New settlements have continued to spring up in different locations in the city of Kano, Nigeria’s centre of commerce and most populated city but they are distorting the city’s masterplan, according to government officials.
New buildings springing up along Gwarzo Road, Daily Trust learnt, are a result of the expansion of Bayero University’s new campus, while others along Hadejia Road at Tokarawa Industrial Area, Dan Sarai and Tsamiyar Kara are due to the expansion of the Hadejia Road Industrial area.
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Also, some unplanned settlements are growing even in areas where the state government’s housing estates are situated.
They include Danladi Nasidi Housing along Maiduguri road; Amana and Kwankwasiyya Housing Estate along Zaria-Kaduna Road; Bandarawo Housing Estate along Kano-Daura Road; and Zawaciki Housing Estate.
A Kano-based estate developer, Alhaji Alfa Garba Mairiga, revealed that the construction of the state’s ring road by the federal government, which was started in 2000, has contributed to the establishment of new settlements at Yan Dodo, Haye and Tinshama among other places.
He added that the city’s structural development is aided by rural-urban migration of people looking for the vast commercial activities the state has been known for.
He added that the effect of the high population growth and increased rate of urbanisation had been observed to have thrown the city into serious housing problems.
It was also observed that the influx of persons mostly from crisis-ridden states has contributed to the expansion of the urban centres with its attendant physical planning challenges.
Another Kano-based estate developer, Alhaji Auwal Basheer, said the increasing demand for housing in the metropolis led to the rapid growth of informal settlements with the consequent problems of lack of access roads, drainage, water supply, electricity and poor conformity to building regulations.
A housing expert, Mudassir Ibrahim Hassan, told Daily Trust that the new satellite towns initiated by the state government to address the issue under its housing schemes meant for the urban low-income groups, were generally built without consideration to the beneficiaries’ economic status and other social factors, causing such schemes to be unaffordable.
According to the expert, the gap identified affected the chances of the urban low-income groups from having access to the houses, adding that the credit facilities meant to empower people to build and own their personal residences were tied to stringent conditions that could not be met by the urban poor.
Another estate developer, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi Mana, revealed that when it was apparent that the urban poor could not afford the houses built by the government, an informal arrangement was developed closer to the government housing estates which gave rise to the various new informal settlements around such areas.
“The urban poor’s inability to get a house despite the high need resulted in the growth of unplanned and illegal housing which, however, is higher than that of public sector housing development.
“Information available from the UNDP indicates that 75% of the residents of Kano are low-income earners, which suggests that the majority cannot generate the savings required to afford even the ‘low-cost’ houses,” he said.
According to a resident of Fari new layout, Malam Habu Bawa Fari, the layout came into existence as a result of the Amana Housing Estate there.
“Lands have appreciated in the area and also some basic amenities such as access roads and small-scale industries have also been established,” he said, adding that settlements are growing without proper planning and houses are being constructed with little or no regard to environmental sanitation. “That is why the area is always at risk of flooding,” he said.
Another resident of a new settlement at Wailari, Malam Yakubu Maiwada, said the place is known in the state as ‘Awon Igiya’ which negates all formal land and regional planning.
“Though a positive development, as the state keeps expanding, such new settlements face serious developmental issues due to disregard for the enforcement of development provisions.
“It is apparent that it has become difficult for the planning authorities to put into practice the various policy statements and guidelines on urban growth in the metropolis,” he noted.
However, efforts to get officials of the Kano State Environmental Planning and Protection Agency (KASEPPA) to comment on the issue proved abortive as calls placed to the officials were not answered.
When contacted, the Deputy Director, Development Control at the state Urban Development Agency, Builder Aliyu Dada, said “certainly not all developers are violating our plans. Some are applying for small and larger plots of land for division into smaller portions. Some are applying, while some others are not.
“What we are doing right now is that our team is going to some communities to demolish some of the structures, especially those that are built under high tension cables. We shall demolish them without notice even,” he said.
On payment of compensation on structures demolished, Dada said: “The issue of compensation comes in when government approves land use and the developer complies with the laid down rules.
“People should be law abiding because whatever we are doing here is for the betterment of the state and for them as well,” he said.