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Problems of Housing Development in Rural Area

Problems of Housing Development in Rural Area of Ikwuano Umuahia


The term housing means the stock of residential structures available at anyone’s time and it embraces residential. Hence, to a layman housing is synonymous with the physical form only, which is shelter. While in real terms, housing goes beyond the physical structures and includes the utilities and services that makes a neighbourhood lively such as electricity, water supply, access roads, sewage and refuse disposal, health and educational facilities Iroegbu (2006).

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Development as well has been defined from many perspectives due to the nature of its study. The British Town and Country Planning Act 1947 defines “Development” in section 2 as the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in and over or under land or the making of any material change in the use of any building or other land.

Housing development in rural area is synonymous with building and structural development, these has led to the proliferation of strategies and principles aimed at achieving housing development especially among the rural villages. It is therefore the objective of this study to critically overview housing development in rural areas. It will in this process examine housing nature, the requirements, its demand and supply, the effect of population associated with housing and the problems as well as how it can be solved.


The town Oboro, situated along Ikote-Ekpene road is one of the villages in Ikwuano, Umuahia. It is bounded by four villages, which its north is bounded by Akwa Ibom, west is Ibere, Oloko is its east while Ndukwe-Ibeku is its south.

There are 18 (eighteen) villages in Oboro namely: Umudike, Umuariga, Amoba-Ime, Amoba-Ikpuru, Umuagbalu, Aro-Ayama, Ntalukwu, Umuigu, Ahuwa, Okwe, Isiala, Ogbuebulle, Ekebedi, Aro-Agatakari, Ndioru, Nnono, Amuwom and Umuebualu. All the villages found in Oboro are under nine autonomous communities. The various communities are:

  • Ulu na Uda autonomous community.
  • Okwe Ukwu autonomous community.
  • Oruigwe autonomous community.
  • Agala na Igu autonomous community.
  • Oru autonomous community.
  • Awom and Ebo autonomous community.
  • Alaba Oboro autonomous community.
  • Umuoke autonomous community.
  • Awom autonomous community.

These various communities have their different heads (Chief) that rules them but is generally ruled by His Riyal Majesty, Eze Ebe I.I. Agasie.

The town Oboro has experienced a little growth because of the rate economic development of the state in recent years and it has led to an exponential spatial population in the area. Also the situation of higher institution has attracted people from different town to settle there in search for education and employment. As a result of these, there has been a wide gap between the housing demand and supply.

Housing as well and understood by all sundry is the basic need for everyman, yet the poor has been left out of these provision. Past government programmes and policies has recorded failure in meeting the needs of the poor, due to the policy makers has been more of taste makers than planner. Most of this development which are The National Root Crop Research Institutte. Umudike, Michael Okpara University school of Agriculture and National Open University all situated at Umudike along Ikoe-Ekpene road, Umuahia. With all these, yet there is little or no development of houses in the town (Oboro).


According to Manderlker and Montgomery (1977), Housing is all about the whole complex of activities, satisfactions, rights, obligations, convenience and expectations surrounding the use of a particular dwelling unit by a particular household:. These can be presented graphically thus:

Housing can therefore be recorded as the right of every individual, while a proportion of Nigerians live in sub-standard and in deplorable unsanitary environment. From this research the nature of houses in rural areas (Oboro) is characterized by poor quality housing with inadequate utilities like portable water, power supply etc. Most roads in Oboro which are dilapidated has been engulfed by erosion including the few building that were constructed by inexperienced and low quality brick layers (builder) and 70% of the population are low income earners. This has affected the ability of most of the population to afford good and decent housing especially in the inflation prone economy.


Housing conditions are closely associated with a wide range of health condition, good housing conditions are definitely made for good health condition for the individuals, families and community while poor housing conditions also produces a wide range of health conditions such as respiratory infection, asthmas, as well as mental health etc.

In addressing housing requirement, the health officials, urban/regional planners, estate managers and other professionals have recognized the possibility of reducing health related problems by targeting poor sanitation, crowding and inadequate ventilation in buildings as well as poor pattern of building in the rural area. Having taken note of the effect of poor and good housing condition, a sufficient number of rooms, useable floor area and volume of enclosed space should be notified to satisfy human requirement for health and for family life consistency with the prevailing cultural and social pattern of that region.

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At least a minimum degree of household should be able to have a suitable room used for sleeping a portable water supply through pipe borne water for household use which is essential for sanitation, comfort and neatness. There should be a safe and sanitary means of disposal of sewage, garbage’s and other waste materials. Also there should be sufficient facilities for collecting cooking waste, household perished food stock and some unwanted personal belonging as well as appropriate agent for residence.

