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At Nubi’s Inaugural Lecture On Housing

Posted: Sep 15, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The main auditorium of the University of Lagos was filled with thunderous applauses last Thursday as the Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Professor Timothy Nubi, gave his inaugural lecture before the academic community and the general public. It was the very first inaugural lecture to emanate from the Department of Estate Management of Unilag.

Nubi did justice to the title of the lecture: ‘Beyond Bricks and Mortar’ when he provided an overview of the housing sector and shared his thoughts on how indiscriminate policy transfer and subsequent policy mismatch had impeded the growth of the housing sector in the country. He explained that despite various White Papers and policy actions by governments, key problems, such as access to land, quality of housing stock and access to finance, facing Nigeria’s housing sector, remain elusive.

His research in land administration has shown that there is need for systematic overhaul of the land management system, from the review of the Land Use Act to the nationwide adoption of the geographic information system and the ploughing back of revenues generated from land related transactions to the land management sector.

As is required of any academic of his status, the housing expert showcased his contribution to the university community, the nation at large and his profession. He has worked with the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to develop a Blue Print towards a sustainable affordable housing delivery in Nigeria; where they created five different models through which social housing could be delivered.

Since then, he has promoted the Cooperative Home Ownership Incentive Scheme (CHOIS) model as a veritable solution to housing challenges in the country. He has served at the state level as a think-tank for government policy making. He has also dwelt extensively on the relationship between urban regeneration and housing development. His studies show the relationship between housing finance, housing supply and the housing stock. He was able to showcase that without decent mortgageable housing stock, the potential for utilizing modern forms of finance in generating new supply is limited.

The founder of Ideal Habitat non-governmental organization (NGO), has through his church activities and NGO, espoused the need for decent housing and has taken practical steps to show how ordinary Nigerians can achieve home ownership.

The professional estate surveyor and valuer was able to demonstrate that housing is said to be affordable when the cost incurred on rent or amount for amortization of mortgage loan is not more than 30 percent of the income of the renter or the mortgagor. He noted that since it has been difficult to increase wages or to get all the states in Nigeria to agree to pay the minimum wage, the best option for the country is to work on cost reduction. He declared that he believes this is achievable. The multiplier effect of a vibrant construction industry and affordable mortgage, accessible to all, he remarked, can be achieved, if all stakeholders are mobilized.

Prof Nubi did present his desire and argument for the enactment of a Nigerian Housing Act. He was able to show that policy transfers are best when they are designed, using ‘disciplined inspiration’, which is policy transfer based on policy designed, with some elements drawn from the overseas policies and not inconsistent with them. The Nigerian housing sector, in all its component areas, he said, requires active government participation as a firm enabler, not just a regulator. “The nation is due for a Nigerian Housing Act,” he emphasized.

At the end of the lecture, while nodding in affirmation, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Rahamon Bello, gave his commendation to the milestone, so far achieved by Professor Timothy Olugbenga Nubi.