Building a house in Lagos is quite challenging. At a point, I used to imagine that building houses are exclusively for the rich. I have seen rich people build big houses within six months and poor people building bungalows for six years.
This situation is contrasting because the poor have to spend a long time before achieving their dreams. Building a house is held in high esteem in our society. Despite government policies in promoting affordable housing for the poor in Nigeria, this seems abstract as a lot of poor people still struggle to pay rent let alone build or buy an apartment.
This situation seems irrevocable as a lot of Nigerians keep struggling in the same web. This same situation is applicable to Suara a civil servant who lives in Lagos. One of Suara’s biggest dream is building a house. He wanted to build his chest that he achieved more than his father by building a better house in Lagos. To him, building a house is the best thing that can ever happen to anyone.
After thirteen years of working as a civil servant, he struggled to buy a piece of land which he paid for with his two years savings from the cooperative society at work. Those were years when he had to endure hunger to buy a piece of land.
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The same year, he had issues with the person he bought the land from. The issue continued for a long time. He was on the verge of losing the land when he had to pay extra 400,000 to the landowner, who cheated him. He had to save for another one year to pay up the money.
Suara has been trying to build a bungalow for five years but he hasn’t completed it. The best he could save was 500,000 NGN in a year. And he consistently had challenges with Omo Oniles who kept collecting money from time to time.
He had to pay for foundation and roofing, so far, he has paid over 700,000 to Omo Oniles before the recent land grabbing laws in Lagos.
Today, Suara has not completed bis bungalow despite the fact that he is a civil servant. If Suara can face such challenges as a civil servant, how much more those at the bottom of the ladder who have no means of saving up the tangible amount. It is high time the government of Nigeria started Implementing her housing policies to favor the poor.
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