CONCERNED Muslims in the country have canvassed a good government policy that would promote affordable housing for the citizenry.
Besides, Muslims were urged to ensure that their structures were conceptualised to face the Kibla, in line with the recommendations of the Holy Prophet Mohammed.
Some group of Muslim businessmen and other professionals who gathered at the 2014 National Conference organised by The Companion, in Ibadan recently, advised Muslim organizations to join hands in tackling their peculiar challenges and assist members to secure affordable shelters.
The gathering resolved that Nigeria’s massive housing deficit may further degenerate until governments and real estate private developers turn their focus to mass housing as a sector priority rather than the present proliferation of luxury estates that are beyond the reach of average Nigerians.
Under the theme, “Beyond Bricks and Mortar: An Appraisal of Nigeria’s Housing Policy,” various speakers at the conference observed that the country’s housing policy does not cater for millions of Nigerians who actually need basic shelter.
Chairman of the occasion, an Executive Assistant to Oyo State Governor, Alhaji Yunus Akintunde, observed that a good housing policy must ensure that houses truly meant for the people are available, accessible, affordable and sustainable. Where any of these variables is lacking, the policy is deficient.
Speaking in the same vein, Oyo State Commissioner for Lands and Housing who was represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Oladipo Taofik noted that social housing should be the focus of governments at all levels. “Governments should facilitate speedy titling and documentation of lands, public-private partnerships in housing delivery and mortgage financing,” he said. “But most importantly, these policies should be deliberately designed to deliver houses to those who really need them to live in, rather than speculators and profiteers.”
Mr Abdul-Malik Abdul-Aziz, an Abuja-based architect, presented graphic pictures of how a purpose-built Muslim residence should look in terms of functionality, facilities and aesthetics.
He said: “A Muslim home must put into consideration the direction of the Kaabah (in Makkah) where the Muslims face when saying their daily prayers,” he noted.
The national Amir (President) of The Companion, Alhaji Musbau Oyefeso, lamented the unavailability of adequate Islamic finance options for Muslims to explore. He advised Muslim organizations to join hands in tackling their peculiar challenges and assisting their members to secure affordable shelters. “As Muslims, we are commanded by Allah to be our brother’s keeper,” he admonished.
Alhaji Nojeem Jimoh, a former UK-based housing expert shared his personal experiences on how the British government is creatively using housing to solve other social problems like prostitution, drug abuse and “rough-sleeping” under a scheme known as Supported Housing, Supporting People.
(Culled from http://www.ngrguardiannews.com)