Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has called for closer ties with the state governments to address housing deficit in the country.
He said that for the objective of providing adequate housing for Nigerians to be achieved, state governments should be on the same page with the Federal Government.
Speaking at the 8th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development with the “Housing Development and Consumer Credit as Strategies for National Prosperity”, with representatives of the states of the Federation, Fashola, said the country cannot achieve much if all of its component parts are not contributing much as expected.
According to him, “no matter how much we intend to achieve in terms of housing, we need the states to work with us, while implementing their own programmes to also collaborate with us. That is the first important thing I want to say. Of all the National Councils of the various Ministries, perhaps the Council on Lands and Housing and Urban Development is perhaps the most important one.
“While the Federal Government wants to commit to Housing and Urban Development for its economic, social and other benefits, interestingly it is the state governments, who by virtue of the Land Use Act that control the land. So how do you build if you do not have land and that is why I say this council meeting is so important, because collaboration can be fostered. Land can be made available as it was done at the 2016 Council when we wanted to start the National Housing pilot project. It was the states who gave the land, the 34 states and I am happy to report that we are building in all those states today. We need that cooperation to continue.
“Also since 2003 the Supreme Court of Nigeria had determined that Urban Development and Planning is a matter exclusively preserved for the jurisdiction of state governments. So it is not just important for you to own land what you do with that land and how you use it is a matter solely controlled by the state.”
He continued that, “therefore whatever the FG seeks to achieve in terms of urban development, housing development, it needs collaboration with the states and this is important. It is important therefore that this collaboration must continue especially if Nigeria is to achieve her housing aspirations. The cooperation between us and the states must be the foundation of the prosperity we want to achieve; this is why we chose this year’s theme.”