The Role of the State Government in the Development of Residential Estates in Nigeria
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Few residential estates built across Nigeria by both federal and state government has been able to meet the housing needs of many Nigerians. Shelter is a basic necessities an esteemed need of man. It used to be ranked second after food in the hierarchy of man’s needs but according to Ebie (2009) it is the first and most important of all rights. According to him, because of the importance attaching to provision of housing and coupled with the fact that a proper housing unit in all its ramifications is more than mere blocks of buildings since it embraces all social services and utilities that go to make a community or neighbourhood a livable environment, it is now a right. Though inadequate, but the federal government of Nigeria and various corporate organizations have invested in the building residential estate for the purpose of profit making and meeting the housing needs of Nigerians. Even though this provision is not actionable, it reinforces the call for government at all levels to invest in massive housing provision in Nigeria and this study is however examining the role of Akwa Ibom State Government in the development of residential estates in the state.
A residential housing estate is a group of homes and other buildings built together as a single development. The exact form may vary from country to country. Accordingly, a housing estate is usually built by a single contractor, with only a few styles of house or building design, so they tend to be uniform in appearance.
The desire for adequate and affordable housing also has strong links to the need for security, safety and proper socio – economic status of individuals and communities. In spite of this widely acknowledged importance of housing and various efforts in making adequate and affordable housing available to majority of people, a large proportion of urban residents in less developed countries do not have access to decent housing at affordable cost (Tipple, 2004; 2006; UN-HABITAT, 2006; Greene and Rojas, 2008).
As a result, most urban residents in Developing countries live in housing conditions that constitute an affront to human dignity and which comes with appalling social, economic, spatial and health implications (Coker et al., 2007; UNFPA, 2007). Hence, inadequate housing condition has become an intractable challenge that has continued to receive attention from governments and individuals in many developing countries. Previous studies have shown that successive administrations in Nigeria had launched a minimum of seven residential housing programmes in the last few decades in a bid to address increasing housing challenges in the country (Akinmoladun and Oluwoye, 2007; Ademiluyi and Raji, 2008) However, substantial literature on public residential estate in developing countries has revealed three main streams of criticism (Mukhija, 2004). First, it is argued that most public residential schemes are inefficient and ill conceived, and thus failed to meet the needs of target population (Rondinelli, 1990; Mba, 1992). Second, direct government involvement in housing provision is viewed as being negligible compared to the volume of residential estates provided by informal private sector (UN-HABITAT, 2006). Finally, government intervention in the housing market to check rising cost of housing is seen as counterproductive and an impediment to smooth operation of housing market and efficient housing delivery system.
Consequently, many scholars and stakeholders have argued that government has no business in providing housing for people, but rather government should act as a partner, enabler and facilitator of housing process by making available appropriate incentives, policy and good regulatory environment necessary for effective private sector participation in building of residential estate (Ebie, 2009). It is important to note that state governments have not been able to contribute to the development of residential housing schemes in Nigeria as most of the available residential estates are built by the federal government. However, Akwa Ibom state government has built 310 prime units mini estates at 10 per local government in all the Local Government Areas mainly for local government chieftains. Work is ongoing on the construction of 10,000 modern and affordable houses to the Akwa Ibom populace.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Ong and Leonard (2002) were of the opinion that provision of residential estate should be collaborative effort between government and private sector and this does not necessarily mean reduction in government’s social responsibility in providing housing for the citizens, but rather it implies the production of housing through collaborative approach in an integrated manner. In the light of foregoing criticisms coupled with the need for sustainable solution to burgeoning housing challenges in most state in Nigeria including Akwa Ibom state; it is important to ascertain the contribution of state governments over the years on the provision of residential estate for the citizens. The foregoing gory picture and deplorable condition of housing in Nigeria applies with equal force to Akwa Ibom State if not to a higher extent considering that more than 60% of the population live in urban areas. Thus Akwa Ibom State also shares in this global developmental reality; and one of the most important challenges facing the state is how to ensure adequate and affordable housing to the poor and low-income group. Unfortunately, despite all efforts of the state government at achieving sustained housing delivery through provision of residential estates to the common people, existing realities indicate the goal is far from being achieved. It is against this background that this study examines the role of Akwa Ibom state government in the development of residential estates.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study;
1. To examine the role of Akwa Ibom state government in the development of residential estates.
2. To analyze the perception of Nigerians on the provision of residential estates.
3. To identify the factor hindering the provision of residential estates in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the role of Akwa Ibom state government in the development of residential estates?
2. What is the perception of Nigerians on the provision of residential estate?
3. What are the factors hindering the provision of residential estates in Nigeria?
HO: Akwa Ibom State government has not provided adequate residential estates for the citizen.
HA: Akwa Ibom State government has provided adequate residential estates for the citizen.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
A research on the role of State government in the development of residential estate in Nigeria a case study of Akwa Ibom State is no doubt an important one. This is going by the notion that the outcomes of current strategies engaged by government in solving the problem of providing adequate, affordable and sustainable housing in this State in recent time are not known. Therefore, this study is important for several reasons.
First, Bana (1991) and Emerole (2002) indicated that inadequate capacity of public housing agencies to deliver housing was one of the key challenges of public housing in Nigeria. This suggests that understanding the organizational capacity and constraints of public housing agencies to provide housing is necessary in judging their performance. It can also help improve on their capacity and thus enhancing the productivity of the public housing sub-sector. This study is thus important on the basis that it attempts to provide basic information that will enhance our knowledge of the organizational capacity of selected key public housing agencies in study area. This is also considered necessary in assessing the outcomes of public housing provisions and making useful recommendations.
Second, Mukhija (2004) noted that there is little consensus on the strategies and approaches governments should follow in addressing the housing need of their citizens. This suggests that research works are yet to focus attention on comparing outcomes of the various housing delivery strategies used in public housing provisions to identify which strategies work best and under what conditions. This situation accounts for continuous engagement of inefficient and dysfunctional housing delivery strategies, which Emerole (2002), Oladapo (2002) and African Ministerial Council in Urban Development (2008) noted was responsible for increasing housing supply deficit in Nigeria. By investigating the outcomes of four housing delivery strategies used in residential estate provisions in Akwa Ibom State.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the role of state government in the development of residential estates is limited to the public housing schemes and residential estates initiated and completed by the government of Akwa Ibom State.
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