The Problem and Prospects of Housing in the New State Capital, Asaba Delta State
Housing has become one of the major problems in which individuals, private / public establishment are facing in the new state capital in Nigeria today.
Housing do not offer shelter only but also they are considered as a status social and a successful life. The research work will enable us to identity the problems, the impacts, the importance and the general effect of housing problem in the new state capital.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of content
1.1 Housing problem in Asaba
1.2 Historicla background of Asaba
1.3 Problem of land acquisition for housing
2.0 Situations of existing houses in Asaba
2.1 Lack of maintenance
2.2 Town planning regulations
3.0 Rehabilitation and conservation
3.1 Solution to the Housing problem
3.2 Effectiveness of property maintenance
4.0 Population density
4.1 Use of local building materials
4.2 Solution ot land acquisition problem
5.0 Summary, Recommendation and conclusion
5.1 Summary / Conclusion
Housing is one of the three basic necessities of life. He dignity of man is usually enhanced by his ownership of house. The greater population of the world population is housed, the population that is well housed is in the minority while dilapidated houses are accommodating the greater population of the world.
The concentration and rapid increase of population in the new state capitals is based on the few and inadequate social services in the town. The main pointer in the new state capital is the problem of a housing, houses to match the over-growing demand so as to produce rent which are reasonable to meet the community and which are equitable in terms of returns to investors in housing in the urban area and developing areas like Asaba-statistics have it that in Asaba, some areas, the home is too small to allow for decent family life and offers no more than a tiny abode to its members. Statistics also have it that urban dwelling are in general over-crowded and surrounded by a deplorable urban landscape situation. This most unsatisfactory situation is still setting hard due to the impact of population growth and urbanization, there has been a remarkable increase in recent years.
In the recent rate of growth of population together with a steady force of population from the rural area to the urban centres. Theres has been a rapid increase in the number of experts, administrative and technical personels as a result of improvement, changes and growth in development standard improvement in the general level of prosperity; income, living condition of people has led to people demanding more and better houses.
On the other hand, supply for number of reasons has not kept pace with this demand in the urban areas because of industries situated there, it has made it possible for people to migrate to these areas despite the quality of a problem in finding a means to have accommodation which is relatively cheap with the means of the rural folk and yet of sufficient high quality ot satisfy certain basic requirements.
Though these days, expert now live in the rural areas because of developments, it still takes time to construct dwelling house, while the buildings are under construction, they will have to accept the available ones. The housing problem out of necessity to be considered against the background of the social philosophy of the community. there are certain peculiarities associated with the economic of housings, particularly the fact that there is considerable inconsistency on both the demand and supply side of housing.
There is the unadulterated ‘MARXIST’ view that government should be totally committed and has a responsibility to provide accommodation at reasonable rents must be provided for every person and so on should be allowed, for instance to take advantage of his ownership of land or wealth to exploit the tenant group in society, having said all these, it will be proper to state the problem of housing in Asaba. It is very common to see that the acquisition of and is tough in the sense that land is expensive and counted in supply and in addition, it takes a rather long time to negotiate and come by good title to land even after land must have been acquired and building erected. It is not enough because it cannot accommodate the teeming population and this ten leads to overcrowding which is not good for healthy living. Buildings are overcrowded and human being also are too much due to large household size and shortage of housing.
One point should be understood and that is of good planning, if Asaba is well planned, then the problem of housing may not be much. But because of inadequate facility utilities and amenities not been provided for. It will then be worsen when the population is much or over crowded. Come to think of it rents are very high for the good enough buildings and this does not go down well for the low income earners and this makes for an unhealthy way of living but if the government could come and build low cost houses, then it will save these dwellers from their suffering.
Although dwellers who can afford decent houses ot live in, it makes for the high growth of tenement, because they now resort to live in place where there is not good ventilation and the house cluster. These houses are not permanent in the sense that if there is heavy wind or rain, the building collapses and life is lost, tough because they will have to provide another accommodation or they will have to rebuild.
Lack of planning is another problem because since these houses are built carelessly, it does make for good planning. They do not get the go ahead from the authorities concerned, these buildings have been developed and demolished when the planning authorities find out, so it is safer to get the go ahead from the authorities concerned even though it will take so much time ot acquire but it should be worthwhile in the long run.
Decent housing is one of the basic need of every individual, the family and community. in general a prerequisite to the survival of man. The housing as a unit of the environment has profound influence on the health, efficiency, social behaviour satisfaction and general welfare of the community it reflects the cultural, social and economic value of a society as it is the best physical and historical evidence of civilization in a town and country. The importance of providing adequate housing in any town cannot be over stated. It is a stimulant of the national economy.
Decent housing on the other had can be regarded as a right of every individuals, a great population of the population in Asaba live in sub-standard and poor housing and a deplorable, unsanitary rapid urbanization and economic growth have compounded the problem of acute population in Asaba.
