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THE PROBLEM AND PROSPECTS OF HOUSING IN THE NEW STATE CAPITAL, ASABA DELTA STATE
Housing is one of the three basic necessities of life. He dignity of man is usually enhanced by his ownership of house. The greater population of the world population is housed, the population that is well housed is in the minority while dilapidated houses are accommodating the greater population of the world.
The concentration and rapid increase of population in the new state capitals is based on the few and inadequate social services in the town. The main pointer in the new state capital is the problem of a housing, houses to match the over-growing demand so as to produce rent which are reasonable to meet the community and which are equitable in terms of returns to investors in housing in the urban area and developing areas like Asaba-statistics have it that in Asaba, some areas, the home is too small to allow for decent family life and offers no more than a tiny abode to its members. Statistics also have it that urban dwelling are in general over-crowded and surrounded by a deplorable urban landscape situation. This most unsatisfactory situation is still setting hard due to the impact of population growth and urbanization, there has been a remarkable increase in recent years.
In the recent rate of growth of population together with a steady force of population from the rural area to the urban centres. Theres has been a rapid increase in the number of experts, administrative and technical personels as a result of improvement, changes and growth in development standard improvement in the general level of prosperity; income, living condition of people has led to people demanding more and better houses.
On the other hand, supply for number of reasons has not kept pace with this demand in the urban areas because of industries situated there, it has made it possible for people to migrate to these areas despite the quality of a problem in finding a means to have accommodation which is relatively cheap with the means of the rural folk and yet of sufficient high quality ot satisfy certain basic requirements.
Though these days, expert now live in the rural areas because of developments, it still takes time to construct dwelling house, while the buildings are under construction, they will have to accept the available ones. The housing problem out of necessity to be considered against the background of the social philosophy of the community. there are certain peculiarities associated with the economic of housings, particularly the fact that there is considerable inconsistency on both the demand and supply side of housing.
There is the unadulterated ‘MARXIST’ view that government should be totally committed and has a responsibility ot provide accommodation at reasonable rents must be provided for every person and so on should be allowed, for instance to take advantage of his ownership of land or wealth to exploit the tenant group in society, having said all these, it will be proper to state the problem of housing in Asaba. It is very common to see that the acquisition of and is tough in the sense that land is expensive and counted in supply and in addition, it takes a rather long time to negotiate and come by good title to land even after land must have been acquired and building erected. It is not enough because it cannot accommodate the teeming population and this ten leads to over crowding which is not good for healthy living. Buildings are over crowded and human being also are too much due to large household size and shortage of housing.
One point should be understood and that is of good planning, if Asaba is well planned, then the problem of housing may not be much. But because of inadequate facility utilities and amenities not been provided for. It will then be worsen when the population is much or over crowded. Come to think of it rents are very high for the good enough buildings and this does not go down well for the low income earners and this makes for an unhealthy way of living but if the government could come and build low cost houses, then it will save these dwellers from their suffering.
Although dwellers who can afford decent houses ot live in, it makes for the high growth of tenement, because they now resort to live in place where there is not good ventilation and the house cluster. These houses are not permanent in the sense that if there is heavy wind or rain, the building collapses and life is lost, tough because they will have to provide another accommodation or they will have to rebuild.
Lack of planning is another problem because since these houses are built carelessly, it does make for good planning. They do not get the go ahead from the authorities concerned, these buildings have been developed and demolished when the planning authorities find out, so it is safer to get the go ahead from the authorities concerned even though it will take so much time ot acquire but it should be worthwhile in the long run.
Decent housing is one of the basic need of every individual, the family and community. in general a pre-requisite to the survival of man. The housing as a unit of the environment has profound influence on the health, efficiency, social behaviour satisfaction and general welfare of the community it reflects the cultural, social and economic value of a society as it is the best physical and historical evidence of civilization in a town and country. The importance of providing adequate housing in any town cannot be over stated. It is a stimulant of the national economy.
Decent housing on the other had can be regarded as a right of every individuals, a great population of the population in Asaba live in sub-standard and poor housing and a deplorable, unsanitary rapid urbanization and economic growth have compounded the problem of acute population in Asaba.
