“It is not possible for everyone to own a house in Lagos” | #ThursdayTalks tackles affordable housing

In the wake of the mega-city plan of the Lagos State Government and the regular influx of people from all over Nigeria, Africa and indeed, the world, it is necessary to start a discourse on affordable housing in the state, what could be the problems and how these can be solved.

In the light of this, at a forum organised by YNaija, Enough is Enough (EiE) and BudgIT, bringing together thought leaders, change agents and stakeholders, the dilemma of affordable housing took the centre stage with Olayinka Patunola-Ajayi (Deputy Director of Estate, Lagos State Ministry of Housing); Samuel Akinrolabu (Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation); Lookman Oshodi (Arctic Infrastructure); Ugochi Sylvia (Trashhaters) and Bimbo Osobe (Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation) on the panel.

The panellists spoke on “Affordable Housing in Lagos: Possibilities and challenges“.

When asked what the Lagos government is doing to ensure affordable and adequate housing facilities in Lagos, Patunola-Ajayi said, “It is not possible for all of us to own a house. The present administration is thinking of going into rental housing.”

Speaking further, she said the scheme allows you make payment spread across ten years, “It strikes me that people spend a lot of money on things like recharge cards and find it hard to pay N75,000 monthly for Rent to Own scheme spread over 10 years.”

She adds, however, that there are a lot of projects to be carried out in Lagos and with the scramble and paucity of funds, affordable housing might seem too herculean – also considering the regular influx of people into the state.

On waste disposal, Patunola-Ajayi said, “As citizens, as residents of Lagos, we need to exercise caution. We do not care that waste is a problem and that is an attitude we need to change. The government cannot do it alone.”

When asked how the government can solve the problem of agent fees and the issue of two-year rent asked by landlords, Patunola-Ajayi said there is a centre in place to receive such cases.

To the same question of waste disposal, Ugochi Sylvia says there’s a disaster waiting to happen as the state has not planned well to ensure waste does not pose serious environmental and health problems for residents.

On the problem of housing, Sylvia says it cannot stop unless other state governments begin to make their state self-sufficient, because the usual “promise” is that Lagos is where you go for ‘greener pastures’.

On slum and so-called informal settlements, Bimbo Osobe said the government should consider the dwellers in their plans rather than displace them totally.

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