From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
Following the kick-starting of a national preparatory process for the Habitat III conference, the stage has been set by the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to formulate a New Urban Agenda, which considers the implementation of the Habitat II Agenda and other relevant internationally agreed goals and targets, as well as new challenges, emerging trends and a prospective vision for sustainable human settlements.
The new urban agenda will be fashioned by a broad – based multi-stakeholder national habitat committee that was inaugurated last month in Abuja. The committee is expected to provide inputs and support to the national preparatory process of the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III).
In Nigeria, with upwards of 48 per cent of the total population now living in settlements designated as urban, the realities of the growing phenomenon are already clear to all.
Unfortunately, the urban contribution to national development in Nigeria has also come at a price, bringing along with it critical challenges including the large proportion of urban residents, put at about 69 per cent, who live in slum conditions, the huge housing deficit estimated at between 16-18 million units; insecure land tenure, poor infrastructure, lack of basic amenities, high cost of funds, subs standard building materials, incompetent construction workforce and the absence of adequate legislative framework to guide the housing industry.