Lookman Oshodi



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November 2010
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The paper examined the trend of population, its organic growth, the proportion of housing requirements and response mechanism by various stakeholders.


Lagos State is the smallest state in Nigeria from a land area of 4km2 on the Island, and an estimated population of 28, 518 in 1871 to an area of 62.8km2 and population of 126,108 in 1931. Between 1901 and 1950, population growth rate was at 3.3% per annum while it rose to 18.6% between 1950 and 1963 [George, 2010]. The increment in population is complimented by vibrant economic status which continued to encourage population growth, Therefore, in 1963, the total population increased from 1.4 million to 3.5 million in 1975. In 1978, the population grew from 3.8 million to 4.13 million in 1979 and 5.8 million in 1985. In 1990, the population was 7.7 million, 10.28 million in 1995, 13.42 million in 2000 and 17.55 million in 2006.

Table 1.1: Population Trend in Lagos from 1871 to 2006

Year Population
1871 28, 518
1931 126,108
1963 1.4 million
1975 3.5 million
1978 3.8 million
1979 4.13 million
1985 5.8 million
1990 7.7 million
1995 10.28 million
2000 13.42 million
2006 17,553,924 million

Currently, the geographical area has expanded to about 356,861 hectares of which about 21% equivalents to 75,755 hectares are wetlands, yet it has the highest estimated population of 18 million representing 12% out of a national estimate of 150 million with annual growth rate of between 6% and 8% compared to 4 -5% country growth rate and global 2% growth rate. It is the second most populous city in Africa after Cairo in Egypt and estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa and the seventh fastest growing in the world with a population increase of about 600,000 persons per annum. Lagos population is growing ten times faster than New York and Los Angeles with grave implication for urban sustainability and housing delivery. At its present growth rate, the United Nations had estimated that, Lagos state will be the third largest mega city in the world by the Year 2015 after Tokyo in Japan and Bombay in India.

Over 91% of the total population lives in the metropolis with a population density of about 20, 000 persons per square kilometer in the built-up areas of Metropolitan Lagos. The occupancy ratio is 8 – 10 persons per room with 72.5% of households occupying one-room apartment [Lagos State Ministry of Housing, 2010].

Based on its high urbanization rates and dense population, the poverty level in the Lagos Metropolis is quite high. The Lagos State Government [2004] estimates that 51% of men and 54% of women resident in Lagos live below the poverty line. Urban poverty is the scourge of most cities of the 3rd world countries and Lagos is not an exemption. This is clearly manifested in the growing number of largely unskilled, unemployed and homeless migrants from the rural areas of the country into Lagos, who find it convenient and affordable to live in existing slum communities or create new ones that are not serviced by basic urban facilities, services and amenities [Abosede, 2006].


While the growth of the population in the metropolitan Lagos has assumed a geometrical proportion, the provision of urban infrastructure and housing to meet this demand is, not at commensurate level. This has resulted in acute shortage of housing to the teeming population with Lagos alone accounting for about 5 million deficit representing 31% of the estimated national housing deficit of 18 million [Oshodi, 2010]. The extent of the housing shortage in Lagos is enormous. The inadequacies are far-reaching and the deficit is both quantitative and qualitative; even those households with shelter are often subjected to inhabiting woefully deficient structures as demonstrated in the multiplication of slums from 42 in 1985 to over 100 as at January 2010. The urban poor, who are dominant in Lagos, are transforming the city to meet their needs, often in conflict with official laws and plans. They reside in the slums and squatter settlements scattered around the city and are predominantly engaged in informal economic activities which encompass a wide range of small-scale, largely self-employment activities. 60% of residents are tenants and have to pay rent as high as 50-70% of their monthly incomes since most of the existing accommodations are provided by private landlords [Roland Igbinoba Real Foundation for Housing and Urban Development, 2009]. The concentration of housing and income levels has stratified the metropolis into various neighborhoods of low-income/high density, medium income/medium density and high income/low density [Lawanson, 2007].

