By Kingsley Adegboye
No doubt, Lagos State has a huge and increasing demand for housing as a result of over 20 million people with an estimated 86 people migrating to the state per hour, who have made Lagos their home. This huge population has made housing deficit in the state a real issue with affordability worsening by the day because the available limited housing units cannot meet the housing needs of the huge population. However, in its efforts “Towards a Greater Lagos”, and in fulfillment of its framework agenda, T.H.E.M.E.S., the Babajide Sanwo-Olu/Obafemi Hamzat-led administration is not leaving any stone unturned to meet the housing challenge in the state.
To this end, the administration has evolved far-reaching reforms in the housing sector in a bid to provide affordable housing for the needy across the state.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said: “A 21-century economy is one that is capable of meeting the housing needs of the people. “In the area of housing, four major housing projects are now ready for commissioning. They are LagosHoms, Igbogbo Scheme with 360 housing units comprising 120 one-bedroom, 120 two-bedroom and 120 3-bedroom apartments. “Others include Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme, Topo, Badagry with 252 two-bedroom apartments; Courtland Villas, Behind Alhaji Femi Okunnu Estate, Igbohushu, Lekki with 120 units of four-bedroom Maisonettes and BQs and Lekki Apartments, Ikate-Elegushi, Lekki.
“On January 30, we handed over apartments’ keys to 492 beneficiaries of our administration’s maiden rent-to-own housing scheme at the Lateef Kayode Jakande Housing Estate, Igando. It was, indeed, a joyous moment not only for the beneficiaries but for me as well. “More housing schemes will be delivered in the coming months. We are very excited about our housing schemes because not only do they provide homes to people, they also create jobs for multitudes of people who work as artisans, tradesmen and labourers on these projects. “This fully ties in with our commitment to resuscitate excellent craftsmanship by making opportunities available for people to be trained and to demonstrate their training.”
The governor stated that providing adequate housing has always been a challenge in Lagos State in view of rapid urbanisation which has led to tremendous increase in population even though the state has the smallest landmass of 3, 577 square kilometres in nature. He said the strategy of the present administration towards solving the housing challenges is to tackle the issues from both the supply and the demand ends, while at the same time enduring the sustainability of existing residential estates in the state. His words: “In order to boost supply towards reducing the housing deficit, completion of ongoing housing estates has been prioritised, while at the same time entering into partnership with the private sector in the delivery of new ones. “On the demand side, the state government has introduced the rent-to own and rental housing policies which are aimed at making housing more affordable and accessible to the citizenry.
“The policies are particularly targeted at low and middle-income earners in both the formal and informal sectors. “An integral part of these policies is the fact that they offer prospective beneficiaries the opportunity to pay the required five percent of the value of the housing unit as commitment fee while the balance is spread over 10 years. “It also permits recipients to live on the property while paying towards ownership as a fixed rent within that period of 10 years. “Vital eligibility criteria which the applicant must meet to benefit from the initiative, include being a resident in Lagos State with possession of Lagos State Residents’ Registration Card, being a first-time buyer, must be above 21 years of age, must be tax compliant and also must be able to cover the monthly rental payments with 33 percent of his or her earnings. “492 residents have so far benefited from the maiden rent-to-own housing scheme of the present administration. On Friday, January 31, there was an outpouring of unrestrained joy at the Banquet Hall of the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja when I allotted all the apartments of the Lateef Kayode Jakande Housing Estate in Igando to 492 families.” Explaining M (Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy) which is one of the items of the framework agenda— T.H.E.M.E.S.— of his administration, the governor stated that that by investing in critical infrastructure “we will accelerate the growth of our economy and empower the private sector, which is the real engine of growth. “We must break the deadlock that shackles our power distribution, provide sustainable urban settlements that address the current housing deficit, while at the same time building a smart city that achieves urban harmony and sets a new bar in our nation.”