UN expert visits Nigeria to examine state of adequate housing
The UN expert will examine various housing issues, including substandard housing conditions, forced evictions, access to services and to justice for the right to housing.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, will arrive in Nigeria today to examine the challenges and opportunities in the Nigerian housing sector. In a statement released by the UN yesterday, Farha will meet senior government officials from the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, and other ministries during her 11-day visit, ending on September 23rd.
“I look forward to travelling to the most populous nation in Africa to explore the challenges and opportunities facing Nigeria with regard to its implementation of the right to housing,” the Special Rapporteur said. A Special Rapporteur – usually an honorary position – is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to examine and report back on the situation in a country or a specific human rights theme.
The UN said Nigeria faces significant housing challenges, including the growth of informal settlements and the forced eviction of communities for development projects. The UN expert will examine various housing issues, including substandard housing conditions, forced evictions, access to services and to justice for the right to housing and the conditions of particular vulnerable groups, including women, people living in informal settlements and those who are homeless.
“I would like to learn more about programmes and policies put in place to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11.1, which commits governments to ensuring access to safe, affordable and adequate housing and basic services for all by 2030,” said Farha. “I am particularly interested to learn more about the Government’s recent commitment to build one million homes per year until 2033.”
Last month, Nigeria’s Minister of State, Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, disclosed the government’s plan to address housing deficit by delivering one million houses per year to close the 17 million shortfall by the year 2033. He made the disclosure during an inspection of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) mass housing project in Zuba, Abuja. The FHA said it is working to ensure that ordinary Nigerians have access to affordable housing.
“Housing affordability, particularly in urban areas, has become an issue of concern worldwide,” the UN Special Rapporteur said. “A contributing factor is housing speculation, which serves to increase housing prices and pushes residents out of their neighbourhoods and cities. I hope to gain an understanding as to whether such trends are also present in Nigeria.”
Farha is also expected to have talks with governors, commissioners, and public institutions responsible for human rights, urban development and combating homelessness. The expert will also hold meetings with people living in various neighbourhoods in and around Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt, and representatives of civil society.
At the end of her visit, Farha will hold a press conference in Abuja on September 23rd to share her preliminary findings and recommendations. Then she will present a comprehensive report of her visit to the UNHRC in March 2020.
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