Efforts by the federal government to ensure that housing deficit in the country and the spate of unemployment among young Nigerians and other myriad of problems faced in the country are addressed have been mired in controversy.

Often, Nigerians have bemoaned the high economic and social instability pervading the polity which are patent proofs that all is not well, as most of the situations stem from corrupt practices.

While many Nigerians are bent on accusing the federal government of not doing enough to tame corruption, others believe that although the government is formulating pragmatic policies towards ensuring national development, these are hampered by other forces in government.

In Nigeria, housing policy has failed to respond to the needs of the urban poor. The cost of new housing, including those built by government agencies, is significantly in excess of what the larger segment of the population can afford.

The consequence is the rapid growth of informal settlements, slums on the edge of Nigeria’s major cities, with obvious drawbacks for economic development, health, safety and security.

The federal government had devised an initiative of doing things differently. The government identified mass housing as an important aspect of its Economic Growth and Recovery Plan, and more recently its Economic Sustainability Plan.

The plan is a commitment to the bridge the housing deficit in Nigeria through an infrastructural development of 500,000 unit homes across the country and to create up to 1.5m new jobs with an amount gulping N1.5 trillion.

This mandate was given to the Family Homes Funds Limited which was registered in 2017 and commenced operations in 2018, as an acclaimed Africa’s largest housing fund focused on affordable homes for low income Nigerians. But it appears this agency has been unable to meet its mandate.

This failure came on the heels of promises made to Nigerians by the federal government that it would deliver 500, 000 housing units yearly, and that it would establish a vibrant mortgage system with a single digit interest rate to ease home ownership.

On his part, the Goodluck Jonathan administration at the setting up of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), which, the government at the time claimed would drag down interest rate to single digit in order to enable affordable housing delivery, ended up in futility.

Coming to the Muhammadu Buhari administration and its promise to build about 500,000 housing units, and take many Nigerians above poverty line through massive job creation with N1.5 trillion, many Nigerians are yet to be taken out of the streets as there is still visible housing deficit in the country.

Of the 500,000 housing units promised by the federal government, only 13, 000 houses are allegedly built, representing only 2.6% of their mandate. Thus, the big question by Nigerians, where are the houses?

Nsikak Ekpenyong
Uyo, Akwa Ibom state