To stem the housing crisis, the Lagos State Government had a documented history of housing provision from the days of Lagos Executive Development Board [LEDB] in 1950’s. LEDB was able to delivered 4, 502 housing units, within 17 years, from 1955 to 1972 when it was dissolved with the population rising from 1.4 million in 1963 to 3.5 million in 1975. In 1972, the functions of LEDB were transferred to Lagos State Development and Property Corporation [LSDPC] as the sole agency responsible for the provision of Housing in Lagos State. Since its inception in 1972, LSDPC has been saddled with the execution of gigantic low-cost housing program of the early eighties which yielded close to 10, 000 units. In 1979 under the leadership of Alhaji L. K. Jakande, LSDPC took a dynamic and elaborate turn with emphasis on low cost flats to cater for the needs of the low-income earners. Government realized that only the supply of housing units on a large-scale either through Government or by individuals themselves can reduce the chronic shortages. By 1992, about 17, 000 units were built in several locations which included Abesan [4, 272 units], Amuwo Odofin [2, 068], Iba [1, 560] Ijaye [812], Ijeh [62], Isolo [3, 632], Ojokoro [534] [Mayaki 2009].

Thus between 1972 and 1999, LSDPC was able to delivered 20, 120 housing units while 1, 818 housing units were delivered from 2000 to 2010. It is important to note that the population rose from 3.5 million in 1975 to 10.28 million in 1995 and from 13.42 million in 2000 to about 18 million in 2010. The joint venture housing projects yielded 331 units while the ongoing projects at Lekki Scheme 2 and Apapa GRA will yield combined units of 150. The proposed residential projects at Victoria Island and Abijo are expected to increase the stock by 236 units. The total stock from LSDPC excluding the proposed units over the 38 year period is 22, 419 housing units, that is an average of 590 units per annum [LSDPC, 2010]. Lagos State Government in 1980 also established the New Towns Development Authority [NTDA] which organ provided site and service schemes for individual middle-income housing. A very laudable idea but it has not impacted much on the housing delivery in Lagos. Their attempt has included Lekki scheme 1 and 2, Amuwo Odofin and Isheri North [Mayaki, 2009].

In recent times the Ministry of Housing and Lagos Building and Investment Company [LBIC] did commence direct construction of houses in Lagos thus compromising the mandate of LSDPC. The Ministry of Housing till date has constructed 18 No. housing estates with 5 others under construction. The total units of this strategy are less than 5, 000 units while the LBIC intervention will yield less than 1, 500 units [Lagos State Ministry of Housing, 2010].

Aside the direct construction approach, the Ministry and other government agencies adopted other options of delivering houses to the citizens, among which are public private partnership in housing delivery, urban renewal and regeneration program, establishment of new towns, provision of site and service scheme. The combined stock of all these strategies is less than 5, 000 units per annum in a state requiring 500, 000 units per annum to bridge the deficit of estimated 5 million over the next 10 years. Even, the recently launched Lagos Cooperative Home Ownership Incentive Scheme [Lagos – CHOIS], in collaboration with the private sector, is expected to deliver 10, 000 housing units over the next four years at unaffordable rate of N11.6 million for a 2 bedroom apartment [N means Naira, the Nigerian national currency which is equal to 0.0065 US Dollar]

All the programs embarked upon by the Lagos State government and its different agencies are aimed at regenerating the urban fabric, sustaining environmental quality and increasing housing supply. These efforts are ideal, but they seems not to be proportionally coordinated within the context of increasing accessibility to homes for the low-income earners and ensuring security of tenure for the same group. While, the houses for the upper income segment of the society has never been in short supply, housing for the poor has remained a vexed issue with various government programs unable to meet the deficit recorded in this segment.

The informal private sector; in Lagos comprising people of different income background resorted to self-help housing strategy. This sector has taken the risk of buying untitled land from informal market dominated by cabal popularly referred to as “Omo-Onile’’. After the purchase of the land, majority of these people will take it upon themselves to construct their own roads, providing water and extending electricity for kilometers to provide a roof over their head. Over 90% of housing supply in Lagos is from this sector with the resultant effects of lack of standardization and distorted urban planning system.


