In recent years, the problem of housing has become one that every country battles with as the population of the world increases by leaps and bounds. The urbanization of remote places is on the rise taking with it the cost of housing. The relative cost of housing for the average person has exponentially increased in the last 10 years due to a lot of factors most notably the cost of building materials and the standard of living. This rise can be effectively managed in a country with a somewhat steady economy. However, Nigeria with its floundering economy does not seem to be coping well these changes.

During the colonial period, pockets of houses with great amenities were established all over the country and termed Government Residential Area (GRA’s). These homes solved the issue of housing for the group of people who needed it as urbanization was not as widespread as it is today. However, urbanization has increased and the houses at the GRA’s are not only very expensive, they are also not enough to satisfy the ever growing need for accommodation. So today, Nigeria is having a serious housing challenge. Millions are in dire need of decent shelter.

At the ALTERNATIVE PARTY, we have identified the problems limiting access to good housing. The poor state of housing in Nigeria is due to a lot of factors such as unstable economy, ineffective policies, high cost of rents, high cost of building materials and lack of proper planning etc.

UNSTABLE ECONOMY

The Nigeria economy is very unstable. The ever fluctuating market and marginal interest rates are all characteristics of an unstable economy. This affects the standard of living of the average citizen and by extension affects his ability to provide his basic needs which includes Housing. Many Nigerians don’t live in decent houses with basic amenities. The middle class struggle to rent houses while the lower class put up with makeshift homes in communal compounds. The unstable economy would also affect the quality of houses being built and rented out to people.

INEFFECTIVE POLICIES

The Land Use Act of 1979 vested ownership of land in Nigeria to the government. To this end, everyone seeking to acquire proprietary interest in land must have recourse to government by obtaining a certificate of occupancy for a maximum period of 99 years. This law has exposed Nigerians to severe hardship and the rigorous bureaucratic bottlenecks involved in securing government consent for transfer of title to land. Consequently, this has increased the cost of land and become a major disincentive to crucial investments in housing thus leading to a major housing deficit.

At the Alternative party, we will seek a judicial review of the Land Use Act and other laws governing property rights in Nigeria.

HIGH COST OF RENTS AND POOR QUALITY OF HOUSES.

It has become a frequent occurrence for tenants to grumble over increase in rents and for land lords to have disputes with their tenants. Landlords usually fix their rents without the input of the government and can inflate or reduce it at will.

At the Alternative Party, we believe that the government should not interfere with market forces by fixing prices for rent, but we will reform our laws to ensure that landlords don’t fleece their tenants. The law will ensure that landlords and property owners make reasonable profits from their investments while protecting tenants from unjustified increase in rent.

HIGH COST OF BUILDING MATERIALS

The cost of building a House is mind staggering as building materials are very expensive and beyond the reach of most Nigerians. As a party, we will set up viable mortgage loan schemes that will help the masses build and acquire their own homes across Nigeria.

LACK OF PROPPER CITY PLANNING

Due to the increase in the demand for housing, it is very common to see houses built inappropriately or in bad locations. Apart from the very large cities of Abuja and Lagos, most cities in Nigeria were not properly planned and people have built houses without due regard or adherence to building regulations. This has led to the proliferation of urban slums across Nigeria

As a party, we have evolved a Housing plan to deal with these issues including the lack of basic infrastructure that have impacted negatively on housing in Nigeria. We hope to partner with the private sector to build Mass Housing units with adequate infrastructure across the 36 states of the federation.

The Federal Housing Authority and all building regulatory agencies shall be overhauled to step up on its mandate to provide cheap and affordable shelter for millions of Nigerians while taking into cognizance the need for proper city planning and adherence to building regulations.

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