The Federal government’s plan for adequate, affordable and habitable shelter for all by the year 2020 has been described as a mire slogan because governments at all levels have left housing development for the private sector.
Chairman, Nigeria Institute of Town Planners, Rivers State Chapter, Dr Chris Ibeakuzie who stated this said unless governments at all levels embark on aggressive housing development between, now and then, the target of the programme would not be possible in the country.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with The Weekend Tide in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Dr Ibeakuzie who is also a senior lecturer in the department of Urban and Regional Planning, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt disclosed that houses being developed by the private sector are targeted at providing accommodation for the very rich and middle class in Nigeria.
He insisted that majority of the citizens who belong to the low income group are not accommodated because they still need houses that are subsidised by the government due to economic crunch inflicted on the people by the corrupt practices of the leaders.
The university don wondered that if Israeli government is still building houses for the citizens, there was no reason why governments in Nigeria should not build houses for the teeming population that are not accommodated.
Using United Nations study in Port Harcourt where housing settlements were described as the worst in the world, Dr Ibeakuzie wants the state government to embark on aggressive housing development to provide adequate and affordable houses for the people.
He suggested that the Rainbow Housing Estate development project should be replicated in ten different locations in the state so as to go along way to address the problem of accommodation in Port Harcourt.
On the 30,000 housing units promised in the Greater Port Harcourt City by the present administration, the NITP boss wondered how the promise would be realised now that the administration is close to three years and Governor Chibuike Amaechi has continued to say that he would not run for second term.
The expert in the built environment therefore reasoned that the only way to sustain the aggressive housing development as contained in the Greater Port Harcourt City Development plan is for Governor Amaechi to take a second term so as to complete the on-going housing schemes in the state.
He maintained that his call is predicated on the fact that new administration always abandon noble projects and programmes of their predecessors in the state.