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1.1. Background to the Study
Housing plays a very important role in human society. It has tremendous social and economic impact on the total living environment of the world. It’s direct and immediate influence on health, education, economy, environment, political and social life of any society cannot be overemphasized (Mantell, 2015).
In recent decades, there has been an increasing emphasis on the housing sector by different governments of the developing countries. Yet the adequate provision of this basic need eludes a high proportion of the population of (these countries) (Midgley, 2005). Although rural housing conditions are generally far from satisfactory, the problem attains its most acute proportion in the urban centres of the less Developed Countries. A number of factors account for this, including the accelerated rate of urbanization since 1950, occasioned primarily by rural-urban migration and secondly by natural increases within the urban centres themselves, non-renewal of dilapidated structures, poor facilities in existing houses, poor environmental conditions of dwellings and insufficient supply of new housing units (Auchazi, 2015).
Aroni (2012) pointed out that Shortage of housing is a problem which has become an enduring feature of the urbanization process in developing countries and it appears to raise increasing alarm, particularly from urban administrators and policy makers. This situation is due, not only to the high birth rates that swell urban numbers but the rural poor flow into the metropolitan areas in search of better jobs and other facilities. Dwyer (2015) argues that today’s urban problems are reaching such dimensions on the world scale as to place them third in importance to the threat of nuclear warfare and famine.
Housing of course is not the only urban problems as urban areas everywhere suffer a variety of housing, hygienic and management problem including housing inadequacy and congestion, limited water supplies and sanitation; inadequate social services; poor land management etcetera, but housing problem is clearly in the burgeoning cities of the Third World (Charles, 2014).
Traditionally, housing problems have been addressed from limited view point such as site selection and construction. Modern urban studies now extend such analysis to the areas of hygiene, infrastructural facilities and management. Even the increasing allocation of funds for the housing sector in the already strained economy are unable to cope with pace outside the institutionalized housing to attempt to solve the housing problem as it demands pooling of all the available resources and concerted efforts by all (Dwyer (2015).
In Nigeria especially in Warri, the housing problem is becoming increasingly desperate as the average citizen lives in what could hardly be described as decent housing condition (Mabogunje, 1980). The situation highlighted above describes the daily living condition of millions of Nigerians either in the rural or urban areas. The sad thing note here is that the situation is not the same everywhere. It is basically different in more privileged areas occupied by highly placed public servants and private employees as well as the “well to-do” in the Nigerian society (Gree, 2011).
The growing scale of inadequate shelter in Nigerian urban areas has spanned not only the living habits but also unconventional ways of living. In some parts of Warri for instance, these involved hazardous occupations and economic activities like caretaker agreements, rental of shanties in unfinished buildings or rental of a sleeping place in warehouses or in a store extension, a garage or some other commercial space in which goods are stored but which the workers use as their sleeping places and sometimes illegally sublet to friends. Others pitch their tents under overhead bridges or in workshops used by craft workers and artisans. This crowded living conditions bring them other problems of over population, poor water supply, sanitation, drainage, inadequate facilities for the removal of household wastes, refuse disposal etcetera.
Other problems of urbanization and hence housing problems that informs the relocation of the Warri indigenes to Port Harcourt include the difficulty of the Delta State Government in getting Federal Government establishments to comply with housing and town planning regulations which contributed significantly to the poor planning system of metropolitan Warri; the city congestion in Warri makes life extremely difficult for the inhabitant and visitors from within and outside the country who had business to transact therein and drainage has been a problem of immense magnitude (Madhu, 2012; Martin, 2012; Mantell, 2015; Manuel, 2008; Mrgee, 2007; Midgley, 2005; Mitchell, 2007).
These problems stated above among many others contributed significantly to the relocation of the many multi-national oil companies in Warri. However, some of these problems have started manifesting in Warri again and have assumed an alarming proportion in some cases.
In seeking solution to the housing problems in Nigeria, various regimes in the past have demonstrated their interest in providing public housing or subsidized low medium and high cost housing units for the people. This gained a boost at the inception of the 1979 constitution where all the then five political parties made housing a priority in their parties manifestoes. To endorse this move, the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari declared “Good shelter is recognized by our government as the right of every Nigerian will require millions of additional housing units in urban as well as rural areas”. An elaborate national housing programmes was embarked upon in 1980 based on the concept of affordability and citizen participation (Roberts, 2014). From the above it obvious that a lot of studies, have mainly focused on effective and quality housing delivery across the globe and in Nigeria particular, but none has taken time to look at its attendant problems. It is against this background that this study is carried out to examine urban housing problems using the Warri experience as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It has been reported that about five million avoidable deaths occur worldwide each year due to poor housing conditions, and between two to three million people would not become physically disabled, if housing conditions were good throughout the world (Less, 2014).