At the bottom of housing fiasco in Lagos lies the problem of land accessibility, stunted financial and mortgage system, exorbitant prices of building materials and disproportional capacity building in the sector. Land has been described as the fulcrum of all types of development in any society, the constrain poses by its inaccessibility in Lagos has reduced the provision of affordable housing for Lagos residents, about 70% of whom live below the poverty line. Many provisions in the 1978 Land Use Act have denied intending housing developers from delivering the products in affordable quantity. The Land Regularization program introduced by the Lagos State Government in 2006 has not demonstrated full capacity to enhance access to land for the poor and low-income groups. It takes more than 217 days and at unaffordable cost to procure land title from the Regularization Directorate as against 45 days mentioned in the program document [Oshodi, 2010]. The cost and bureaucracy discouraged the beneficiaries of the program from massive participation. The land title is a pre requisite for building permit; hence, many houses sprang up without planning permissions and are classified as illegal developments by the government.

Housing finance and mortgage system in Lagos cannot be totally ostracized from what is obtainable in Nigeria. Generally, there is no credit or finance structure available to the low-income groups for land, housing and basic services in Nigeria. The only window for all Nigerians to access financial facility for land, housing and basic services is the National Housing Fund [NHF] established in 1992.

The participants are expected to contribute 2.5% of their monthly income with a primary mortgage institution, for a period not less than six [6] months in order to qualify for a maximum loan of N15 million [US$96,774] at 6% annual interest payable over a period of 25 years. The scheme is operating in all States of the Federation with about 101 Primary Mortgage Institutions [PMIs] as the primary savings and lending agents. 63 of these PMIs are located in Lagos while the rest 38 are spread across the remaining 35 states of Nigeria. Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria is the regulator, secondary fund repository and loan approving authority for the NHF contributors. As at December, 2010, record has shown that a total sum of N50.68 billion was approved out of which N23.89 billion representing 47% was disbursed to 16, 468 applicants through 57 PMIs. The average amount approved is equivalent to N1, 450, 692 [US$9, 359] per beneficiary. Significant numbers of Nigerians who are mainly in the informal sector of the economy were denied participation from this scheme because of low deposit mobilization, inability to track their monthly income and lack of formal titles to their land holdings. These, among other factors, account for low rate of disbursement to 16, 468 beneficiaries across the country over a period of 19 years, in the face of estimated 18 million national housing deficits.

The finance structure is such that neither the builder nor the consumer can readily obtain finance for housing due to the stringent conditions attached to mortgage loan and high interest rates at the commercial market. Out of the estimated 10.7 million existing housing units in the country, statistics have shown that about 88% are self-built with little or no mortgage attachment. That is why mortgage facilities are of no consequence to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product [GDP] and the whopping N35 trillion require to finance the 18 million housing deficit in Nigeria remains elusive [Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria, 2010].

Since 1986, the prices of building materials have been on the upward trend with significant effect on the poor families’ home construction. Between 1986 and 1997, marble price increased by 555% while a ton of mild steel reinforcement increased by 35% over the same period. The rate of price increase between 1997 and 2005 ranged from [N586 to N750] 27.95% for emulsion paint and [N2, 300 to N12, 000] 421.7% for sharp sand. Cement, a basic component of housing construction in Nigeria rose from N23.50 per bag in 1986, N420 in 1997, N1, 150 in 2005 to N1, 800 in 2010, an increment of about 7, 600% over a period of 24 years. During the same period, the purchasing power of average resident in Lagos have declined with non commensurate income wage and commitment of over 40% of income to housing expenditure against the United Nations recommended 20% [Akinmoladun and Oluwoye, 2007].

The problem of inadequate housing for the citizens in Lagos is further aggravated by the declining budget for housing by the government. In 2000, N667 million representing 4.05% of N16 billion budget was earmarked for housing while N776 million representing 1.42% was budgeted in 2005. Of N224.6 billion total budget for the year 2010, only N6 billion representing 2.7% was earmarked for housing [Lagos State Ministry of Housing, 2010]. Housing problems appear intractable to the government.

In the absence of any significant affordable housing strategy by the State government, citizens have continued to explore different approaches to accommodate themselves. In the opinion of the government, these approaches are in gross violation of town planning principles and mega city status of the State; hence the response has been forceful eviction and demolition of self developed homes.


It is apparent from the foregoing that the state government is overwhelmed by the housing quandary and lack the necessary inventiveness to resolve the same. Therefore, the situation requires the intervention of all stakeholders in land, environment, housing and urban development towards the resolution of the housing crisis. The roles of civil society in preventing forced evictions, illegal demolition of houses, creating awareness among the inhabitants of slums on their housing rights, researching into adaptable and best practice of housing delivery to the low-income groups, facilitating the institutionalization of affordable housing policy, and engaging in the development of affordable housing becomes very critical in achieving sustainable housing delivery framework for the teeming population of the state, especially the vulnerable groups.


