The Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), has said that responding to challenges, providing adequate and affordable housing to Nigerians will take its front seat in the next fiscal year.
Brainstorming on the housing challenges at its 57th Annual General Assembly & Conference (tagged BGM 2017) held in Abuja, NIA argued that with half of Nigerians expected to migrate from rural to urban cities by 2020 and with estimated population of 186 million living on less than US$1 per day coupled with the high rate of unemployment, more Nigerians will find it difficult to secure affordable housing.
This year’s conference according to NIA is for Architects to champion action on the modular homes as the minimum wage of N18,000 per month for workers will continue to keep them at the receiving end. This year’s theme, “Affordable Housing: Rhetorics, Tectonic and Architecture” is conceived to reflect the institute desire to evaluate housing affordability in Nigeria. The week long programme which had in attendance, the Minister of Labour and productivity Dr. Chris Ngige and the Kaduna State governor Mallam Nasir El Rufai, witnessed the induction of members/fellows and elections of executives council members for the 2017/2019 term to direct the affairs of the institute in the next two years.
In his maiden address, the new President, NIA, Arc. Festus Adibe Njoku, called on Federal Government and professionals in the built Construction industry especially the architects to take holistic view of the housing problem and policies to address the deficit in the country.
Njoku appealed to government to see housing as one of the three basic needs of man and most important for the physical survival of man after the provision of food which has a profound influence on health, efficiency, social behaviour, satisfaction and general welfare of the nation.
According to him, “There is a big difference between affordable housing and housing that is affordable. Affordable is the government subsidised model while the latter on the other hand, described the ways Architects have to reduce cost of owning a house. He said that there is need for the government to revitalise ailing economy by providing primary infrastructure or creating enabling environment for private sector and charge a predetermined price that is affordable to those who will use this infrastructure.
“In any profession, the elite play a crucial part in elaboration of discourse, their important position in the discursive field is precisely what makes them professional elites. This implies theoretically that elite standing depends on the perceived discursive capacity of particular producers in specialised areas of the production of culture especially on architecture”.
Njoku lamented that for housing to be affordable to Nigerians advanced construction technology should be made available to enable architects, and allied professionals to curb and fill up the gap in the housing deficit of 17million units.