A Port Harcourt-based property developer, Philemon Okwudu says the solution to addressing the housing problems in Nigeria is through the availability of land.
Okwudu reasoned that if the country’s housing needs must be met then land should be made available for real estate development.
He noted that presently, according to the Land Use Act, all lands in the country belong to the government, “therefore if the government would give land to developers for the purpose of constructing houses, the housing problems plaguing the citizenry would be solved”.
He also noted that the bottlenecks in acquiring documentation was another snag in housing development in the country.
The real estate developer observed that it takes as long as five years to get documentation for land, pointing out that this is in addition to exorbitant fees developers have to pay before they can get their documentation concluded.
However, he said lack of basic infrastructure such as access road, electricity, drainage among others were also problems hindering solving the 17 million housing deficit in the country.
Furthermore, Okwudu stated that government fiats also hinder the initiative of developers to solving the housing needs of the country.
According to him, “when you manage to buy land in the interiors and develop, government begins to see the viability of the area and comes up with a policy that such land is a government acquired area and chase you out of that place and you are back to where you started, a case in point is where they call the Greater Port Harcourt Development Area, those of us that have properties in that area are being chased with all sorts of laws to get us out of the place.
He appealed to government to look into these snags with a view to resolving them so as to give developers value for their money.