By Omodele Adigun
The Minister of Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has put a lie to the stereotype that the country has 17 million or 22 million housing deficit.
According to Fashola, who debunked the claim Friday at Lafarge Africa Plc quarterly webinar-Concrete Ideas-, there is no proven record or data to support that claim.
Speaking on its theme, New Solutions for Nigeria’s Urban Housing, Fashola, who was the Special Guest of Honour, explained that the figure was fabricated by a faceless individual who smuggled it into the preface of a policy document, produced by the Federal Ministry of Works & Housing in 2012.
Explaining how he unravelled the mystery, he said:
“I will start my intervention at this session by inviting our attention to slide on page 16 of the notice of this event sent to me, which deals with Housing Challenges in Nigeria, under the memo highlighting a housing deficit estimated at 22 million homes. That is misdiagnosis of the problem. Nigeria does not have a housing deficit of 22 million homes. There is no proven data to support that statement or claim. “When I took office as Minister for Works and Housing, one of the things that I was confronted with was 17 million homes.How could we deliver that? Where is the data? What is the source? And somebody said World Bank. So I invited the Country Manager of the World Bank and said this is credited to you. He said we had no hand in it. Somebody said it was Africa Development Bank (AfDB). And so I sent for the Country Representative of AfDB, and he said we knew nothing about it. And so, I said where could I go again? I called the DG of the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics(NBS). I said DG, you keep our data and numbers. Do you have data about the number of people who need homes in Nigeria? He said no, we don’t have it.
“But where did this figure of 17 million come from? “And I kept digging, and I found where 17 million came from. I found out that it came from my Ministry. In 2012, there was a policy document. And in the preface, somebody just put it there. I have called my predecessor on this desk and I asked, did you sign this thing? He said yes. And our position is that there was no data to support what was said. So quote me, Nigeria does not have 17 million or 22 million housing deficit.It is a lie.”