of squatting, forced eviction and homelessness are common phenomena in major urban centres like Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Oweri and Kaduna. With a population of over 140 million people and over 35% living in the cities, the housing problem is very cumbersome. In fact, Falade (2007) projected that given an annual population increment of 2.8% and all other factors being equal, more than 62% will be living in urban centres in Nigeria by year 2020. Presently, urban centres are characterized by shortage of housing quantitatively, slum dwelling, squatter settlements, inadequate infrastructural amenities, squalor, overcrowding and generally poor living condition. At the national level, housing is characterized by abandoned projects, non-implementation of housing policies and neglect of the poor. Mtafu et al, 2011 pointed out that low income level and affordability are the major challenges. Other problems of housing delivery in Nigeria are connected with the imperfections in policy instruments and its implications. The problems can equally be traced to administrative bottlenecks, in housing delivery.

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