The preponderance of Lagos State government placing undue bottlenecks in securing Land titles and documentations have been identified as a major clog in the wheel of the state’s effort at ensuring affordable and habitable housing for her teeming population.Of the 17 million housing units needed to satisfy the accommodation needs of Nigerians, Lagos State boasts of two million housing units deficit and will need at least, 187,500 new homes over the next five years to meet the needs.
Experts in housing and urban development sector, who spoke at an Urban Housing Talk on Lagos Homs organized by Heinrich Boll Stiftung in Lagos, said, the state’s dream of meeting the two million housing units deficit will continue to be a mirage until the government see less of monetary gains on land and title documentations.
The state Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, recently said that the state has introduced a rent-to-own policy, along with the construction of mass houses to reduce the gap. The policy, he said provides a way to for low and medium income earners to pay for houses within 10 years, at six per cent interest rate.
He also revealed the government’s plan to construct 50 housing units in all of the 20 Local Council Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).But the Project Director of Arctic Infrastructure, a private Lagos based organisation with broad focus on infrastructure, Urban development and environment, Mr. Lookman Oshodi, said public participation will not work without first dealing with the cumbersome nature of security tenure prevalent in the state.
According to them, if states like Lagos can assure citizens and developers of easier access of titles and land documentations, the huge housing deficits would be reduced.He stressed that insecurity of tenure or lack evidence of documentation that can be used as a proof of secured tenure has robbed the state of several housing units that could have added to the efforts of the state government.
According to him, this is so, when security of tenure is one of the indicators of habitable housing.Stressing that government cannot alone provide the needed housing units for over 4661,194 households in the state, Oshodi urged the state government to work out a modality that will reduce the cost and inevitable stress involved in securing titles and land documentation in the state.
The expert of infrastructure, urban and international development, who has worked on various housing and urban projects with several international NGOS, said many developers have discarded social housing scheme because of the huge cost paid to government agencies.
Also former Chairman of Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Institution of Estate surveyors & Valuers (NIEVS), Mr Sola Fatoki said the cost of security of tenure and titles should be reduced while government make land available for investors to mitigate the gap in housing units in the state.
The estate surveyor and Principal partner of Sola Fatoki& Company, said social housing could only be possible when government see less of land documentation and titles as a means of generating money.
“Social housing is not possible in Nigeria with the rigorous and cumbersome documentation process in Lagos and other Nigerian states.He therefore called on the state government to improve on its available housing stocks and review all housing programmes in the state with a view to make it affordable for the majority of its citizens as well as encourage private developers by giving them incentives and lands.