Felix Koyenikan, an engineer and the immediate past Acting Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) announced in November 2008 of a planned additional 3000 housing units in parts of Abuja; infrastructure upgrade of FESTAC Town in Lagos, and the proposed development of FESTAC Phase 2. This is more or less the regeneration of the FESTAC Town built in 1977 by the FHA and which has since degenerated into a massive ghetto. However, while all the properties in FESTAC Town have been bought, this should not count as additional provision of affordable housing. It is not social housing either. More recently, according to ThisDay Newspaper of 7 December 2008, Jube Jemide, FHAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new Acting MD promised a recapitalisation that would list the Authority on Nigeria’s Stock Exchange within 12 months. He had promised a week earlier to also tackle mass and affordable housing. Stock Exchange quotations and affordable housing provision in the same breath are new directions in the housing industry and profession.We also have to commend moves made by the Nigerian Government, through the former Minister for Housing to elicit the help of the UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Chartered Institute of Housing, CIH, (a foremost, internationally respected professional housing body for people working in housing and communities) in establishing a similar professional housing body in Nigeria (Nigerian Institute of Housing), to serve the Nigerian housing sector. This will not only lead to recognised and accredited housing courses and training being established in Nigeria, but it points the way to a housing revolution in the country, since such a body will be at par with other professional bodies such as Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN); Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA); Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) and the likes (Adejumo, 2008). This is likely to pave way to social housing in Nigeria and may well lead to real life provision of affordable homes to the majority of Nigerians. GovernmentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ plans for a major house-building programme must be based on the premise that increasing the volume of accommodation in the country is the most important way to tackle the crisis of unaffordable housing in Nigeria. Also, promoting home-ownership should be an underlying objective of any governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s programme. Home ownership offers unparalleled opportunities for people to accumulate wealth, but for many citizens, it is not an option, and the provision of social housing for rent should be given equal priority.And with hundreds of Nigerians working in the housing industry, especially in housing management and related sub-sectors in the UK alone, the time is ripe for Nigeria to start providing affordable and social housing to her citizens, managed by these housing professionals, in association with their counterparts in related industries e.g. surveyors, civil engineers, estate agents, valuers, mortgage bankers, etc.Finally, since Housing is a Concurrent Item in the Nigerian Constitution, thus ensuring that we have 36 Housing Ministries and 36 Housing Corporations; it would be worthwhile for the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN) to put some of these points at the top of their agenda at their next meeting.
Peterside, C S, 2003. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Policy Foundation for Affordable Housing in Nigeria …Role of the Secondary Mortgage MarketÃ¢â‚¬Â Available online at www.nigeriaworld.com 14 October 2003
Akintokunbo Adejumo,Ã‚Â a social and political commentator on Nigerian issues, lives and works in London, UK as a housing professional.Ã‚Â He is a graduate of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1979) and University of Manitoba, Canada (1985); Associate Member, Chartered Institute of Housing (ACIH) and Member, Chartered Management Institute (MCMI). He is also the Global Coordinator of CHAMPIONS FOR NIGERIA, an organisation devoted to celebrating genuine progress, excellence, commitment, selfless and unalloyed service to Nigeria and the people of Nigeria.