Emeka, his wife Funke and their daughter Zainab lost their home in Urualla to gully erosion, and were forced to travel to Abuja in search of a greener pasture. They are just another face in the sea of tens of millions of people who have migrated to Abuja in the past decade.
Emeka and his family share a squatter settlement with two other families in Jabi. As a daily laborer, his average monthly income is N30K, which probably places him just above the national poverty line. The rent costs him N17K per month. His utilities cost N5K a month, and this excludes food and other living expenses. Emeka faces eviction on a regular basis, a reality for over 50% of people across Nigeria, who currently live in informal settlements.
As the country’s population expands, so does its housing crisis. Currently, 5 out of 10 households dwell in conditions that are not permanent. Across the country, there are over 4,000 informal settlements, or slums, home to approximately 15 million people—who form a majority of the urban workforce in Nigeria. Evidently, affordable urban housing is rapidly becoming a primary issue.
Land is a scarce resource in the country. This scarcity and lack of access to affordable housing compel many to spend over 50% of their total income on rent, despite already living on the national poverty line. The exorbitantly high housing costs leave little to spare for food and other basic amenities, adversely impacting the overall well being of the society and exposing families to a dire cycle of poverty.
Housing Policy AND Affordable Homes will take center stage during the 13th Abuja International Housing Show, an annual global event organized by Fesadeb Media Group. The focus on affordable housing recognizes its significance as a precondition for tackling inequalities, reducing poverty, and addressing climate change.
In Nigeria, if not quickly addressed, the housing concern may turn into a full-blown crisis. Every year, hundreds of thousands Nigerians migrate to Abuja and Lagos from around the country. In order to keep up with this fast-paced population growth, the demand for housing requires building approximately 300,000 new units annually. The housing deficit continues to grow astronomically, in the absence of adequate measures the deficit is projected to increase to 20 million units by 2021.