Environmental and Urban and Regional Plannig Related Books

Topics: Real estate, Nigeria, Public housing Pages: 40 (13885 words) Published: April 19, 2013
Listokin et al. (2007) have defined housing as a permanent structure for human habitation. It is also referred to as the house and defined as a home, building or structure that is a dwelling or place for habitation by human beings. The term “house” includes many kinds of dwellings, ranging from rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes to free standing individual structures (Wikipedia, 2011). Williams (2007) refers to it as a dwelling place, constructed as a home for one or more persons. The Special Issue on Contemporary Issues in Social Science © Centre for Promoting Ideas, USA www.ijhssnet.com 122 It is any type of permanent shelter for man, which gives him an identity (Omoniyi and Jiboye, 2009). Godwin (1998) defined it as “the space that we can call our own, that gives us privacy and shelters us from the weather and intrusions of unwanted people”. Housing in all its ramifications is more than mere shelter. It embraces all the social services and utility that goes to make a community or neighbourhood a live-able environment. (FGN, 1991; Omoniyi and Jiboye, 2009). Housing has become a critical component in the social, economic and health fabric of every nation. Its history is inseparable from the social, economic, cultural and political development of man (Listokin et al., 2007). As a unit of environment, it has a profound influence on the health, efficiency, social behavior, satisfaction, productivity and general welfare of the individual and community. It reflects the cultural social and economic values of a society as it appears the best physical and historical evidence of civilization in a country and a reliable measure or indicator of economic development (Jiboye, 2009)

Housing has been universally accepted as the second most important essential human need. The right to adequate housing is considered a core human right. Housing rights were first universally codified on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1948. Article 25 of the Declaration states:

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being for himself and for his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control” The 1976 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which is now binding on more than 149 countries, including Nigeria, has the most significant universal codification provision of the right to adequate housing in its article II(1) which states:

“The State Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living of himself and for his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The State Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international co-operation based on free consent” The Nigerian State is enjoined by Section 16(1)(d) of the 1999 Constitution under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy:

“to provide suitable and adequate shelter for all citizens”.

Regrettably, this objective of State Policy is not actionable in law as no citizen can enforce it as a right. Because housing is a right, this fundamental objective should be part and parcel of a section of the Constitution enforceable by Nigerians. It should therefore be removed from and under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy. The Constitutional provision which should be actionable shall be such that all strata of our society - including the less privileged members, the old, the disadvantaged as well as the wandering psychotics who require confinement...
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