In the next brief, I will update the members’ area on the intervention strategies of Urban Spaces Innovation [USI], a Lagos, Nigeria based non – governmental organization dedicated to providing affordable and quality housing to the urban poor in Nigeria. I am currently the Project Manager – Social Housing for this organization.


  1. Ayodeji says:

    Thanks for this update, it helped in my project work.


  2. Anonymous says:

    its a nice peace, Sir. i found it useful in my thesis


  3. Alimamy Gbla says:

    Nice piece and it’s really educating. Currently I am doing a research on the problems associated with mega-cities in Africa, and to critically assess the growing housing problems in Lagos state, Nigeria.


  4. […] the day totalling about 123,000 young people daily. In relation to its geographical area of about 356,861 hectares of which 21% are wetlands, there seems to be a huge difference. Over the years, the issue of migration into Lagos state has […]


  5. Dr. Charles Asenime says:

    Dear Oshodi, i used your material, but i find it difficult to reference. Please what is the date of publication. Thanks. my email is charles.asenime@lasu.edu.ng
    My regards


  6. Onyeka says:

    I find this work really helpful to my research. Please I would like the full article and if possible your references. Thanks


  7. Could I please get the full article? I am currently working on my dissertation on this topic and I have found this to be really helpful. And your references too if you can
    Thank you


  8. Onyeka says:

    I find this research work very useful and I will be grateful if I can have the references thanks


  9. Sunday O. Samuel says:

    This is a great work Sir. Kindly forward your reference to samsure4u@gmail.com

    Thank you


    • Dear Sunday, Thank you for the read. As requested, kindly find attached herewith the references for the article. I hope it meets your needs. Best regards, Lookman Oshodi Lagos, Nigeria +234 803 392 1710 http://www.oshlookman.wordpress.com

      Please, consider the environment before printing this document.

      The information contained within this e-mail and in any attachments is confidential and may be privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy this message, delete any copies held on your systems and notify the sender immediately. LOOKMAN OSHODI does not guarantee, warrant or represent that this email or any attachments will be error free, virus free, nor that the transmission will not be delayed, intercepted or interfered.


  10. nnata emmanuel says:

    please i am running a research on housing policy in lagos state,can u help me out with thenumber of houses in each local government area in lagos state .


  11. Tanimola Elegbede says:

    Great write up. I wish to have the full article too, kindly send to my mail box. Kudos.


  12. Pleas Sir Lookman Oshodi, can you mail me the full copy, I’d really appreciate it as it would be of help to my final yr project. Thanks again sir.


  13. Akinyele Titus says:

    Hello sir,
    This is a great work.can I Have it on my mail?
    May I invite you to give a key note address at forum sometimes in Oct 2016?
    I will be honoured sir.


  14. Lilian says:

    nice article! please send me your references to my email- lily2potter@yahoo.com


  15. Tobi Onas says:

    Hi, i am writing a dissertation on Urbanisation in Lagos and its effects, please can you kindly send, the full article to my email, krayace101@hotmail.com, cheers


  16. Taiwo Olugbenga says:

    Your write is nice and arranged in sequence, Kindly make available to me your references for further studies


  17. Feyi says:

    Lookman, Nice write up. Please send in the full paper with references to my email hibekyah@yahoo.com. It will help my research.


  18. babs says:

    Good job,..that means theres is so much prospect in real estate


  19. Idowu says:

    Hi Lookman good job I must say. Pls kindly oblige me your references.


  20. Ola says:

    Hello sir
    I love the article and I am doing some research in similar area. I would love to have your references for the article.


  21. Oluwaseun says:

    Vibrant,enlightening,educating and interesting.Trust me,this words are understatements to describing this article but please would want the references ASAP as well and i think its high time there arose some form of coalition or sect as the case may be brainstorming on credible ideas to this effect.Great work Mr. Oshodi.


  22. Hey There. I discovered your weblog the usage of msn. That is a really smartly written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your helpful information. Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.


  23. Adedoyin Adesoji says:

    Fantastic, but where are the references?


