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Editorial : Nigeria’s Housing Policy and its Effectiveness in Achieving SDGs

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From Our Housing Stand (115)

Housing is a vital fundamental need of every human-being as food and clothing. It is so fundamental to the good health and well-being of every human being, and one of the best indicators of a person’s standard of living and his place in the society still remains his place of living (housing). Thus the location and type of housing can determine or affect the status of man in the society.

The performance of the housing sector is one of the indexes by which the health of a nation is measured .Housing and housing problems is important to both rich and poor nations as well as developed and developing countries.

The United Nations Human and Environment Conference gathered in New York, USA to consider the rights of the human family and healthy and protective environment which resulted to the millennium development goal of 2000-2015 to provide good housing.

On 25 September, 2015, 193 countries of United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals officially known as 257 transforming the World, The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development (UN, 2015).

The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development is equipped with 17  stipulated sustainable development goals and its associated 169 targets, Under this goal, the goal 3 has to do with good health and wellbeing that means ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages, Sustainable development may be difficult to achieve without significantly transforming the way we live and where we live especially in a  developing country like Nigeria.

The World Health Organization  (WHO)  states that a good house should have the following qualities;
•A good roof to keep the rain.
•Good walls and doors to protect against bad weather and keep out animals.

  • Sunshades all around the house to protect it from direct sunlight in hot weather.
  • Wire nettings at windows and doors to keep out insects like house flies and mosquitoes.

Quality Housing can be attributed from the physical appearance of the building, facilities provided, quality of the materials used in the construction, and the eminence of the roofing .

In Nigeria several policies and programme geared towards achieving good and quality housing schemes has been initiated by one administration or the other.

In the 1999 constitution, section 16(1) (d) the Nigerian state is directed under the fundamental objectives and principles of state policy to provide sustainable and adequate shelter for all citizens.

Nigerian housing policy can be defined as the government’s action on its people’s housing objectives.

Basically,  it entails when the government takes up the responsibility of providing housing for its people, either by taking action to provide shelter for her citizenry or by taking actions to improve the quality of the shelter of its people or to make housing affordable.
In Nigeria, quite substantive public funds  have been  invested in numerous housing programmes.

Experts have observed with dissatisfaction that; the challenges  bedeviling the Nigerian housing sector, has not been comprehensively studied, but there is enough information to conclude that the magnitude of the problem cannot be overemphasised.

The colonial housing policy sought to provide houses at minimum rents to all colonial staff and a few necessary indigenous support staff usually clerks, prison officials, police and army. Therefore, the late 1950s and 1969s saw increased but still rather limited intervention by government in the provision of housing.

Meanwhile, the postcolonial political leadership in 1960 continued on what was left by the provision of quarters to civil servants through the regional housing corporation that were established.

it is pertinent to look into Nigerian Housing policy with an aim of finding a sustainable way of solving the housing challenges that most Nigerians are facing especially the urban poor, which in turn will help in the realization of goal 3 of the sustainable development goal agenda of ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all.

Housing is one of the basic needs of man.
One is worried over the way public housing crisis has increased unabated not minding a number of governments applauded new policies and programmes geared towards addressing the problem.

It seems also that when these policies are to be implemented, other factors are considered which leads to having substandard buildings, abandoned projects as one government will abandon an existing policy to another, leading to buildings that cannot stand the test of time. When the government feels like giving out the completed building interest becomes the watchword against seniority and merit.

Corrupt practices of  some government  officials have also aggravated the challenges of the housing sector  in Nigeria,  leading to collapsed buildings; inflated  cost of maintenance, that may most times seem to be higher than the cost of erecting new buildings.

Challenges of Nigerian Housing Policy

The challenges that are associated with Nigerian housing policy include,

  • inadequate research and studies on the formulation and execution of the policy,
    •  implementation challenge, and insufficient infrastructural amenities not excluding ineffective housing finance.
  • Rural-urban migration and high rate of urbanization which has given rise to development of shanty towns, with the influx shanty homes, dilapidated houses still remains another major challenge.

Urban housing are congested because of the push from the rural areas to urban areas with the natural increment in the population since the rural houses are generally poor characterized by lack of potable water ,toilet and a conducive environment, consequently, the tendency to cluster in the urban few houses becomes necessary.


Land which is the essential element of housing and housing policy has its own problem. Acquiring land in the Nigerian urban and some rural communities is very costly not forgetting the bureaucratic delays in the process of acquiring the certificate of occupancy and the approval of building plan.
This problem is further compounded by other challenges like low income, high rate of interest on mortgage loans, high cost of building materials, low preference for local building materials, and the shortage of social services.

The national housing policy has over the years grappled with falling short of the necessity to involve stakeholders who will be part of the policy making process, to address the quantitative and qualitative housing problems.

Since the sustainable development goal with its 2030 agenda of transformation, is a global project , the need to look into the Nigerian housing policy with an aim of having a policy that will address the eradication of poverty and providing good housing for all in Nigeria by 2030, is highly imperative.

Conclusively, Housing remains one of the basic needs of man and it is important t to both developing countries. Nigeria and, in fact, the whole world have been looking for ways to solving this problem hence it has been manifested in all attempts to have development all over the world. In the sustainable development goal the target is to provide good health and well-being as a man’s housing affects the person’s well-being.


Several policies and programmes have pursued this goal in Nigeria all to no avail. Nigerians still live in areas and buildings that do not meet with World Health Organization standards of a good house.
The policy failure may be attributed to lack of monitoring and evaluation, elites making policies for the masses without their input, high cost of building materials, high cost of land and land acquiring in some communities, rural-urban migration corruption etc.

Without further delay if good housing policy aimed at providing affordable housing for the increasing population in Nigeria is not put in place one may predict that the sustainable development goal in area of housing may end like other global developmental programmes.

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