By Emmanuel Elebeke
The President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers NIESV, Mr. Rowland Abonta, has stated that Nigeria is breeding criminal elements with wrong housing provision, pointing out that there is need for federal government and stakeholders in the housing sector to address the trend by not playing politics with the issue of housing but should engage in proper planning towards solving the problem of housing deficit in the country.
Mr. Abonta made the observation on Saturday during the Inaugural meeting of 2019/2020 National Council of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers held in Abuja.
According to him, Nigeria would become a better nation with better housing provision when stakeholders stop playing politics with housing issues.
“If you allow me, I will call on government and call on people of Nigeria to be honest with the issue of housing. It is not a political statement. It is a human requirement ranked as number two among human needs. The day we stop playing politics with it, the day we stop joking with it, then we will be a better nation.
“People do not know the ripple effect of the problem. A man who woke up in an indecent environment, brought up in an indecent environment, when he comes out, there is the tendency for him to be annoyed with nature. The criminal elements of today had a very poor background. Nigeria is breeding criminals with wrong housing provision. And the moment we stop that we will do better.
“The biggest challenge in the housing sector is the issue of planning. If you plan for nothing, you also target at nothing. Over the years, housing has been made a political issue such that every administration that comes into power spends some huge money which is not based on any indices at all.
“They do not know what they are providing for, neither do they attain the goal they set for themselves. But at the end of the day, some budget has been spent. So, where to start is to plan for housing. Where do you start from? It is to know what you need, which brings us to the issue of proper housing survey” said Abonta.
He argued that the 17 million-unit housing deficit being bandied about may not be correct because there was no empirical basis that gave rise to the figure, insisting that housing survey is necessary to determine the housing stock, and the existing housing needs in the country, adding that adequate planning will bring all other problems into proper perspective.
The NIESV president said it will be impossible for low income earners to own their houses with the kind of housing arrangement and financing available in the country.
‘’Elsewhere in developed climes, there is always provision for social housing, stressing that NIESV had in the past harped on the establishment of such housing scheme in the country but to no avail. A responsible system or government will insist that investors in the housing sector should dedicate a reasonable percentage of their investment to low income people”, NIESV boss noted.