The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, has vowed to turn Nigeria into a construction site if elected in the February 16 presidential election.
While speaking at a town hall meeting with presidential candidates on the state of Nigeria’s housing market on Saturday,Sowore said the Nigerian government must invest in a housing drive that would provide shelter for all.
He said, “Government must invest in shelter that every Nigerian citizen must be entitled to a place to lay their heads at night.
“What I propose is to put aside $3.6 billion and we’ll turn this country into a construction site. “We’re in need of 17 million homes, over 80 million Nigerians are without homes. We need to set the standard that an average of five Nigerians should be entitled to a house: a father, a mother, and at least three kids.”
Speaking further on how to ensure that Nigerians have access to affordable homes, Sowore said he’ll increase the national minimum wage to N100,000 so that workers are able to afford houses.
“What I’m going to do is to increase the salary of an average worker to N100,000. I’m going to make sure that the average Nigerian worker can get N2 million mortgage loan.
“We have to have a policy where we prioritise mortgage for low income workers and the best way to do it is to give them a minimum wage that’s a living wage,” he said.
He noted that parts of the problem with Nigeria’s housing sector is the lack of proper documentation and transparent land registry system that would expose the fact that only a few people own all the land in the country.
He promised that housing would be a fundamental human right under his administration, and urged Nigerians to stop voting for leaders who deny them of shelter.
“It’s very important to tell Nigerians that we can build Nigeria out of poverty,” he said.
Sowore also strongly objected to Nigeria’s controversial Land Use Act of 1978 and vowed to repeal it as soon as he’s president.
“What we need is to return to land ownership, but we must be careful not to return to the kind of customary ownership of land that we had in Nigeria before independence in which just a few people owned land to the extent that the majority are left without nothing,” he said.
He also called the 1999 constitution a “fraudulent document imposed on the Nigerian people by the Nigerian military men”.He promised to invalidate the document and replace it with “a living document” that’ll be put to a referendum to be voted on by the Nigerian people and completely eliminate the Land Use Act.
The 1978 Land Use Act governs land regulation in the country and has long been criticised for vesting too much power in state governors who are responsible for allocation of land.
Attempts by previous governments to repeal the Act have failed to bear any fruits.
Other presidential candidates present at Saturday’s event, which took place at the University of Lagos in Yaba, are Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), and Isaac Ositelu of the Accord Party (AP).
Other presidential candidates that were billed to speak at the event but failed to show up are President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Jerry Gana of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Nigerians will go to the polls to elect a new president on February 16, 2019 with Buhari and Atiku considered to be favourites to win.