A typical sprawling estate around the National Stadium area of Abuja
According to available statistics, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, alone accounts for 10 per cent of the 17 million housing deficits in the country. The irony of this statistics is that this situation persists despite the fact that many mansions, estates dot the landscape of the territory uninhabited. Houses that have been completed but remain unoccupied, are scattered across some districts with many located in private housing estates.
As a matter of fact, reports have it that there are a number of issues and insinuations that are associated with the empty buildings that litter the entire length and breadth of Abuja. One of such theories is that the owners may have embezzled public funds and laundered them on acquisition of properties. There is another school of thought that has it that the unoccupied buildings are among those their owners kept cash in them to evade moving stolen funds through banks. There is also a third argument, which claims that these unoccupied buildings belong to some past and current public office holders who do not have real needs for such properties but had to acquire them using looted funds.
One of the most surprising things about this development is that most Nigerians living in the FCT and environs have no access to decent accommodation. Worse still, a rising number of completed estates in the capital city and across the country are presently unoccupied and some have been taken over by miscreants.
Research into estates in high-brow areas in Abuja like Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse II and a number of other places in the capital city, revealed that most of the completed houses remained unoccupied years after their completion, due to the high cost of renting or leasing of such property. Also in Apo, Dei Dei, Gwarimpa, Lugbe, Wuse, Gudu, Life Camp and Katampe, Jabi and so on, the unoccupied houses owned by society’s most influential and wealthy have been converted into safe houses for the storage of their loot and venues for laundering money to keep away sniffing anti-graft agencies.