Don urges pro-poor housing, state planning decentralisation
A professor of urban and regional planning, Afolabi Aribigbola, has called for the introduction of effective social housing scheme that is pro-poor as remedy to the predominant urban development predicament in Nigeria.
Aribigbola stressed the need to strengthen housing and urban development policies to accommodate households’ social demographic characteristics.
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.”
Prof. Aribigbola expressed concerns over the present approach and policy, which allowed unfettered market forces in determining housing consumption. He warned that the policy would not achieve the desired results of access to decent, safe and affordable housing for all Nigerians.
“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.”
He stated that the required housing policy must seek to expand housing provision that would meet the needs of urban dwellers in terms of quality and size adding that it must also create conducive avenues to increase the supply of housing units and ancillary facilities in the urban centres to eliminate the current housing shortage 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. While describing the present situation as a serious anomaly, the lecturer said the absence of up-to-date statewide plans and city master plans to guide, direct and control urban development in the country must be urgently addressed.”
According to him, 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.
Aribigbola called for decentralisation of state planning machinery, which empowers state governments to control the use and planning of lands. He noted that all stakeholders, including the local government councils, must be involved in society affairs.
Earlier, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Olugbenga Ige, who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Igbekele Ajibefun, described inaugural lecture as a once-in-a-life-time endeavour.
Ige underscored the relationship between the gown and the town, saying it would offer the former to make remarkable contributions to the development and prosperity of the latter.
“It is an opportunity for the university to showcase one of its numerous academic achievements, researches, innovations through its academic staff who has attained professorial cadre.”