Nigeria’s housing ‘the worst in the world’

Nigeria is facing a housing crisis, with conditions among the worst in the world, the UN has warned.

More than two thirds of Nigerians are living in poor settlements with a lack of basic amenities, the UN’s housing rapporteur, Leilani Farha, said.

She is quoted by the Reuters news agency as telling journalists in the capital, Abuja, at the end of her 10-day visit to investigate the housing situation in the country’s cities:

Quote Message: Nigeria’s housing sector is in a complete crisis. Existing programmes will hardly make even a small dent in addressing the ever-growing housing need.

Quote Message: Informal settlements are ballooning where conditions are inhumane and perhaps the most severe I have seen worldwide.”

She said some settlements lacked access to portable water, toilets and rubbish disposal – and many were exposed to the health problems because of the dangers of stagnant water where bacteria breeds.

The population of Nigeria – already the biggest in Africa – is expected to double to four hundred million by the middle of the century.

The West African nation already lacks more than 22 million houses for its citizens.

An insurgency in the north-east has forced two million people from their homes, causing further strain.

Ms Farha warned that corrupt money flowing into the housing sector had led to a boom in the building of luxury homes, beyond the reach of the vast majority of Nigerians.

She also criticised poor housing policies and the use of force by states and developers to evict communities, which mainly affected women and children.

The UN rapporteur is quoted as saying in her preliminary recommendations:

Quote Message: A national-level moratorium on forced evictions should be declared by the federal government, until adequate legal and procedural safeguards are in place to ensure that all evictions are compliant with international human rights law.”

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