Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has described it as “absolute foolishness” for some Nigerians to believe that the country has a 17 million housing deficit. Speaking on ARISE News Channel, Fashola argued that there’s nowhere in the world where such a figure exists, and disclosed that he had reached out to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the World Bank, and one of his predecessors in office to authenticate the information, which he said they all disowned.

Fashola admitted that Nigeria has an urban housing gap, but stated that the deficit data quoted by several Nigerians was non-existent. He also pointed out that Nigeria has a huge shelter problem, with a large number of citizens going after the largely limited houses, making purchase and rental of accommodation extremely expensive, unaffordable, and inaccessible for many Nigerians.

While admitting that there are deficits, the minister contended that the deficits are in the urban centres because people leave their homes in the rural areas to come and squat or rent houses in the urban centres. He urged the states to focus more on addressing the rental side of the housing problem, noting that the most problematic side has been rentals.

Fashola disclosed that the support industry, mining for construction materials, sand aggregates, crushed tools, and housing construction are employing more people than when he took office. He also revealed that the contract for the tortuous Benin-Sapele-Warri road has just been awarded, and funding was received from the NNPC.

In conclusion, Fashola believes that President Muhammadu Buhari is leaving Nigeria better than he met it, and it is essential to diagnose and define problems before implementing solutions. Thus, he reiterated that insisting on the country having a 17 million housing deficit is “absolute foolishness.”