• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Sanwo-Olu and the quest to bridge the Lagos housing deficit

Housing and decent accommodation remain a major challenge in many urban and megacities across the world. For Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, the surging population estimated at over 22 million people poses an even greater challenge. In this piece, Joshua Bassey writes on efforts being made by the state government to bridge the housing gap:

Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist and professor, is famous for his hierarchical presentation of human needs. Maslow in his theory placed the physiological needs of man at the bottom of the pyramid and argued for them to be met first before other higher needs.

These basic requirements for human survival include air, food, shelter, clothing, etc. The absence or inability to meet these basic needs can, in some cases, lead to irrational behaviours by the citizens and destabilise society if not properly handled.

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Indeed, in some modern urban cities, including Lagos, such irrational dispositions have seen residents take over bridges and convert public infrastructure into residential homes which pose security threats to society and exert undue pressure on the government.

It is within this context that housing provision for the citizens is prioritised by governments around the world – either directly or in partnership with the private sector.

For example, Chapter II, section 14(2) (b) of the Nigeria Constitution 1999 (as amended), addresses the government’s social responsibility to improve the quality of life of the citizens, including the provision of suitable housing.

By the sheer size of its population, Lagos, Nigeria’s smallest state by landmass, has its fair share of the housing challenge.

According to some industry analysts, the housing deficit in Lagos sits at over three million, and at the same time, this basic need is getting more expensive and out of reach to low and medium-income earners.

Taking cognizance of this challenge against the background of the state’s estimated 22 million residents, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at his inauguration on May 29, 2019, presented a six-pillar THEMES Agenda in which the drive for urban renewal and decent shelter is captured in the M Pillar: Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy.

“By investing in critical infrastructure, we will accelerate the growth of our economy and empower the private sector who are the real engines of growth.

“We must break the deadlock that shackles our power distribution, provide sustainable urban settlements that address the current deficit; while at the same time building a smart city that achieves urban harmony and sets a new bar in our nation,” Sanwo-Olu said in his inaugural speech.

In keeping with this commitment, the administration has directly and in collaboration with the private sector completed and handed over several housing estates in different parts of the state.

Among these are the 48 housing units of Greater Lagos LBIC Apartments in Ogba-Ijaiye, Agege, where 14 families whose houses were demolished for the construction of the Pen Cinema Bridge, were given new accommodation.

Read also: How frequent market fire deepens housing deficit in Lagos

“Everyone will agree with me that housing is one of the basic requirements of every human being. When Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu emerged as the governor of Lagos State, he promised to build another place for us. Although we did not believe him; we are here today to collect the keys to our place.

“Today, our joy has no measure. This is clear evidence that Mr Governor will deliver his clear manifesto to the people,” said Esther Ogunbanjo, on behalf of the 14 families who were allocated the apartments in 2022.

Other housing projects delivered by the Sanwo-Olu administration include 480-unit housing project in Ibeshe, Ikorodu; 774 housing units LagosHOMS, Sangotedo Phase 1; 100 housing units in Ikate, Lekki; 360 home units, comprising 120-units home in Igbogbo in the Ikorodu; 252 home units, Idale, Badagry; 84 home units in LagosHoms Lekki, Phase 2, and 132 units (88 home units and 44 home units of 3-bedroom apartments respectively) at the BRF Housing Estate, Iponri, Surulere.

The government has also completed and commissioned 120 units Courtland Villas, Igbokushu, Lekki; handed over apartments’ keys to 492 beneficiaries of the Lateef Kayode Jakande Housing Estate, Igando, completed 360 housing units at Igbogbo in Ikorodu, and also completed 660 housing units at Odo-Onosa-Ayandelu Housing Scheme in Agbowa LCDA.

At the commission of the Greater Lagos LBIC Apartments in Ogba-Ijaiye, Sanwo-Olu said, “The handing over of this project is a testament to our commitment towards providing affordable housing to the good people of Lagos State.

“Given the significance of shelter as a basic human need, this administration has been determined, from Day One, to decisively tackle the housing challenges faced by the residents of Lagos.

“For us, this is not only about the availability of housing but also about the affordability. We are concerned about ensuring that, not only are the houses reasonably priced but that there are also creative financing mechanisms that give people the capacity and convenience to pay based on their incomes.”

