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By on September 8, 2011

The euphoria that greeted the passage of the Lagos State tenancy bill has not died. It has been praised as one of the finest people-oriented efforts in the country. We applaud the Fashola-led government effort to addressing the challenges of housing in the state. We think his government has shown direction in bringing these issues into resolve. While people celebrate this, we are worried about the snags and upheavals this law portends.

The recent Urban Agglomeration Report issued by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Population Division) stated that the population of Lagos is expected to hit 15.8 million in 2025. The report said the population of the state in 2007, stood at 9.5 million ranking as the second most populous city in Africa. The rate of population growth in the state, the report further said is about 275,000 persons per annum with a population density of 2,594 persons per square kilometre. Also, this is further compounded by another study which revealed that the state, at the moment requires more than 2.5 million housing units to address accommodation imbalance.

First, housing needs are addressed by market forces and there few things we can do if there are huge deficits there. This could make the law prostrate. As it is today, we have over 16 million housing deficits nationally. Lagos state with its huge urban population; increasing being hit severely by rural-urban drift takes a chunk of all that and suffers seriously for housing deficiencies.

Second, the impunity that has greeted the housing challenge exposes the tenants to more vulnerability in new light. Like landlords could choose to hike their rent in response to this as well as a way to capture the set amount just in one piece. Tenants have always remained beggars in the housing market, while landlords have always being investors eager to recoup their investment in our hazardous investment environment. It is argued that the dynamics favours the landlord to continue with this while the tenant hopes lies in the implementation of this law which market forces could frustrate.

We are very challenged by the approach the government will deployed in the process of implementing this law. We are fearful that this might add flesh and balloon the already bloated bureaucracy of the state. At first all grievances are expected to be taken to Alausa which is the seat of government. Such makes the process of seeking redress cumbersome and leaves both parties utilizing other means unhealthy to get justice. This is dangerous for the state and her urban residents.

We suggest the government should utilize the existing local government structures and web application to addressing this challenge. The local workers could be trained in this and given extra responsibilities in light of this. Also, we should design an application that collects and manage complaints in a way that brings convenience and justice to all parties since not all cases should head to Alausa.

Critically too, the government’s attitude in recent times through its massive forceful ejection of occupants in Bariga, Makoko and Iwaya areas of the state, leaves the state government’s sincerity in tatters. While no prior notice and alternative arrangements were provided for these abandoned people, it translates to state here that we have not grown in the areas of cushioning the effect of painful policies implementation on our people or help them manage and incorporate changes in a friendly manner. In this era of great accomplishments, it is pitiful. Also, land acquisition in Lagos remains inflated by the government while cost of completing title to land is outrageous.

Finally, we charged the state’s government to look into all this. We compel the state government to totally review the exorbitant amount being charged at the Land Registry so that developers will be encouraged. This will certainly lead to a downward review of rents rather than only legislating on it.

One Comment

  1. Ojo81

    September 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    fantastic post.