Maduka Nweke, [email protected]
Housing shortage remains an issue of concern in Nigeria which governments at all levels have evolved numerous schemes to address.
For instance, the National Housing Policy came into force in 1991 to profer solutions to housing problems in Nigeria. The basic goal of the policy at inception was to provide affordable housing to accommodate Nigerians in livable environment and ensure that the low income groups also have access to affordable housing and other related facilities.
An unhygienic and unhealthy housing can affect the security, physical health and sanity of man. Provision of housing, which is central to human existence, is a demonstration of good governance that addresses the social, welfare and economic development of any society. No wonder the International Human Rights Agency recommends that government at all levels should do all within its power to provide for the housing needs of its citizens.
One can therefore argue that, the housing sector is the bedrock of any given economy and also an important tool for stimulating growth and development. Housing construction indices are some of the most common measures used by analysts to gauge economic growth in any country. In more advanced countries of the world, like the United States of America and Britain, the sector contributes significantly, between 30 percent and 70 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Moreso, investment in housing accounts for between 15 percent to 35 percent of aggregate investment worldwide and the sector employs approximately 10 percent of labour force worldwide thereby reducing unemployment and criminality rate.
In line with its agenda ‘Building the Future of Ogun State Together’ and its promise of a people centred government, Governor Dapo Abiodun-led administration said it has acknowledged the huge deficit in affordable housing for low income earners across the state. The Governor has allocated a large percentage of its resources towards ensuring that residents in the State have decent roofs over their heads, by gradually providing decent and befitting accommodation for all and sundry through one of its agencies, Ogun State Property and Investment Corporation (OPIC).
The agency has commenced the development of Kings Court Estate, with about 48,685.34 square meters of approximately 4.87 hectares of land, located along the Presidential Boulevard, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, the state capital.
The proposed Gated community would accommodate 51 villas of five bedrooms and an attached Boy’s Quarters, with other facilities including a shopping mall, club house, a recreation centre, potable water, swimming pool and uninterrupted power supply, among others.
The initiative, according to the Managing Director of the agency, Mrs Ibiyemi Adesoye would aid the growth of the state’s economy as an investment hub in Nigeria, by attracting investors considered fundamental to the economic development and the individual prosperity of the state.
Another giant stride in this direction is the proposed Family Homes Estate at New MakunCity which is an initiative of Family Homes Funds ( FHF), a Federal Government Social Housing Project in collaboration with the State Government that aimed at making housing affordable and available for low-income earners in the Country.
Having realised the position of the State and government’s determination towards providing affordable housing for its citizenry, the Ogun was chosen as one of the pilot states to test-run the scheme. Currently, the scheme is on-going with 36 units of studio flats, 456 units, each of 1 and 2 bedroom flats and 72 units of 3 bedroom bungalows at various stages of completion.
With the latest development, residents in the state can boast of a world class secured, peaceful and serene environment that would meet their day-to- day challenges.
The Dapo Abiodun-led administration has demonstrated its determination to make housing, not only available, but affordable to the people of the State. This is underscored by the recent giant strides by OPIC and Ogun State Housing Corporation which is a sister agency, established and saddled with similar mission to ensure that people in the state-owned or, at least, have access to decent, safe and sanitary housing accommodation at affordable cost with secured land tenure.
The good news for the citizens is the commencement of mass housing estates across the state at affordable prices to address the housing deficit in the state.
Governor whose ideology is premised on ‘Building Our Future Together’ has not left out the civil servants and has assured them of the construction of more housing schemes that would not affect their take-home pay.