Beyond the government’s direct involvement in housing development, the governor said his administration is also providing the enabling environment for private developers towards bridging the housing gap and bringing sanity to the Lagos built environment.

“I would like to appeal to all our agencies in the housing sector to continue to engage robustly with the private sector, as well as other stakeholders, to address the housing deficit in Lagos State.

“I enjoin us all to continue to support this administration as we strive to make Lagos State a truly 21st-century economy, a place where every resident can aspire to have adequate, safe and affordable housing options, in line with the United Nations, Sustainable Development Goal 11 which aims to promote sustainable cities and communities.”

The state government’s latest addition to the Lagos housing stock is the 270-unit Egan-Igando Mixed Housing Estate Cluster commissioned by Sanwo-Olu on Thursday, June 6, 2024.

The journey of the Egan-Igando Mixed Housing Scheme began in 2001, to deliver 846 housing units to sub-urban dwellers in the state. The project was later abandoned and transferred to the Lagos Building Investment Corporation (LBIC) in 2006 due to what officials blamed on paucity of funds.

However, the current administration has taken up the challenge, with the delivery of the first phase of the long-abandoned project.

At the commission on Thursday, Sanwo-Olu promised to complete the remaining 576 home units in clusters 2 and 3 of the mixed housing estate for more residents to benefit.

The governor said his government was ready to partner with the private sector to build more affordable housing estates in Lagos State.

“The completion of this project will address the urgent need for affordable housing and also foster a sense of community and belonging among our residents. This project is designed to cater to diverse economic groups, reflecting a vision of an inclusive society where everyone has a home.

“We must innovate and partner with private investors to bridge the gap, which we cannot do alone. We need to enhance our public and private investments in housing. We must continue to build decent homes. I will like to appeal to future occupants to please ensure good maintenance of these facilities.”

Read also: Establishing real data on housing deficit has become a problem and embarrassing situation for Nigeria’

The project, according to Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, the housing commissioner, stands as a testament to Governor Sanwo Olu’s commitment to providing affordable and quality housing for the residents of Lagos.

Akinderu-Fatai said at the commissioning: “This significant occasion marks the completion of 270 units of 2-bedroom apartments, a vital step towards alleviating the housing deficit in Lagos, hence bringing succour to the beloved people of the Igando-Ikotun LCDA in Alimosho LGA.

He explained that despite significant interest and financial commitments from over 924 subscribers, the project stalled again and was taken over by the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure in 2013.

With very minimal progress recorded, the project was returned to the Ministry of Housing in 2016 by Akinwunmi Ambode, the former governor of the state.

“In a transformational pursuit to making Lagos a 21st Century Economy under the Year 2019 T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of our able governor, Babajide Sanwo Olu, a holistic approach to complete the Egan-Igando Mixed Housing Scheme alongside other ongoing projects began.

This led to the strategic division of the project into three clusters to facilitate its completion. It was also discovered that many buildings had failed structural integrity, leaving us the difficult but necessary decision to pull down the compromised structures and erect new ones.

“Today, we are proud to present Cluster 1, with 45 blocks consisting of 270 units of 2-bedroom apartments with complimentary infrastructure. We not only celebrate the completion of these units but also the resilience, dedication, and hard work that has brought this vision to reality,” Akinderu-Fatai said.

The commissioner further reaffirmed the commitment of the government to completing Clusters 2 and 3 of the Egan-Igando Mixed Housing Estate to ensure that every promised unit is delivered.

“May I, also add that Mr. Governor, in his magnanimity has graciously approved that all existing subscribers with full payment for either a unit of 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom flat be allocated this very cluster at no additional fees to the selling price. This is to appreciate their trust and commitment over time in our dear state.

“However, other subscribers with more than 50 percent commitment on the initial selling price shall be considered with an option to balance up at the current selling price,” the commissioner said, adding, “Please be informed that when the clusters 2 and 3 of the scheme is delivered in due course, there will be an additional 576 homes to the housing stock in the area, thus bringing us to the original vision of the project.”

The infrastructural components in the estate include a network of well-structured roads, a well-channeled drainage system, an ingestion station, ample car parks, potable water, a perimeter fence, a central sewage treatment plant and electricity transformers.

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