1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
With a population of about 173 million people, Nigeria is the largest country in Africa and accounts for 47% of West Africa’s population. Given these large reserves of human and natural resources, the country has significant potential to build a prosperous economy characterized by rapid economic growth through real estate rebranding leading to infrastructural development that can significantly reduce poverty, inequality and improve standards of living of the population through better access to and quality of health care, education and infrastructure services (Falade, 2007).
One of the organization that has been promoting real estate agency rebranding in Nigeria is The Real Estate Developer’s Association of Nigeria (REDAN) which is the principal agency of the organized private sector recognized by government and approved by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) the apex mortgage lender in Nigeria to facilitate the delivery of affordable mass housing in Nigerians (REDAN, 2015).
Housing policy in Nigeria is as old as the history of the country. Thus, we can broadly categorize its historical development under the five distinct phases of the colonial period (before 1960), the post- independence period (1960-1979), the second civilian administration (1979-1983), the military era (1984-1999), and the post military era (1999 to date). The major characteristic of the colonial period was the provision of staff quarters for expatriates and other indigenous staff of parastatals and organizations. This era witnessed the creation of Urban Councils in 1946, the establishment of Lagos Executive Board (LEBD) in 1954, the formation of Nigerian Building Society in 1955, as well as the enactment of Regional Housing Corporation in 1959. Also, the post-independence period experienced some improvements in housing provision during the First National Development Plan period (1962-1968) and the second National Development Plan 1970-1974). Specifically, the formulation of the National Council on Housing in 1971 led to further improvement in housing delivery. The third National Development Plan (1975-1980) made further improvements on housing programmes, policies and The transformation of the Nigerian Building Society into Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria with the promulgation of Decree No 7 of 1977 also brought some improvements into housing delivery in Nigeria. The Land Use Decree (LUD) of 1978 was promulgated in order to guarantee access to land by all Nigerians. Before the promulgation of the LUD, dual land tenure structure was paramount in the country. The LUD came to stabilize the ownership and acquisition of land. Also, during the era, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1979) laid emphasis on the importance of local building materials and the relevance of labour and construction industry. In this same year, the Employees Housing Scheme Decree No 54 of 1979 was promulgated.
This decree made provision for staff housing and housing estates. The housing policy in the 1980s and 1990s was the means by which divided society was being created. The rural areas were neglected and the housing stocks in the urban areas were improved upon. This was as a result of high rate of urbanization and the subsequent housing shortage in urban centres. The military era witnessed further improvements in housing policies and delivery. This was facilitated by the promulgation of the Mortgage Institutions Decree No 53 of 1989. The decree promoted the realization of the major and specific objectives of the National Housing Policy. Furthermore, the Economic Liberalization Policy of Babangida’s administration supported the participation of the private organization in housing delivery. This was closely followed by the promulgation of the Urban and Regional Planning Decree 88 of 1992 as well as the National Housing Fund (NHF) Decree No 3 of 1992. The NHF was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring continuous flow of fund for housing construction and delivery.
Prior to the millennium, the policy of ‘housing for all in year 2000’ was formulated. This policy was rigorously pursued, but it was besieged by administrative bottlenecks which made the policy difficult to be realized by the year 2000. Nevertheless, in year 2002, the Housing and Urban Development Policy was formulated. This policy was meant majorly to correct the inconsistencies of the Land Use Act as well as to allow land banking and ownership to operate in a free market economy. The post military era has been able to witness tremendous improvement in the Nigerian housing situation (Akeju, 2007). However, the federal government policy on monetization and privatization are negating the objectives of housing policies and progammes. Other constraints to housing development and delivery in Nigeria are poverty, high cost of building materials, inadequate financial instruments for mobilization of funds, short maturity preference of lending institution, high rate of rural-urban migration, as well as high rate of poverty (Kabir, 2004). Infrastructural development through mass housing delivery in Nigeria will significantly boost the economy of the nation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Agbola (1998) noted that the effort of the government in terms of the formulation and implementation of the National Housing Policy is quite commendable. On the other hand, he opined that the efforts have not shown remarkable improvement in the status quosince many Nigerians are still homeless while up till this time, many are living in dingy and ramshackle structures. Another major criticism of the policy lies in the area of monitoring, evaluation and review. An housing policy is derived from laws, regulations and administrative practices that can aid the production and delivery of housing. However, the researcher is of the opinion that infrastructural development e.g. good housing can only be achieved through crops of professional real estate agents.