It is not news that man’s basic needs are food, clothing and shelter. It is, however, clear that in Nigeria today, adequate shelter is still a national headache. Urbanisation is taking over major cities in the world, and Nigerian cities are not left out. Rapid population growth in Nigeria and increasing urbanisation have made shelter one of the most critical problems currently facing the country. Apart from multi-storeyed buildings, traffic jams and street beggars, one of the central “faces” of Africa’s rapid urbanisation in most if not all of its large cities is “non-standard, poor-quality housing units” which the UN calls “urban slums”.
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There is a shortage of houses in the Nigeria, the houses that are built cost too much or of poor quality, and are often in the wrong places. As Nigeria population continues to grow rapidly, it will place further pressure on housing and the environment. The birth rate in Nigeria is high and the rate of rural-urban migration is high. All these contributes to housing shortages and burgeoning prices.
Nigeria’s Population over the years
Nigeria is located in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea and has a total area of 923,768 km2 (356,669 sq mi), making it the world’s 32nd-largest country. The population of Nigeria represents 2.35 percent of the world’s total population which arguably means that one person in every 43 people on the planet is a resident of Nigeria. Looking back, in the year of 1960, Nigeria had a population of 45.2 million people, but now her population is estimated to be over 182 million people.
Year Population (million)
The table above shows the increase in Nigeria’s population over a 10 year period. The number of occupants in the country has continued to increase prompting the government to plan to conduct a population census in 2018.
The level at which housing and infrastructure of urbanisation have been provided to encounter this rise has remained low, leading to the insufficient housing to the continuous increase in the population of the country.
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The situation is quite the opposite in the largest state in the country. The largest state in Nigeria, Niger state, has over 4 million residents. The number of dwellers in the land cannot be compared to that of Lagos, which has a population density of over 20,000 persons per square kilometre
Unfortunately, despite this housing situation in the country, a certain minority are living a life of affluence while the rest of her members are living in a state of hardship. There are certain people who own more than one house in the country and these houses don’t have occupants. The available housing option is quite expensive as the average standard 3 bedroom apartment goes for N300,000.
The selling point of these urban dwellings are the economic opportunities and better infrastructures available. People consider migrating to the cities because of the hope of better living conditions, which unfortunately is not the case. When migration levels increase and more people come to an area, either from other states or regional areas or from other countries, then typically the demand for housing increases. This, in turn, tends to push property prices up in both capital value and in rental value. Affordability of housing becomes an issue, as most household won’t be able to afford this. The bottom 40% of income distribution spend more than 30% of their household income on housing, adjusted for household size.
This moves them to consider slum areas as options for affordable accommodation. These areas are overcrowded and lacking in standard conveniences such as electricity, water, drainage and health services.The overpopulated cities also have a large number of people who don’t even have any type of accommodation. These people sleep under the bridges and in “safe” places on the road.
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People living in Kano state the commercial hub of the north are also experiencing housing difficulties. The number of people living in Kano state is estimated to be over 10 million. The urban low-income groups are experiencing housing difficulties because of their socioeconomic disadvantages.
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The overpopulation problem in the country can’t be stopped, but it can be controlled and maintained. Addressing population growth does not tackle the housing crisis in the immediate future, but it has a vital role to play in long-term housing problems.