Shortage of affordable housing has been a teething administrative twinge of successive administrations in Lagos State. Giving the riverine taxonomy of Lagos landscape, availability of land for development is in much more restricted supply compared with most states of the federation.
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As the de facto commercial capital of Nigeria, the population of Lagos, which is estimated at well above 20 million, is becoming a social economic burden on infrastructural delivery. Notwithstanding the above narrative, Lagos seems to have missed a strategic and huge housing opportunity in Lekki Phase 2.
With a land area of 514.53 hectares, Lekki Phase 2 was designed and mapped out in 1996 to provide 3,095 residential plots, 64 commercial plots, 47 mixed development plots, 26 institutional plots and 17 recreational plots. This huge estate however is largely in a state of desuetude with more than 80 per cent of the landmass wearing the antiquated look of a thick forest.
The partially inhabited part of it remains isolated with security challenge as a major disincentive to neighbourhood ventures. The estate is already powered with electricity and almost all the roads are paved but landowners are not developing as expected owing to the exposure of the estate to insecurity.
Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has a rare opportunity to change this narrative and convert this estate to a liveable real estate. Lagos State government should commission LSDPC to fence the estate and manage all access both ingress and egress. Owners of plots should be made to pay service charge for maintenance of infrastructure most of which have largely failed due to negligence.
This singular act would not only turn this sprawling estate into developers’ delight, it would encourage plot owners to develop for habitation. One other disincentive to development in this estate is the governor’s withholding accent to hundreds of Certificate of Occupancy without which building approval can be processed. Lagos is losing huge revenue accruable from various inhabitants value chains in land use charge, development charge, building approval, consent fees and other sundry statutory revenues. If Governor Ambode takes a step in this direction it would go a long way to ease the convoluted housing deficit in Lagos State.
► Bukola Ajisola wrote from Lagos via [email protected]