From LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
Since the beginning of this year, trucks conveying household items have become common sight in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital and other major towns, such as Offa and Omu-Aran. The trucks move either before sunrise or by sunset.
Like in one of the popular reggae artist, late Bob Marley’s captivating lyrics, Exodus, it is a movement of the people; suffocated residents running away from skyrocketing rents for accommodation occasioned by the harsh economic recession. It is an indication that families are moving away from the cities to other areas, including rural settings.
Shylock landlords raised rents out of their reach, and several families are finding it difficult to retain their homes, a situation that has compelled them to seek alternative, cheaper accommodation, or relocate to rural communities.
Investigation indicated that to rent a one-bedroom apartment commonly known as self-contain, which hitherto cost N40,000 now go for between N70,000 and N120,000 per annum, just as rent for a two bedroom flat which used to be N120,000, now goes for between N150,000 and N200,000, annually. A three-bedroom apartment costs between N250, 000 and N500, 000 depending on the location.
In Ilorin, tenants who could not afford the rent in Government Reserved Area (GRA), Tanke, Taiwo, Fate, Pipeline, Adewole and Unity areas, were moving out to places like Eiyenkorin, Ganmo, Afon, Airport Road, Kulende and Oyun.
Abdulakeem Olasunkanmi, a civil servant, said he was forced to move to a low cost area when the hike in house rent became unbearable:
“I had to relocate from Pipeline area to Obanisuwa, Airport Road, when I could no longer pay rent for the two bedroom flat in my former house where I was paying N150, 000 per annum, but the landlord gave a notice of increment. This made me to relocate. Now, I live in a two-bedroom flat at N100,000 per annum. My brother-in-law also recently moved from Tanke to Osere axis where house rent is cheaper.”
A commercial motorcyclist who identified himself as James, said last week, he had to relocate from Taiwo Road where he lived in a two-room apartment, to Ogele village, Afon Road in Enyinkorin area:
“I had to take the decision to cut cost of living. I couldn’t cope with the house rent and other cost of living given my meagre income. I used to pay N10, 000 monthly for two-room apartment, but now pay N6,000 monthly as rent for same size of accommodation in my new area.”
For the newly wedded, Yusuf Damilola, his dream of starting a new home at GRA, Ilorin, was dashed by the high cost of rent in the area, prompting him to take up accommodation in Gbagba, Airport area:
“The financial pressure on most families and coming at a time when salaries of both public and private sector workers are no longer paid as, and when due, makes the experience more excruciating.”
A businessman, Alhaji Muhammad Farooq, who was residing in GRA until late last year, relocated to Egbejila Road in Asa Dam area as a result of high cost of accommodation. He told Daily Sun that he coughed out N250, 000 annually for a three-bedroom apartment in GRA, but now pays N180, 000 for the same apartment at Asa Dam.
Chairman of Estate Rent Commission Agents Association of Nigeria (ERCAAN), Chief Yomi Babatunde, however, attributed the hike in rent to the influx of people into Ilorin metropolis:
“Peaceful environment has attracted investors from other states into the city. This has brought about population upsurge resulting to competition. House rent is dependent on value of the property and location.
“For instance, there are houses in Tanke and GRA worth about N500, 000 or more. The fitting of any house determines the value as well as the location. You should not expect rent of a three bedroom flat in GRA to be same as Pakata area.”