    • Thank you Adedoyin. Including references may prolong the blog posting beyond the set length. If you require the full text, this I can mail to you.


      Lookman Oshodi Lagos, Nigeria http://www.oshlookman.wordpress.com

      Please, consider the environment before printing this document.

      The information contained within this e-mail and in any attachments is confidential and may be privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy this message, delete any copies held on your systems and notify the sender immediately. LOOKMAN OSHODI does not guarantee, warrant or represent that this email or any attachments will be error free, virus free, nor that the transmission will not be delayed, intercepted or interfered.



      • Segun Harrison says:

        Great job!! please, could you kindly send me the references?


      • Samuel says:

        Hello Lookman,

        Great piece! i am currently searching for household/residential data (estimated number of household/residential apartment/families) in Lagos and Nigeria.

        Can you please help with resources, links and references to get this info.?

        Thanks and Regards




    Sometime we may have to invite your person to deliver a paper on the associated problems of housing, from land acquisition, omo-onile syndrome, legislation, the role of government and the traditional rulers in curbing the ugly menace

    Thank you


    • Soyode Ayomikun says:

      This really incredible, good eye opener for all and sundry,especially those of us who are saddled with finding information on reseaches for housing problems in Nigeria.I think the issues you discussed here are major factors for the trend of property and rental value in Lagos, pls can you guide me to the source of ur article, i will like to review it in my research work’ the trend in property and rental value in Ikorodu. Thanks


  25. nazare says:

    К Евро-2012 во Львове, где состоятся несколько матчей турнира, построено ряд новых комфортабельных гостиниц. Маленькие гостиницы Львова легко вписались в архитектуру города.


  26. Somebody essentially assist to make severely posts I’d state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular publish incredible. Great activity!


  27. sola enitan says:

    The problem of housing access for the urban poor in Nigeria is a never ending one given the formidable statistics militating against change and progressive inclusion of the teeming masses in the housing equation in Lagos State. Several intervention strategy exist, but it is seemingly uninviting to the Government of Lagos State, who may just be contented with the way things are which favors the supply side with supranormal returns on investment. The way to go for now is to find that alternative finance strategy that includes the poor in the homeownership drive. The housing problem can be solved, I have a proposal on housing strategy which was forwarded to the government last year and has attracted no response, not even an acknowledgement of receipt. We will remain undaunted though as my organisation The Cromwell Center for research in housing and urban development is committed to affordable and sustainable pro-poor housing issues. Thanks for your incisive insight into the housing problem in lagos State.


  28. E says:

    Hello, and thank you for the very thorough article. I am actually looking at housing policies in Lagos, among other things and would really appreciate if you could refer me to the sources you consulted to write this article so that I can read up on them, Many thanks


  29. remroom says:

    Ремонт и отделка офисов, квартир или дач – это самая распространенная на сегодняшний день проблема большинства людей, решившихся, наконец, привести в порядок свое жилище. Мало того, что ремонт – это занятие трудоемкое и напряженное, еще и найти достойную компанию, занимающуюся отделкой квартир или офисов сегодня практически невозможно. Дело в том, что все меньше и меньше в нашей стране остается фирм, делающих свою работу качественно, эффективно и недорого.Однако наша компания является приятным исключением из этого неприятного правила. Мы вот уже долгое время занимается отделкой и ремонтом квартир и в г. Зеленоград и еще ни разу нам не приходило от наших клиентов ни неприятных отзывов, ни каких-либо жалоб. Богатый опыт наших специалистов, а также высокий профессионализм всех без исключения наших работников, поможет сделать хорошо, качественно и – главное – доступно как косметический, так и капитальный ремонт. Современное оборудование, новые технологии планировки и дизайна, а также индивидуальный подход к каждому клиенту и гибкая система скидок сделали нашу компанию самой успешной на сегодня фирмой, оказывающей услуги по ремонту и отделке квартир и офисов в г. Зеленоград. Список услуг: ремонт квартир ремонт квартир в Москве ремонт квартир в Московской области косметический ремонт квартир капитальный ремонт квартир евроремонт кватрир ремонт магазинов ремонт ресторатов ремонт офисных помещений отделка квартир ремонт ресторанов ремонт квартир под ключ строительство коттеджей VIP ремонт квартир отделка квартир в новых домах

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