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………Effective Social Housing Scheme, Panacea for Urban Development Predicament.
By: Ade Adeleke
Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Afolabi Aribigbola, has described as a serious anomaly, the absence of up-to-date statewide plans and city master plans to guide, direct and control urban development in the country.
He made the call while delivering the 13th Inaugural Lecture of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, titled, “Urban Housing Development Quandary in Nigeria: Disconnect Between Policy and Reality”.
The Don therefore recommended introduction of effective social housing scheme that will be pro-poor as remedy to the predominant urban development predicament in Nigeria.
Prof. Aibigbola also stressed the need to strengthen the housing and urban development policies to accommodate households’ social demographic characteristics.
Prof. Aribigbola said, “To resolve the quandary in housing and urban development in Nigeria, there is a need for pro-poor housing and urban development policies. I also recommend the need to incorporate households’ social demographic characteristics into housing and urban development policies.
“This, essentially calls for the introduction of social housing scheme to take care of the needy that cannot take care of their housing needs. The social housing scheme must be vigorously pursued for the sake of the vulnerable that are majority in the country.
“It will help significantly by removing the serious disconnect between policy intention and actual housing delivery realities of housing situations of urban dwellers in Nigeria.”
The Inaugural Lecturer expressed concerns over the present approach and policy which allowed unfettered market forces in determining housing consumption.
He maintained that the policy would not achieve the desired results of access to decent, safe and affordable housing for all Nigerians.
He said the required housing policy must seek to expand housing provision that would meet the needs of urban dwellers in terms of quality and size, and create conducive avenues to increase the supply of housing units and ancillary facilities in the urban centres in order to eliminate the current housing shortage in the country.
The Don, while describing as a serious anomaly, the absence of up-to-date statewide plans and city master plans to guide, direct and control urban development in the country, which must be urgently addressed, said master plans must be prepared for all the cities in the country to ensure their orderly development and the welfare of urban inhabitants.
In line with the global best practices, the Inaugural Lecturer called for decentralisation of state planning machinery which empowered state governments to control the use and planning of lands, noting that the all stakeholders, including the local government councils must be involved in society affairs.
Earlier, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration),Prof. Olugbenga Ebenezer Ige, who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Igbekele Amos Ajibefun, had described Inaugural Lecture as a once-in-a-life-time endeavour for the presenter, and an opportunity for the University to showcase one of its numerous academic achievements, researches, innovations through its academic staff who has attained professorial cadre.