Housing policy in Nigeria can be defined as the government’s action on its people’s housing objectives. Basically, whenever the government gets directly involved in the housing objectives of its people, either by taking actions to provide shelter for her citizenry or by taking actions to improve the quality of the shelter of its people, we are talking about ‘government housing policy’.
A second perspective of housing policy would be government interventions and subsidies on housing. In this case, we are talking about any government effort to make housing affordable for its people or and its attempt to take care of the housing of its homeless citizenry.
Since housing is one of the most fundamental needs of the human race, it goes without saying that everyone should be interested in knowing and understanding the government policies out there that could make it easier or more difficult for one to get his/her own basic shelter or the house of his dreams. This article intends to bring up the main points of the Nigerian Housing Policy so that you may be aware of the laws, regulations and rules surrounding the housing issue in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Housing policy and its challenges
In 1991, Nigeria got a new housing policy that was intended to provide solutions to the problem of housing her increasing population. Twenty years later, the government confessed its inability to achieve the then set objectives and went on to review the National Housing policy. In 2012, Nigeria got her latest national housing policy that promised Nigerians “real mass housing which the country has been dreaming of”.
The new national housing policy emphasized the introduction of mass housings that will provide houses for Nigerians of all financial levels. The policy also introduced the concept of social housing stating that the government hoped to provide housing for even “the poorest of the poor” by making houses that aren’t for luxury but that will ensure every Nigerian gets a house.
Three years later, in 2015, I decided to check with the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and ask about the progress made with housing the poorest of the poor and how can one get the social houses the government promised. I was replied that the government has not started on that project. Surprised, I asked why it is taking so long and the angry director told me “don’t you know that there is a planning stage before execution? Who among you set out to build a house without first counting the cost? And besides, that government has been ‘toppled’ so its promises were ‘toppled’ with it”. [Notice his choice of words].
So you see, even though Nigeria has a good housing policy on paper the good will of the government has not been translated into results for the average Nigerian. We should note however, that the government alone cannot provide solutions to the Nigerian housing crisis and though there has been an increasing private sector involvement in the provision of affordable housing to Nigerians, the focus has been more on luxury housing than on necessary housing.
In Nigeria’s rural communities, the housing challenge comes in terms of quality. Spacious houses are available but most are not built to standards and almost all come with very bad sewage facilities. In the urban regions, housing crisis is mostly in terms of quantity, even though quality problem persist in urban slumps. Houses are built in conformation to standards with good sewage facilities but with very small rooms the size of a chicken coop leading to poor ventilation. And respiratory health problems
To conclude this article, I think the most important thing that you have to know is that the Nigerian housing market is totally untapped and great opportunities abound for entrepreneurs that can provide quality and quantity housing at affordable pricing. If you are seeking to go into real estate, there are really no laws holding you back as the government is trying to increase private sector involvement in this sector. Nigeria is a gold mine for real estate development.
Got a different view on the housing challenge in Nigeria? The comments section provides you an opportunity to voice your thoughts.