Urban housing problem is becoming a global phenomenon. It was in recognition of the fact that globally, one billion people a quarter of the world’s population-live in absolute poverty and are either literarily homeless or live in extremely bad shelter and unhealthy environment” (Mabogunje, 1980). If one considers the above in the light of world’s population of five billion as at 1987, the housing situation will be worse than the picture presented above. To be able to overcome these problems, all hands must be on desk to profer lasting solution to housing problems especially in urban areas.
Africa, it is believed has the next highest rate of urbanization in the world beside China and India, thus, much of the growing population are said to be absorbed in city Slums and squatter settlements. The calamity appears worse in the rural areas of less developed countries where about 70 percent of the homes have been declared unfit for human habitation (Martin, 2012).
The problem of housing certainly most challenging to Warri and other Nigerian cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Kano, etc, have become enormous in recent times exhibiting apparent and marked differences in areas. In most of the areas in Warri, the problem is not only restricted to quantity but also to the poor quality of available housing units and the environment. The result is manifested in growing overcrowding in homes and increasing pressure on infrastructural facilities and rapidly deteriorating environment. The scenario is only slightly different in the rural areas of the city where the problem is primarily that of quality of housing and inadequacy of infrastructures like roads, drainages, pipe borne water, electricity etcetera (Mantell, 2015; Manuel, 2008; Mrgee, 2007).
The problem is becoming more severe with the establishment of more oil companies coupled with inadequate low and medium housing units that have encouraged the emergence of shanty towns and slums, availability of big time commercial and construction business, migration of people to Warri etcetera, over stretching the already exhausted urban services like housing, electricity, pipe borne water, drainage etcetera.
The past and present regimes have made effort on the need to provide good housing to the people of Warri to cope with her role of being one of the core city in Nigeria and to resolve the thorny urban housing problems that confronted other cities. Yet, it is clear that after more than twenty years of the commencement of the construction of the Warri refinery and almost sixteen years after Warri officially acquired the status of a metropolis, the housing situation in Warri is not a pleasant one particularly among low and medium level employees of government, construction workers, corporate bodies, artisans and craftsmen among many other categories of inhabitants, in spite of billions of naira so far spent and millions of naira budgetary allocation to the housing sector. This study therefore seeks to address the aforementioned problems.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of this study is examine “urban housing problems: The Warri experience” as it pertains the peculiar conditions prevailing in Warri and recommend ways of reducing the urban housing problems in the city.
However the specific objectives include;
1.4 Research Question
The following questions raised by the researcher to guide the study will be answered in due course. They are;
These are some of the unanswered questions that prompted the researcher to undertake this study.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
The following hypothesis will be tested in this study;
1.5 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study covers the city of Warri. For analytical purposes, the city centre is divided into ten (10) quarters. These quarters include: Okere, Okumagba Avenue, Jakpan, Ekpan, Effurrun, Uvwie, Udu, Enerhen, Ugborikoko, and Airport Road Axis.
1.6 Significance of the Study:
Housing has been universally accepted as the second most important essential human need after food. Housing in all its ramifications is more than mere shelter since it embraces all the social services and utilities that go to make a community or neighborhood a live-able environment.
Though many studies and commentaries have been made on urban housing problems and the consequences on the environment, none of them was however bothered with the indepth, study and analysis of the urban housing problems in Warri. Better still, there is limited documentation of these problems, thus this study was necessitated by the need to provide up-to-date analysis of the urban housing problems in Warri and it is believed that the findings, conclusion may provide a guide to those in power and policy makers to reduce or eradicate urban housing problems in Warri.
1.8 STUDY AREA
The study area (Warri, Delta State) is located in the South-South Geo-Political zone and in the Niger Delta region of the Southern part of Nigeria.
1.8.1 Location and size
Warri is one of the most important towns in Delta state, located in the south-western part of Nigeria. Warri is located between latitude 50 30N to 50 55N of the equator and longitude 50 291E to 50 481E of the Greenwich meridian. It is situated 30 miles or 48km upstream from the port of Forcados and at the terminus of road from Sapele and Ughelli. It has a navigable channel of water front of about 61 meters. The region is often less than 300 meters above sea level and 96km north of Benin City. As a major industrial city in Delta State, on the Niger-Delta region bounded by Warri north in the northern part of the state, in the west by Warri-southwest in the east by Uwvie and Udu, while in the south by Burutu Local Government area. The area forms part of the Warri-Effurun industrial axis in Delta State. Warri is now over 100km2.
1.8.2 Relief and Drainage
Warri and its environs cover an area of approximately 307.8km2 with an indicating topography that is characterized by lowlands between 3-6m above sea level. The swampy nature of the topography hinders the flow of accumulated water formed by rains. This makes run off during the rainy season almost impossible leading to flood in most cases
There are some creeks in the area for example Tori reek and the major river, Warri River which is a tributary of the Focardos River which eventually discharge into the Atlantic Ocean.