1.1 HOUSING PROBLEM IN ASABA
There is therefore great shortage of housing especially for the low-income earners in Asaba. A household sample survey conducted one selected part of the town in October 1995 by the participants of this workshop revealed that about 84.46% of the housing units are flats while only 28.4% are tenement units. This has resulted in high room occupancy ration of more than five (5) persons per habitable room as recorded in parts of Umuaji, Umuezei, Egengbome in Asaba.
flat sharing or multiple occupation of apartment flats are measures used by those of low-income earner to redress. This often leads to the deterioration of the residential buildings and the environment. The causes of shortage of tenement house can be attributed to such factors as high cost of land by acquisition, lack of finance, high cost of building materials, and population trends, unwillingness of private developer to invest in tenement houses due largely to know returns from such development and the fact that planning schemes for some of the layout deliberately excluded tenement building eg Ezena Avenue.
Sitting of certain housing project (i.e portion of low cost housing) are some of the factors responsible for flooding in the city. Some draws in the Ezenei Avenue, low cost housing for example were constructed with utter disregard to the topography of the area so that water is expected to flow against the radiant. In general, the problem of housing in Asaba is more of shortage of appropriate housing units in form of tenement or rooming houses whose rents are affordable by people in the low income level than shortage of flat apartment many of which vacant due to high rentage.
Also flood wreaks in Asaba, make people lose property and also the lost of five’s are encountered. These problems bring about rebuilding and displacement of occupants of the affected buildings.
1.2 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF ASABA
Asaba is located in the eastern part of delta state with sixteen (16) local government area. A rapid developing urban centre and the administrative headquarter of Delta state in Nigeria. Its historical roots is from both Kogi and Anambra state.
A woman named Diaba from Agbakuba village in Nteje, Anambra state, was said to have been impregnated by Onojobo, a prince and trader from Igala land, while she was residing in Eze Anyanwu’s court as one of the court girls. She was said to have hailed from the royal line of Ezechima, the legendary ancestor of numerous settlements east of the Niger, including Onitsha. This explains why Benin, Asaba and Onitsha seem to share a common culture and tradition as in the area of festival regalia like traditional coral beads and hand-woven big flowing white gowns and traditional titles scuh as the Onowu Iyasele of Onitsha and the Iyase Onowu of Asaba. Asaba is one of the emerging urban centres of present date Nigeria. Before the creation of Delta and Ado state, Asaba was the headquarter of Oshimili south local government which has a limited political significance. After the creation of Delta state and Asaba as the headquarter continue to attract many governmental functionaries such as ministries and all types of government parastatals thereby swelling up in population increase, in working class people.
Today, Asaba is experiencing greater housing problems than ever before and it is feared that impact may take some time to subside.
1.3 PROBLEMS OF LAND ACQUISITION FOR HOUSING
Before the land use Act of 1978, ownership of land was rested on individuals and community which result to cumbersome and obstacles to individuals willing to acquire an interest in land. The land use Act stopped private owners and individuals from owning land rather having possession on it in perpetuity. It rested all land in the power of the governor of each state. Before a private individual acquires and interest in land from the state governor, he has to undergo series of protocol before he can be issued with a right of title or certificate of occupancy to use and enjoy the relevant piece of land usually evidence in certificate of occupancy (C OF O).
The system and process of securing title to land is unsatisfactory and cumbersome. As a first step towards this, the private individual has to buy a form which contains some questions to be completed and submitted before specified time. The authority concerned with the processing and insurance of this certificate of occupancy often make situations difficult for the developer who would otherwise which to make immediate development. this is because the certificate of occupancy consume a lot of time before it can be issued to a developer. The next stage after the processing of the form is that, those that have been approved are rent to the governor for endorsement and whereby governor is busy, he can then assign this duty of endorsement to the commissioner of lands, works and transport, who endorses his signature with a red wax to show its validity.
The successful applicant is then given a certificate of occupancy to use and enjoy the land subject to the conditions and covenants contained in the said certificate.
The logic being the issue of condition and covenants is that only authorized occupier can develop, enjoy or lease the land but subject of course to the zoning and planning laws and other regulations affecting land use, in relevant urban area. it is now clear from the foregoing that housing is militated against by the problem of land acquisition in Asaba.
2.0 SITUATIONS OF EXISTING HOUSES IN ASABA
The importance of housing cannot be over emphasized. Unfortunately, one of the greatest problems facing the administrative / commercial city in Delta state is that a large number of people have migrated into the town and since this rapid increase is not been met by increase in new dwelling units, the existing units are over used, as a result of lack of foresight. Some areas in Asaba were not well planned to make room for future development and this has given rise to overcrowding, inadequate housing and deteriorating condition of houses.
