From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta

The provision of affordable housing for Nigerians will continue to be a herculean task until federal and state governments are ready to partner with private real estate developers and financial institutions, says real estate expert Osokoya Adewale Morenikeji.

The real estate developer, the Managing Director of Terrific Outfits and Celebrity City Limited, declared that government alone cannot meet the housing demands.

Osokoya, who stated this at the sidelines of the official inauguration of the Celebrity Estate Project, held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, referenced UN statistics which estimates that Nigeria has a housing deficit of 22 million homes, stating that ‘in the next ten years, the number of Nigerians with no homes will have doubled.’

He called on the government at all levels to make land and finances available for real estate developers.

‘Government must provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive. It must formulate policies that will encourage the private sector to come into the real estate sector, provide affordable housing for the people,’ he added.

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Giving suggestions on how government can curb land-related crisis in the country, Osokoya said head of families that own land must be directly involved in land purchase and ownership processes.

He explained that the move became necessary in order for the private sector to complement governments’ efforts to ensure peaceful resolutions in matters of land ownership disputes, sales and property development in any part of the country.

According to him, land-related crises have contributed significantly to the crime indices of both Lagos and Ogun states, leaving a trail of killings, fraud, threats to life and property and huge economic loss.

While commending the pace-setting efforts of both the Ogun and Lagos State Governments at curtailing the trend, through the passage of Anti-grabbing Laws, Osokoya urged governments in the two states to be more decisive in dealing with promoters of land-related violence, while calling on family heads of landowners to collaborate more with the government to end such violence.

On the Celebrity Estate Project, he said the need to redirect the aspirations of Nigerian youths by immortalizing credible achievers gave birth to the concept of the project, which aims to name its streets, gardens, parks and recreation centres after exemplary Nigerians.

He added that the estate covering over 1000 acres within Arepo and Ishawo axis, has a long list of Nigerian legends, both living and deceased, whose achievements in various fields such as sports, entrepreneurship, education, industrialization, politics, and security services, among others, are seen as capable of inspiring human capacities development in profitable ventures and redirecting the energies of the youths from criminal activities.