1.8.3 Geology and soil characteristics
Warri is situated within the Nigeria delta region of Nigeria which has the Agbada, Akata and Benin formation. The rocks found are of sedimentary rock type, silty clay and sand clay and sand to a top layer of 4-6m. This is followed by a thick (up to 17m) layer and silt at top but coarse and pebbly at the depth (Okoye et al, 1987). Warri has a flat terrain of about 4m above sea level and located at the Shore of Warri River. The area is also characterized by hydro orphic soils, which is a mixture of coarse, alluvial and colluvial deposits (Okoye et al, 1987 and Efe, 2002). The Warri River and creeks that leads to rivers Forcads and Excravos drain the area too. The closeness to water encourages the equatorial climate which in turn determines the increase in rainfall, leading to increased underground water and infiltration of water into the soil i.e. flooding which cover most of the roads during the rainy season. The soil has a low acidic level making it fairly rich in nutrients.
1.8.4 Climate and Vegetation
Warri is characterized by tropical equatorial climate according to Koppen classification of 1918. Warri is characterized by two major seasons namely, the rainy (wet) season and the dry season. The climate study area is usually described in terms of its elements such as rainfalls, temperature, humidity, solar radiation, evaporation, etc. with the low flat topography of the area; the climate of Warri is mainly a function of longitudinal location and nearness to the sea. The area experiences the southwest wind which originates from the Atlantic Ocean during the rainy season. The rainy season lasts from April to October which is a period of seven (7) months. There is however, a break in the rainy season by August (August break) after which it resumes and the rainfall becomes stronger.
The dry season (harmattan) is short and starts from November to March. During this period, the area experiences the North-east trade wind that comes from Sahara desert between December and January. The effect of the short period of the harmattan is minor and heavy down pour often occurs in the heart of the dry season.
Warri experiences high annual rainfall of over 3,000mm, which is distributed throughout the year. Temperature is uniformly high with an annual means of 280c and very low daily range of 300c with relative humidity as high as 85%.
The natural vegetation is of rain forest with swamp forest in some areas. The forest is rich in timber trees, palm trees well as fruit trees; unfortunately, much of the rain forestry has been destroyed as a result of its farming, commercial lumbering and urbanization.
Nwajei (1997) observed that the climate of the area has great influence on its vegetation. The vegetation in the area comprises of mangrove swamp, fresh water swamp and rainforest.
The population of Warri has increased over the years. Warri metropolis is one of the rapidly growing cities in Nigeria with a population rising rapidly from 19,526 in 1933, 55, 256 in 1963 280,000 in 1980, 500,000 in 1991 to 632,243 in 2006 population census exercise (annual; abstract of statistics, 2008) and estimated at 730,000 by 2015 (Tamuno, 2009) it has a high population density that is concentrated in the core areas of the city. These areas includes, Warri Sapele Road, Agbassa, Okere, Okumagba Avenue, Igbudu, Iyara, Jakpa and Airport road, Udu and Ekpan. The rise in population also implies the rise in the numbers of commuters that needs to be carried by transporters which give rise to drivers always on the rush through the use of excessive speed in order to have several trips per-day. The effect of the use of such high speed is road traffic accidents. Furthermore, this rapid increase could be attributed to the industrial activities in the area.
1.8.6 Socio-Economic Activities
Social infrastructure exists in the area. There are lots of primary and secondary schools, College of Education and Petroleum training institute also exist in the area. There are different categories of roads and water channels including Warri Port which exchanges transportation in the hinterland with the outside world and aid the exchange and distribution of imported and exported goods and services. Airport also exists which serves the people in the area. Particularly the various oil companies, communication systems in the area include post and telecommunication offices as well as radio and television houses. Tourism and recreation activities are also available in various schools, hotels and clubs, stadium and there are also post services.
Most of the oil companies are located in Warri, Effurun industrial axis. They includes Chevron, Agip, Total Halliburton, Panalpina, etc. there is also the Delta Steel Company (DSC) which produces steel at Aladja. Again in the area, there are some surveying and civil engineering construction firms like Niger cat, Setraco, Geosite surveys etc. there are also lot of prominent commercial buildings which comprises of banks, hotels insurance firms, super market, and restaurants interwoven with these commercial outlets in trading activities of local waves and manufactured goods. The markets include Udu market, Effurun market, Pessu market, etc.
The nature of socio-economic activities in the city has overall effects on the way transporters organized their daily trips and most cases part of the roads have been blocked by parked buses trying to carry market women thus leading to accidents as a result of other roads users trying to manage the other portions of the road.
1.9 Definition Of Terms
For the purpose of clarity and better understanding of the study, certain concepts and terms were defined as follows:
1.10 Limitation of the Study
This study is limited on the grounds of time it covers, the period of one academic year. Also the fact that this study is limited to partially fulfill a course requirement within a given period implies a time and stress constraint.
This study is also limited finance, language and communication barrier, inaccessibility to some remote areas in the study area, etc. In spite of these shortcomings, efforts were made to bring up to-date useful data as well as other relevant information in line with the topic under study.