Abuja Metro

Abuja residents cry out

•As arbitrary house rent hits rooftops in FCT

From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are lamenting arbitrary hike in rents, occasioned by the economic hardship. Some are mulling relocating to neighbouring states.

 

Some others are begging government to enact legislation on rent control. Yet, others are asking for an affordable mass housing policy. This, they argue, will discourage indiscriminate escalation of rents by house owners and make housing affordable.

A tenant in Phase 4, Kubwa, Mrs. Patience Nana, opined: “Government should help us to bring down the cost of things in the market. The landlords are also part of the society and they buy from the market too.

“Government should find a way of engaging those in the building industry and bring down the cost of building materials. This will discourage unnecessary hike in  rents.

“If building materials are cheap, those of us that are tenants can build. If we are able to build, many houses will be vacant and the landlords will have no option than to crash the rent.”

Another resident, Kelechi Igwe, told Daily Sun: “I am not a civil servant who must resume work by 8:00am. I have a house in Keffi, Nasarawa State, which is nearby to the FCT. But for ease of movement and reach by my clients, I relocated my office  to the FCT.  Any moment I can no longer cope with it, I will move my office out of the metropolis.”

Josephine Nankyer desires a rent control policy or a mass housing policy: “When the majority of people own  houses, not only will rents crash, productivity will be high because some people can operate from their  comfortable homes.”

For house owners, although some of the houses were built when cement price was low, the cost of maintaining those houses now is unbearable. A developer and a landlord who pleaded anonymity, said: “Some materials used for the construction and maintenance of buildings are no longer affordable.

“A building goes through maintenance throughout its lifespan and this is no longer sustainable.” He  argued that building materials such as sands, cement, granite, concrete, wood, plaster of paris, (POP), glass, paint and plumbing are now beyond the reach of the common  man:

“For instance, a 50kg bag of cement  is now sold for between N9,000 and N15,000. Flexible binding wires  now sell for  between N8000 and  N12,000. A bundle of solid binding wire ranges from N12,500 to N13,800, and a 10kg coil  can be got for between N69,000 and N72,000.

“For tiles, 30 × 30 ranges from N12,500 to N13,500; 40 x 40 ranges from N13,400 to N13,800; 30 x 60 ranges from N12,700 to N13,000 while 60 × 60  ranges from N14,700 to N16,000. These prices fluctuate minute by minute depending on the time one visited the market.”

Managing Director, Leisure Court Estate, Mr Segun  Abolaji, ruled out the possibility of affordable housing in Nigeria: “If Nigeria  must  have affordable housing, the first thing that government should do is to make land affordable by regulating the ownership of lands.

“There is no regulation for the real estate practitioners in  Nigeria unlike in America, where possession of land is regulated. It is even more difficult for  real estate people to apply  for land and get direct allocations than the politicians who get the allocation and resell to  us at exorbitant prices.

“Another reason affordable housing cannot be realistic is because of  the cost of cement and building materials. Only gypsum is sourced outside the country.  Yet costs of building materials are skyrocketing everyday unchecked.”

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