By Maduka Nweke

In order to reduce the deficit in housing and increase the number of Nigerians sheltered, experts in the real estate industry have advised the federal government to confiscate any of the estates lying vacant while Nigerians are scampering for shade. The experts argued that most of the estates not sold, rented or leased are the ones built with money gotten fraudulently since the builders are not interested in renting, selling or leasing them to recoup their investments.

According to the Lagos-based estate surveying and valuation practitioner, Mr. Femi Oyedele, the government must make laws on abandoned properties, pointing out that a lot of properties are lying fallow in Nigeria. He explained that with the rate of corruption in Nigeria, subsidised housing will be warehoused by the rich if nothing is done to arrest the situation. He is of the opinion that only laws against abandoned properties can solve the problem.

On how to meet the housing needs of Nigerians, Oyedele suggested that the government should build farm settlements with two and three bedrooms flats in each settlement in the rural areas and provide tarred roads and electricity to the settlements.

According to him, higher institutions must be assisted by the alumni associations to have adequate staff quarters, while suggesting that individuals should be encouraged to form housing cooperatives with the aim of building themselves a home.

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Talking about Nigeria’s performance in the area of mass housing provision for the generality of its people in the last six decades, he said: “It is nothing to write home about. We have over 220 million people in Nigeria. At the rate of five people per house, we need over 44 million houses. The World Bank reported in 2018 that Nigeria had 17 million housing deficits.

“If the population of Nigeria stayed at 220 million and we built 1,000,000 units every year, it would take us 17 good years to meet our housing deficit. Unfortunately, we don’t build up to 100,000 units of housing anywhere in Nigeria. It only means it will take longer for us to break even.”

In order to have housing adequacy, Oyedele said that Nigeria would need to construct over 5,000,000 housing units in the next five years to accommodate existing deficit and increment occasioned by population increase.

Oyedele has this to say about mortgage: “Mortgage loan is a debt which a mortgagor takes to buy property. It can also mean a loan taken with one’s property to pledge a loan. Mortgage can only work among workers or income earners who can pay back the loans.

“With Nigeria as the capital of poverty in the world, only workers who have work can take out a mortgage loan. Mortgage system in Nigeria cannot work. On what is required to change the narratives of the mass housing provision in Nigeria, he said the government must see housing the people as a priority. Right now, the the government does not see housing as a priority,” Oyedele said.