ROLE OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF RESIDENTIAL ESTATES IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF AKWA IBOM STATE GOVERNMENT)
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Few residential estates built across Nigeria by both federal and state government has been able to meet the housing needs of many Nigerians. Shelter is a basic necessities an esteemed need of man. It used to be rankedsecond after food in the hierarchy of man’s needs but according to Ebie (2009) it is the first andmost important of all rights. According to him, because of the importance attaching to provisionof housing and coupled with the fact that a proper housing unit in all its ramifications is more than mere blocks of buildings since it embraces all social services and utilities that go to make a community or neighbourhood alivable environment, it is now a right.Though inadequate, but the federal government of Nigeria and various corporate organizations have invested in the building residential estate for the purpose of profit making and meeting the housing needs of Nigerians.Even though this provision is not actionable, it reinforces the call for government at all levels to invest in massive housing provision in Nigeria and this study is however examining the role of Akwa Ibom State Government in the development of residential estates in the state.
A residential housing estate is a group of homes and other buildings built together as a single development. The exact form may vary from country to country. Accordingly, a housing estate is usually built by a single contractor, with only a few styles of house or building design, so they tend to be uniform in appearance.
The desire for adequate and affordable housing alsohas strong linksto the need for security,safetyandproper socio-economic status ofindividualsand communities.In spite ofthiswidely acknowledgedimportance of housingand variousefforts in making adequateand affordablehousing available tomajority of people,alargeproportion of urban residentsin less developed countries do not have access to decent housingataffordablecost(Tipple,2004;2006;UN-HABITAT,2006;Greene andRojas, 2008).
Asaresult,mosturban residents in Developing countries live in housing conditions that constitute an affront to human dignity and which comes with appalling social,economic, spatial and healthimplications (Coker et al., 2007; UNFPA, 2007). Hence,inadequate housing condition has become anintractable challenge that has continued to receive attention from governments and individuals in many developing countries.Previous studies have shown that successive administrations in Nigeriahadlauncheda minimumof sevenresidential housingprogrammes inthe last few decades in abidto addressincreasinghousingchallengesin thecountry(Akinmoladunand Oluwoye, 2007; Ademiluyi andRaji, 2008)However, substantial literatureon public residential estateindeveloping countries hasrevealedthreemain streams of criticism(Mukhija, 2004). First, it isarguedthatmostpublic residential schemesare inefficientand ill conceived, and thusfailed tomeetthe needs of target population(Rondinelli, 1990;Mba, 1992). Second, direct government involvement in housing provisionisviewed as being negligiblecomparedtothe volume ofresidential estates providedbyinformalprivatesector(UN-HABITAT, 2006).Finally,government intervention in thehousing marketto check rising cost of housingis seenas counter – productiveandanimpediment to smoothoperationofhousingmarketand efficienthousingdeliverysystem.