IHRC partners FG, set to tackle 28m housing deficit in Nigeria

By Genesis Eririoma

With a deficit of 28 million houses, Nigeria needs urgent measures to provide affordable housing for her teeming population of around 200 million people. With this in mind, the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has revealed that it is in partnership with the federal government to reduce the deficit.

The Director of the Africa Region Headquarters of the commission, Dr Tivlumun Ahure, made this known this month in Abuja during a news briefing at an event that featured the unveiling of the new director of the IHRC Pro-Poor Housing Programme, Dr Edward Olutoke.

The director disclosed that the aim of the project was to contribute to the efforts of the Nigerian government to achieve the affordable housing goal listed under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) before 2030.

He explained that, for the country to achieve an increase and improved housing opportunities for low and medium income households, special needs populations, among others, concerted efforts at reducing it are required.

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He stated that: “Indeed, Nigeria faces a severe housing deficit as estimated by the Federal Mortgage Bank indicating a deficit of at least 28 million housing units.

“While the deficit cannot be addressed within the lifetime of an administration, a concerted effort at reducing it is however clearly required.

“This will entail creating linkages between provision of land to property developers, increased availability of housing finance, reduction in property transaction costs and job creation across sectors ancillary to the provision of additional housing stock,” he said.

He added that in January 2021, the Commission communicated with the federal government its intention to assist millions of people that live in slums and substandard houses to have adequate housing.

“The IHRC’s proposed Pro-Poor housing scheme in Nigeria is, therefore, going to be on a joint venture basis with the government.

“It will be to us a dream come true to facilitate an increase in housing stock via Public Private Partnerships (PPP) as well as through housing finance reforms,”.

While speaking after his unveiling, Dr Olutoke said that housing was key and important to every Nigerian as “it is fundamental to have a shelter over one’s head.

“For me, this is an assignment which I am committed to achieving.

“Housing is key, shelter is too key and fundamental and these are the things we toil within our decision making process.

“For instance, if we move 5,000 families from Asokoro or within the city centre to a new land, the house rents will definitely reduce and so the issue of high house rents will be a thing of the past,” he observed.

The IHRC is a worldwide voluntary group of individuals who are activists and diplomats in Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America and Africa without being affiliated with any government.

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