By Genevive Okafor

Accommodation is one of the basic needs of every man. Man has always struggled to put a roof over his head no matter how small. In the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, putting a roof over one’s head has become more difficult for the average and low income earners who have to grapple with the constant harassment of landlords who opportunistically increase rent almost every year.

Anyone who claims to be a landlord in FCT is seen as a lord because the first thing that comes to mind is, “no more given out your year’s savings to a landlord”. But the struggle and the fight to get a house in FCT has become a huge one which many are working on everyday of their lives. In the rocky FCT.

It is not a strange sight now to see houses very close to the rocks in certain places in Abuja. The owners of such houses have to battle with so many challenges but for them, those challenges are nothing as far as there is a roof will be under their heads. Those landlords or would-be landlords had to buy those rocky lands from the natives of the FCT.

Building houses in a terrain like that is a difficult fete to achieve.

One has to involve the services of the stone breakers to remove the rocks at the site and to level the ground. Oloye who is building a house in one of such places in Dutse Alhaji stated that apart from the leveling of the area, getting a bag of cement up where he wanted to build his house was a difficult task adding that he had to pay some boys N100 for each bag of cement. He also stated that for a single brick , one have to pay N10.

Oloye stated that though it was strenuous and difficult exercise for him, the building of the house would saved him money at the long run as he will not have to think about giving all his savings to Abuja landlord.

“I am planning on becoming my own landlord too. I am set to build another house that I will rent out after I am done with this. People come here to get land because it is cheap. You can get a land for N50,000, N70,000 from the Gbagyis and you use it to build your own house. It is cheaper unlike lands in the level lands that could be around N300,000 , N700,000 and more. “Because of how things are in Abuja, people also prefer to rent houses here. A single room here can go for N50,000 unlike the N100,000, N150,000 you can get in other places. People are looking for ways to make ends meet,” he added.

Apart from the high rate of accommodation and the urge to become a landlord in Abuja, Oloye stated that another reason people have decided to live in the area was to run away from the incessant demolition craze in the FCT.

“I believe that what is making people live in this type of environment apart from the high rents is the fear of demolition. We that build our house here know that it is for the meantime and that one day, government will come to do the usual thing they know how to do best which is demolition,” he said.

On how he stays at the area at night as his house was the last one at the area which was surrounded with bushes, Oloye said that he had never had any cause to be afraid of the area and added that most of the land around have been bought by individuals who were planning to erect their own houses.

‘’I am not scared of anything. I believe that God is here to take care of us every time. I have never seen a monkey since I started living here. Some hunters do go up there to hunt for animals. I have not toilet here yet. I am planning on getting one soon. I find my way to the bush when I feel like easing myself,” he said.

He complained bitterly about the government of the country who he said were bent on exploiting the poor masses at every turn of the way and added solemnly that there was nothing to benefit from the government.

“You see all these areas, they were all bushes when we came here. Now gradually, we are clearing it and making everywhere clear habitable.

The next thing that happens is that government will suddenly step in, demolish the houses of the poor masses and sell the land to wealthy people who are mandated to build beautiful houses on the land. No one asks were the people displaced will go. They will just come, mark all your houses and term you illegal occupants. They will tell you that it is their land, ” he said.

But is the stress people go through worth the cheap rent? One would ask. People like Oloye who works in Central Area, Abuja have to climb through the hilly parts to get to their houses three to four times in a day. Water is another not ‘cheap’ commodity to come by in such areas. An example is an area close to Dutse Makaranta, in Bwari Area Council, where boreholes are situated on the level ground, 45 minutes journey down the hill.

Commercial water vendors, popularly called “mai ruwa” who are almost seen  everywhere in Abuja are never seen in this area. The source of the water apart from the boreholes is a little spring of water coming out of the ground.

One of the residents, Mariam Maina who was seen waiting patiently for the water to seep out explained that the water is muddy and not safe from drinking. “We only use it to wash our clothes and other things.

We go to the borehole to get drinkable water. This water here, I will keep it overnight and it will settle down. It even gets better when the rainy season comes,” she said.

The scarcity of water has also provided job for some women over there as they are available to fetch water in that rocky environment and get paid for their services.

“We have women that fetch water for us. We pay the N300, N400 to full our water containers,” Gina Moses, residents told AljazirahNigeria. We are used to the area. One thing about humans is that whatever the situation, they strive to survive. That is the situation in the country. That is the situation we find ourselves,” Moses said.



1980-1989 The 1981/82 National Housing Programme was designed to provide 350 medium and high under the NHF to deliver about 121,000 housing units but less than 5% were recorded to have achieved. The 1991 housing policy sought for active participation of all tiers of government, the federal, state and local government and also government agencies and parastatals such as the federal housing Authority, the state housing Authority, Ministries and Departments.


Under the National Housing Policy 1991 FHA was mandated to develop and manage real estate on commercial and profitable basis in all the state of the federation, provide sites and services scheme for all income groups, with special emphasis on low income groups in the major cities of the country; and provide low income houses in all states of the federation. To ensure proper and positive implementation of this policy; a committee was constituted, the National Housing Policy Council which is saddled with the responsibilities among others to coordinate all activities relating to housing sector and insure continuous monitoring with a view to determine its performance. 2000-DATE During this period the illusionary perception of the government was that availability was not the problem of housing in the country but affordable is the case (Mabogunje, 2004) described as a mere illusion. The government establishes the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and proposes a housing reform. The period 2000-2004 policy focus was on the private sector to serve as the main catalyst for housing delivery in Nigeria while the government concentrates on the provision of basic infrastructures on the new housing development.

Issues in the Land Use Act were equally given attention for review as well as the financial structure such as the FMBN and provision of incentives to developers inform of tax holidays for five years (This day online, 2009; Bustani and Kabir, 2010). The present policy recognizes the private sector as the main solution to the housing deficit in the country while the government opt so function as en enabler and facilitator in the housing delivery ( Abdullahi, 2010). THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL HOUSING POLICY (NHP 2006) The inability of earlier policies and programmes to adequately resolve the backlog of housing problems in the country reveals the need for more pragmatic solutions and this form the basis for a review of the 1991 National Housing Policy. Given the importance of housing in the national economy.

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