1.1 HOUSING PROBLEM IN ASABA
There is therefore great shortage of housing especially for the low-income earners in Asaba. A household sample survey conducted one selected part of the town in October 1995 by the participants of this workshop revealed that about 84.46% of the housing units are flats while only 28.4% are tenement units. This has resulted in high room occupancy ration of more than five (5) persons per habitable room as recorded in parts of Umuaji, Umuezei, Egengbome in Asaba.
flat sharing or multiple occupation of apartment flats are measures used by those of low-income earner to redress. This often leads to the deterioration of the residential buildings and the environment. The causes of shortage of tenement house can be attributed to such factors as high cost of land by acquisition, lack of finance, high cost of building materials, and population trends, unwillingness of private developer to invest in tenement houses due largely to know returns from such development and the fact that planning schemes for some of the layout deliberately excluded tenement building eg Ezena Avenue.
Sitting of certain housing project (i.e portion of low cost housing) are some of the factors responsible for flooding in the city. Some draws in theEzenei Avenue, low cost housing for example were constructed with utter disregard to the topography of the area so that water is expected to flow against the radiant. In general, the problem of housing in Asaba is more of shortage of appropriate housing units in form of tenement or rooming houses whose rents are affordable by people in the low income level than shortage of flat apartment many of which vacant due to high rentage.
Also flood wreaks in Asaba, make people lose property and also the lost of five’s are encountered. These problems bring about rebuilding and displacement of occupants of the affected buildings.
1.2 HISTORICLA BACKGROUND OF ASABA
Asaba is located in the eastern part of delta state with sixteen (16) local government area. A rapid developing urban centre and the administrative headquarter of Delta state inNigeria. Its historical roots is from both Kogi and Anambra state.
A woman named Diaba from Agbakuba village in Nteje, Anambra state, was said to have been impregnated by Onojobo, a prince and trader from Igala land, while she was residing in Eze Anyanwu’s court as one of the court girls. She was said to have hailed from the royal line of Ezechima, the legendary ancestor of numerous settlements east of theNiger, includingOnitsha. This explains why Benin, Asaba and Onitsha seem to share a common culture and tradition as in the area of festival regalia like traditional coral beads and hand-woven big flowing white gowns and traditional titles scuh as the Onowu Iyasele of Onitsha and the Iyase Onowu of Asaba. Asaba is one of the emerging urban centres of present dateNigeria. Before the creation of Delta andAdostate, Asaba was the headquarter of Oshimili south local government which has a limited political significance. After the creation of Delta state and Asaba as the headquarter continue to attract many governmental functionaries such as ministries and all types of government parastatals thereby swelling up in population increase, in working class people.
Today, Asaba is experiencing greater housing problems than ever before and it is feared that impact may take some time to subside.
1.3 PROBLEMS OF LAND ACQUSITION FOR HOUSING
Before the land use Act of 1978, ownership of land was rested on individuals and community which result to cumbersome and obstacles to individuals willing to acquire an interest in land. The alnd use Act stopped private owners and individuals form owning land rather having possession on it in perpetuity. It rested all land in the power of the governor of each state. Before a private individual acquires and interest in land from the state governor, he has to undergo series of protocol before he can be issued with a right of title or certificate of occupancy to use and enjoy the relevant piece of land usually evidence in certificate of occupancy (C OF O).
The system and process of securing title to land is unsatisfactory and cumbersome. As a first step towards this, the private individual has to buy a form which contains some questions to be completed and submitted before specified time. The authority concerned with the processing and insurance of this certificate of occupancy often make situations difficult for the developer who would otherwise which to make immediate development. this is because the certificate of occupancy consume a lot of time before it can be issued to a developer. The next stage after the processing of the form is that, those that have been approved are rent to the governor for endorsement and whereby governor is busy, he can then assign this duty of endorsement to the commissioner of lands, works and transport, who endorses his signature with a red wax to show its validity.
The successful applicant is then given a certificate of occupancy to use and enjoy the land subject to the conditions and covenants contained in the said certificate.
The logic being the issue of condition and covenants is that only authorized occupier can develop, enjoy or lease the land but subject of course to the zoning and planning laws and other regulations affecting land use, in relevant urban area. it is now clear from the foregoing that housing is militated against by the problem of land acquisition in Asaba.