• Friday, July 12, 2024
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Lagos housing worsens as floods sack homeowners

Lagos housing worsens as floods sack homeowners

The housing shortage, a major challenge in Lagos on account of its growing population and fast-paced urbanisation, is getting worse with flooding incidents which have submerged communities and sacked homeowners.

As the smallest state in Nigeria in terms of landmass, which is about 0.4 percent of Nigeria’s total land area, Lagos has the largest population estimated at 22 million. As a result, the available infrastructure, including housing, is over-stretched, hence the deficit.

The housing deficit in the state is, according to a Pison Housing Company report on ‘The State of Real Estate Housing in Nigeria’ is about three million units. The report adds that the state has a very active rental market where about 80 percent of the population lives in rented accommodation, spending over 50 percent of their income on house rent.

Read also: Nigeria drowning in neglect: Floods, cholera, and the urgent need for action

This already bad situation has been made worse lately by flooding incidents since the start of the rainy season. Though the state is yet to have a repeat of the July 12, 2012 experience, the effect of Wednesday, July 3, 2024 incident was so much that the state government had to apologise to the residents for their ugly experiences.

“We are yet to recover from the impact of that incident. We lost most of our valuables to that Wednesday flood; my certificates and those of my wife were all drenched in water which took over our rooms,” Adeduro Jaiyeola told BusinessDay.

Jaiyeola added that they have abandoned their home in a new settlement in the Ketu area of Lagos and now living in one of the kinsmen’s house in Isashi, Ojo Local Government Area and will continue to live there till the rains stop to a considerable level.

Flooding incidents in Lagos are no respecter of positions or locations. It happens in both slum and highbrow areas, including Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki, especially Lekki Phase 1 where the rich abandon their mansions and take refuge in flood-free locations after each flooding incident.

The impact of the Wednesday, July 3 incident was so devastating that the state government had to apologise to the residents, especially those who were badly affected.

“My first pitch is to apologise to Lagosians for the disruption caused by nature yesterday. We had a 10-hour non-stop rain and the tidal level was up. The tidal level for the sea was up to the extent that the rainwater was not able to discharge for about one or two hours into the Lagoon and sea,” Wahab said on an Arise News programme.

Besides flooding, building demolition is also affecting the housing situation in Lagos. Though some housing industry experts reason with the state government that demolition is what the state needs to sanitise the urban sprawl, others say it is making worse an already bad situation as many homeowners are becoming homeless.

Read also: Nimet alerts of heavy rainfall, floods in 7 states

“Buildings demolition is good, more so if such buildings contravene physical planning and approval laws. But it would have been better if such houses were not allowed to be built at all. Government needs to be proactive and not reactive by preventing such buildings from being built,” Hakeem Oguniran, CEO, Eximia Realty, noted.

The state government, in the last couple of months, has gone on building demolition in a manner that has defied understanding of the real intent and goal in a city where many find homes under the bridge and other odd places.

However, the state’s commissioner for environment and water resources, Tokunbo Wahab, ways what the government is doing is not building demolition, but removing contraventions which, according to him, has been done in Mende, Lekki, Ikoyi, Banana Island, Park View and Alimosho.

This has also happened in other places, including Ajao Estate, Ikota and Abule-Ado, Oriade Local Council Development Area (LCDA) where many residents of King’s Royal Estate, 91 Road, Festac Phase 2. In each of these incidents, many residents were rendered homeless.

In each of these cases, many residents were thrown into the state’s overcrowded rental market as the government’s bulldozer reduced their buildings to rubbles.

“Perhaps, the state needs to do more in terms of regulations and development control. It is apparent that they lack the needed manpower to monitor all the development going on in the state but we have proposed to them to engage professionals like us to assist them in that regard,” an architect, who did not want to be named, said.