A Nigerian lawyer identified as Adekunle Adigun has recounted how he regularly pays the sum of N200 to sleep at night in an uncompleted building in Lagos Island. This, according to him, is because of the Nigerian city’s accommodation problems.
Speaking to Reuters in a special report that was sponsored by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Adigun, 27, said he sleeps in the uncompleted building because it is more affordable. This despite the risks associated with doing so.
Adigun’s rather meagre salary of N40, 000 is too small to afford him a manageable accommodation in Lagos Mainland, let alone on the island where real estate is exceptionally expensive. Luckily for him, he knows Papi, the man who runs the uncompleted building and several others like it where up to twenty people like Adigun can often sleep “in a bedless 100-square-foot room facing Tafawa Balewa Square in the city centre”.
Lagos has a serious accommodation problem that is exacerbated by the fact that many of the residents are either unemployed or underemployed. An average self-contained accommodation in the city costs about N300, 000 and for someone earning N40, 000 like Adigun, this can be difficult to afford. Little wonder many people have been forced to resort to living in deplorable conditions around the city.
Unfortunately, even residents who can afford reasonable accommodation on the Mainland, are often frustrated by the heavy traffic the commuters face on their way to the Island where many of the companies are located.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Idris Salako, frowned against the activities of those resorting to sleeping in uncompleted buildings around Lagos. According to him,
“A lot of structures that are uncompleted or abandoned in the city may be distressed and not fit for habitation. Some of them are on drainage channels or unoccupied because of high rent or sales value. This government is working to resolve a lot of the problems.”
He, however, assured that plans are underway to address the accommodation problems in the city.
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