The general inadequacy of housing in Asaba urban are revealed in shocking data obtained from some filed surveys. For example house occupancy ranging from 3-5 persons per room had been recorded for many parts of cable point, Ezenei avenue and Ibuse road areas.
In the case of Ezenei avenue, Ogbeilo Umuanaji quarters and Ezeugbome, an overall average of 5-6 persons per room was obtained in a survey of tenement houses.
These data reveals the seriousness of overcrowding in this area. infact, due to unplanned reason, overcrowding can be seen as a high ration of occupancy per dwelling unit. This is observed that high room occupancy raising form 3-5 persons per room makes uncomfortable over crowding for disorderliness.
However, no matter how one defines them, they pose serious problems in our urban areas. Overcrowding has been described as a health hazard both physclaly and psychologically. Housing units are a treat to health safety. If they are physically inadequate and structurally unsound.
They are meant to shelter and when they fail to perform any of the above functions, they seize to be houses. Again, it has been observed that majority of inhabitant in Asaba live in discomfort house with over deteriorating neighbourhood. In any case, room occupancy ratio approach the straggering number of 6-7 person per room above the accepted standard of two persons per room.
Basic amenities such as kitchen, toilet, bathroom, are often not available ispite of all above, house rents keep rising and these are commonly found in areas like Oghogonogo, and Ogbello quarters. The provision of amenities in the dwellings are generally inadequate in Asaba.
In addition, some parts of the city are flooded after heavy rainfall, and these adversely affects many streets including Ogboni junction, cable point, Obodoachele and in fact so many other streets in Asaba. Poor drainage facilities, and bad setting of certain housing project (eg certain portion of Obodo-shale especially college junction by Onitsha road and cable point junction) are some of the factors responsible in flooding in the town. The residents of the affected parts are always in danger with regards to their lives and properties, whenever there is a heavy rainfall.
Residential accommodation has been described as the second class of user in urban land. But in Asaba, most residential area are assuming small scale business due to the existing nature of Asaba and this poses a problem on residential houses.
In real sense, accommodation problem can be seen in three main sense;
- In the sense of an absolute shortage of accommodation.
2. In the sense that the majority of dwelling units fail to satisfy certain minimum standards of safety sanitation and density.
3. In the sense that there is a satisfactory house, but at a rent which adversely limits the family’s ability to afford other amenities of life.
2.1 LACK OF MAINTENANCE
Lack of maintenance has caused a great defect to private buildings put by private individuals, corporate bodies like share holders, charity organization etc. A glance around any of the major cities in the country will show that the up keep of private properties and their continued maintenance has not been given the desired attention either in the past or at present. Maintenance of most properties in Asaba takes place only the facilities is damaged and this usually is after occupiers of the buildings must have complained persistently for a long period.
In Asaba, one can easily notice that most buildings have not been painted for a very long time. A building may be seen, which has stayed for over two or more decades without being repainted and the paint currently on it will be flaking off or would have completely flaked off. On entering most buildings, it was discovered that some of the doors have no handles or lock and that some of the windows have their louvers broken. In case of high rise buildings, it is doubtful if the foundation are strong enough to sustain them.
In most offices, the ceilings are warped or sagged entirely and often expose the roofing sheets. The toilets facilities are left in a poor state of dis-repair due to improper usage and poor installations while at the same time the necessary facilities for the proper functioning of those toilets are missing. Where water is available at all, it is noticeable on the floor due to burst pipes and broken sinks.
This is increasing nowadays, that property owners in urban centres do not maintain or seek the help of Estate firms for management of their property. In what interests then are the monthly rents paid by tenants if basic property maintenance needs are left to mercy of dilapidation? As these properties are left uncared for, the rate of deterioration increases with attendant fall in value which at the end may result in collapse, claming many lives and at the same time reducing the stock of property in the city.
2.2 TOWN PLANNING REGULATIONS
Before securing land for any development purpose in an urban area, it is the duty of the town planning authoitry to map out an area of land that will be suitable for different types of development.
The influence of town planning control on property cannot be over-stressed. The power at the disposal of the town planning authority in creating land values decreasing them or shifting them form one area to another is very enormous for instance, a planning decision to gone a formally agricultural area unto residential gone or presidential area into industrial zone will increase the land values in such areas. Rezoning residential unto commercial will have a similar effect.
The diversion of a major road in a shopping centre will increase the values to the new road, whereas the value of properties adjoining the old road may fall.
With reference to Asaba, the city is not planned and as a result of this problem, the metropolis has what I may call overlapping; and usage at its highest order. This makes it impossible among the various properties or land uses in the city thereby aggravating the housing problems in the city.
But with effective town planning regulations, the areas for residential purpose will be kept for that purpose so also with industrial and commercial purpose.
With all these regulation, one can see that imposing a commercial property on residential land will be a difficult thing to do.
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