1978 LAND USE ACT RESPONSIBLE FOR HOUSING PROBLEMS IN NIGERIA
By Ekwi Ajide
Sustaining housing development, especially for the low income group of society, has been a huge challenge to developing countries such as Nigeria and a development expert, Chief Elijah Onyeagba, is blaming the Land use act of 1978 for the greatest impediment to housing development in the country.
According to him, the land use act, which though meant to standardize land administration across the country, abolished all existing freehold systems.
The Enugwu Ukwu born Chief Onyeagba, who is the Director and Chief Executive Officer of Country Wire Housing Company, disclosed this when he had a one on one discussion on the reasons for failure in the housing sector with our correspondent in his office in Abuja.
He stated that powers of governors in relation to land ownership especially in the issue of granting licenses hampers development in the sector.
Chief Onyeagba regretted that land ownership and the manner in which state governments handle land matters would continue to hinder growth in the sector, saying that registration of land in Nigeria takes as long as ten years whereas it takes other African countries like Ghana, just thirty days.
He is of the opinion that stakeholders in the housing sector are not knowledgeable enough adding that unless the geographic systems are unified, so all states can see themselves, the problem in the sector will persist.
He enumerated addressing the land use act, funding, raising the value of land through provision of infrastructure and essential amenities such as road, water, light among others as the solution to the problems of a sustainable good and affordable housing scheme for low income earners.
According to him, there has never been a five million planned housing development in Nigeria and as such, banks are unwilling to give credit facilities to Nigerians saying that mortgage system can never succeed in the country as what exists now is likened to ripping off the citizens of their hard earned money as twenty five percent of the actual cost of the property bought.
The hosing expert while affirming that provision of affordable housing is a constitutional right of the citizens said that the construction sector keeps every one busy as it creates secondary market for mortgages, and creates jobs for the teeming youths.
Mr. onyeagba said land without infrastructure is bush but will lead to more development once it has all the necessary amenities such as roads, light, hospital among others adding that the construction industry provides money to develop other sectors.
He opined that crime is on the increase because there are no employment which the housing industry can provide and charged the private sector to assist by finding a way of developing capacity rather than going to neighbouring countries to access such expertise just as he advised government to make obtaining certificate of occupancy faster and less strenuous so as to make it easier for the populace to obtain loans from the banks with their landed property.