Story by: Chidiebere Nwankwo:
The Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, Abuja, with an annual growth rate of 35% (UN Report 2015) has become the fastest growing city in the country. This can be attributed to over-concentration of development in this city, making Nigerian citizens to come there and look for greener pastures.
A city is said to be growing rapidly if the rate of its growth is higher than the national population growth rate. It is a fact that the entire world is facing the challenges of rapid rate of urbanization and geometric population growth, but it is obvious that there is a problem of infrastructure deficit, which if it was available, those living in the city center can relocate to the satellite towns, because, the low income earners cannot afford the high cost of renting apartments in the Abuja city center.
Speaking exclusively with our correspondent during the just concluded 46th Annual National Conference of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), the Branch Honorary Secretary of the NIESV, Abuja, ESV. Niran Adetunji, ascribed the situation in the satellite towns in Abuja to over concentration on the city center by the federal government, stating that, “When you talk of “City growth” as the theme of our this year’s annual national conference, you talk of infrastructure, which if tackled, there will be no place that will be far in the F.C.T, and Nigeria at large”, he intimated.
“The absence of basic infrastructure like good roads, electricity, schools, hospitals, portable water and other basic amenities that make up a city force people to settle in the city center, hence, clustering around the areas infrastructures are, and if there are infrastructures in the satellite towns, people will start relocating there and it will bring about continuity in development”.
He went further to say that the challenges Abuja residents face in terms of housing, especially that of empty and unoccupied houses in the F.C.T is because, Abuja housing is controlled by demand and supply, while the high rate of accommodation is usually caused by landlords and those managing the properties.
Niran opined that, “Accommodation problem experience in Abuja can also be experienced in most cities in Nigeria, but accommodation supply in Abuja is not commensurate with demand, especially with the low income earners and there are more demand from people who are in need of smaller accommodation in the F.C.T like one bedroom, a room and parlour, but supply of such is not much. What is prevalent in Abuja are mostly big accommodations like semi-detached house, duplex, etc., but those that can afford them are not many”.
Fielding question on expectation from the government, Niran Adetunji, indicated that government should provide infrastructure at satellite towns and as well sustain the ones in the city center, so it can be easier for people in the city center to move to satellite towns, thereby decongesting the population of those in the city center.
Also interviewed was ESV. Ijaodola Grace, also a wife of an Estate Surveyor, who was amongst the women who came around during the conference to show appreciation to their husbands, expressed that there is problem of housing deficit in the F.C.T, because of high rate of accommodation in the city.
She also pleaded that lawyers and quacks who are not trained in the field of real estate management should allow the Estate Surveyors and Valuers to effectively do their work, because any bad thing they do rubs off on them as the professionals negatively, “You are better off patronizing professionals, not quacks”, she stated.
In her word, “Estate Surveyors and Valuers are members of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) which has as one of its duties as an Estate Agency, but that does not stop us from carrying out our core area of competence which are valuation, project and facility management, but because of unemployment in the country, everybody tends to encroach on the agency aspect. We are the only one empowered by law to practice housing agency”.