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Mixed feelings as Lagos housing corporation delivers 27,000 units in 50 years

Last week, the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC) rolled out drums to celebrate 50 years of its existence during which it delivered 27,000…

Last week, the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC) rolled out drums to celebrate 50 years of its existence during which it delivered 27,000 housing units.

The corporation also took stock of its interventions in the housing and property market in the last 50 years.

The corporation was established by Edict 1 of 1972 as a government agency charged with the mandate to develop conducive and modern housing schemes to meet the needs of low and middle-class families, while transforming the urban residential communities into planned and habitable neighbourhoods.

LSDPC’s Managing Director and CEO, Hon Ayodeji Joseph, said the corporation had achieved remarkable results in fulfilling its mandate, stressing that the agency had developed its housing programme in line with the needs of low-and middle-class families.

He said, “In the last five decades we have fulfilled the vision of our founders. The next decades would be better and rewarding for the corporation as we are opening new frontiers of innovation and partnership to deliver more safe, decent and sustainable housing schemes for Lagos residents.”

However, as the corporation celebrated its achievements, there were mixed feelings over whether it had truly fulfilled its mandate against the burgeoning housing deficit in the state, which is estimated at over 3.2m, constituting 11 per cent of the national housing deficit.

Our correspondent reports that Lateef Jakande, the first civilian governor of the state, was renowned for his mass housing policy, especially for the poor and low-income earners. Up till today, the Jakande Estate remains scattered in all the nooks and crannies of the state, though now mostly bought over by new owners at exorbitant prices.

Findings by our correspondent revealed that more than 60 per cent of the 27,000 units (17,917 units) were actually delivered under Jakande.

The breakdown as contained in a souvenir book chronicling Jakande’s achievements in housing includes 3,312 in Amuwo Odofin; 954 in Iponrin; 90 in Abule Nla; 3,939 in Isolo; 4,168 in Abesan/Agege; 2,328 Dolphin/Anikantamo; 2,352 in Iba; Maryland, 144; Surulere, 90; Ikorodu, Badagry and Epe, 180 units each.

Akin Akintola, an engineer, said there was nothing to celebrate about the achievements of successive governments in the area of housing.

He said, “They are not the ones to assess themselves but the people. Go and check the statistics of Jakande houses, they are owned by individuals and the downtrodden people. How many people can afford their houses? That should give you a clue about their achievements.

“If they tell us the statistics and the number of poor people that have access to the houses like we had during Jakande, then we can commend them.

“Today, Jakande’s houses are spread to every nook and cranny and those who never thought of having houses in Lagos eventually have and it was like a struggle but they can boast of having their own houses.”

“The day you and I can just go there as if we want to buy a sim card like what they did with Jakande, I think that is the day we can celebrate,” Akintola, a one-time Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Ikeja branch, added.

Some observers believe that the full commercialisation of the corporation under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2003 when it stopped receiving subvention stymied the capacity of the corporation to deliver affordable houses to the poor.

At the moment, an average two-bedroom flat by the corporation costs between N25m and N38m.

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a one-time Managing Director (MD) of the corporation, who graced the event with the theme: “Unfolding Arms to Join Hands: Moving the Lagos Property Market Forward”, said the milestone being celebrated by the corporation was the effort of generations of Lagos residents who had worked in the agency since inception.

Sanwo-Olu said, “The milestone the LSDPC is celebrating today is not the work of one individual but the hard work of a whole generation. This glory belongs to all Governors who gave LSDPC free hand to flourish and also every staff member who has worked in the corporation since its inception. This progress speaks to aligning with the vision of its establishment and the purposeful leadership.

“I particularly acknowledge the efforts of the current and past leadership in the corporation who have toiled and laboured to build this great institution. They have built this great household name which all of us are proud of. We appreciate private sector partners who have taken the risk and worked with the government to give fresh breath in housing development.”

The governor further said that the provision of comfortable housing schemes remained a cardinal priority in his administration’s development agenda, stressing that LSDPC was a key agency being used to actualise his government’s housing promises to transform Lagos into a 21st Century city.

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