You don’t have to look too far to know that inadequate housing is an issue in Nigeria. People living in informal settlements, overcrowded (face me, I face you) quarters, squatters, the displaced, the list can go on, explain the extent of this problem.
Yet, elation over the news about President Muhammadu Buhari commissioning 748 housing units in Abuja and similar ones is hard to find. Because for starters, the poor state of housing in Nigeria is a multifaceted problem.
To elaborate, in 2019, the Minister of Works and Housing claimed that the then developing 784 housing units were for the average Nigerian, suggesting that the houses should be affordable and available to the average Nigerian.
Even during the launch of the houses, the president echoed similar sentiments saying building these houses was a testament to his government’s ‘fulfilled promise’ of lifting people out of poverty. But try shaking away the irony in these statements after looking up the prices of these homes.
The Federal Housing Authority, an agency of the federal government charged with ensuring urban development across Nigeria, said the houses were going for ₦7 million to ₦13 million or $15,217 to $28,260 using the official rate of $1 ₦/460) and depending on their features. Yet, about 133 million are in multidimensional poverty, and only 3.7 million Nigerians live above $10 per day, meaning only about 1% of the population can afford these housing units.
This raises serious questions about Nigeria’s approach