By Obas Esiedesa
The Federal Government says it is committed to ensuring that Nigerians have access to affordable housing through programmes that are sustainable.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, stated this in Abuja during a sensitization forum on ‘Lands, housing and urban development’ organized by the Ministry ahead of the 10th Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10) which comes up in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates between February 8 and 13, 2020.
He said the forum which the theme: ‘Achieving National Housing and Urban Development Goals: Opportunities for partnerships and technical Cooperation’ was designed with a view to ensuring coordinated, effective and harmonized participation of delegates to the WUF10.
According to him, “The forum will no doubt expose stakeholders to the challenges, gaps and opportunities for appropriate consideration and intervention purposes”.
Aliyu noted that world is witnessing rapid urbanization, which comes with severe ‘social, cultural, economic and environmental consequences’, reiterating the need to scale up actions, and leverage on the technical expertise and support that development partners at both global and national levels can lend to the process.
Speaking earlier, Mohammed Bukar, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Housing, said the sensitization forum could not have come at a more auspicious time in view of the diverse challenges which exist in the face of the phenomenal population and urban growth being experienced in the country.
He enjoined stakeholders and participants to contribute constructively to discussions and to exchange ideas towards enhanced planning and partnerships for building prosperous, sustainable and inclusive cities and human settlements in Nigeria.
He disputed a part of the presentation by Shelta Afrique Managing Director, Andrew Chimphomdah which claimed that Nigeria’s housing shortage has risen to 17 million.
He said there was no study to back such claims.
However, speaking to journalists at the venue, the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers President, Sir Roland Abonta admitted that Nigeria was facing huge housing problem.
Esv. Abonta harped on the need for government and stakeholders in the sector to move beyond serminar and workshop decisions to implementation of policies and pprogrammes to solve the problem.
According to him, “the problem is as big as the size of Nigeria. That is how the housing and urban development problem is in Nigeria. The simple reason is the issue of lack of planning.
“We do not have a consistent sustainable planning when it comes to housing and development. We have had a lot of policies summersault moving from one programme, from one policy to another. That has not encouraged consistency in our system. So the problem is as big as the nation itself because the nation is growing, the biggest maybe in Africa, in terms of population, in terms of requirements for urban services”, he added.