For rural housing requirement, house spacing should be considered in some rural areas like Oboro, where in some of the areas, the building are built in chains without any little space over each other. There is no housing plan for the building in that area especially in Nnono area of the village.


The demand for rural housing varies: it all depends on the local government, the environment and its neighbourhood. Also the social amenities aid the rate of housing demand in rural area.

Having known that lack of housing data bank has been a factor militating against proper budgeting and attention needed for the housing sector. There is a need to predict the housing plan for the next 10 years on a properly articulated demand basis for effective execution within a habitable environment based on the demographic pattern and projection. For instance in Oboro where there is poor and lack of some other social amenities which makes home comfortable for the dwellers, there is need to set up data bank at the local government levels and network to ensure there is housing plan, infrastructure for housing quantity, material sourcing.


Before discussing the contribution of housing to natural development, it is intended to identify the need for, and motive behind housing. In considering the global need for housing in United Nations Development Decree 1960-70. African, Asia and America, about half the total population on the continents were homeless or are living in houses which are a danger to health, and an affront to human disunity. In addition, it was estimated that over 200 million inhabitants decayed in recognition of the magnitude of present and future housing need. The government is expected to set up new policy aimed at reducing construction cost by production of basic building material and component locally at affordable cost by the year 2011 in which the low income earners can be allowed to participate.


Having established the need for housing, it is important to ask what are the motives which may influence the national housing policy or housing programme. From this research, the reasons for these are verse but three main reasons are considered to be particularly relevant for our purpose. These are social, political and economical factors.

A man called Sada puts it that, the foremost thing in planning for the local income housing is to have a dependable data base like the cooperative association which are women association, age grades and traders association to evolve a paradigm in rural housing finance. Also there are two different principles states by “Udoye in 1992” which underlie the self activities.

These principles are:

  1. The principle of industrial and corporate survival.
  2. The principle of social “felt-need”, i.e the premise of scale of preference.

He stressed that the failure of past policies was due to lack of statistics and that they have not been a well and honestly defined operational concept of low cost, having distinct from mass housing.

Finally, the things found influencing the nature of housing programmes are:

  • Income factors
  • Political barriers.
  • Lack of legislature backing to the programme.
  • Wrong perception of housing need.

INCOME FACTORS: It was found that the middle and high income group have only benefited from direct construction as means of meeting the low income housing need because there was a lot of competition and the price of such units were too expensive for low income earners.

POLITICAL BARRIERS: There are a lot of principle oppositions, between states and federal government, these leading to different states intending to project its own interest and they do not assist the housing programmes made at federal level.

LACK OF LEGISLATIVE BACKING TO THE PROGRAMME: Most programmes would have succeeded if there have been a proper legislative backing and enforcement.

WRONG PERCEPTION OF HOUSING NEED: The past government were indulged in adding figures and took the quantities approach alone were as housing need also entails physiological need and individual protection of life and property.

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Housing development in rural areas is still at its infant stage and the place of development is extremely very slow.

A general survey of housing development in rural areas has shown that houses are built without accessible road and without modern water system, while some do not have toilet and proper ventilation, mud and thatch houses are commonly seen and many of such houses are still erected with numerous ceremonies by the builder. Also there is inadequate number of dwelling houses and the economy of the town and its environment cannot sustain the population pressure which is the present state of things in gender. The few houses that are being erected are built without required comfort and are in total neglect of the federal housing policies and inadequate for human inhabitation.

Many natural forces has contributed to the poor housing development in our rural area such as fire breakout, bush burning, gully erosion and storm houses due to lack of quality construction materials. Survey on houses in rural area revealed the 70% of the population of Oboro lives in slum area and unprecedented rate of growth and expansion of the student has constituted a strain in the little facilities found there and are the cause of the problems of accommodation overcrowding and congestion in the town.


The system of arranging buildings in our rural areas is very poor. They are not in any form arranged and are not zoned into street, lane of even avenue unlike urban area where houses are zoned and planned. Also there are no good accessible road to link the various ways, the problem emanated as a result of illiteracy, land dispute, which is always found in the villages of rural settlement. Many individuals are not willing to give out their lands for construction of roads and some other infrastructural projects while many are pended due to lack of know-how and some do not give out their lands as right of way for people whose land are behind their own, thereby making the poor to face their building many that factors them not according to other people’s property or already existing house road plan.


The dwelling houses in Oboro is very inadequate due to the over flow of population emanating as a result of the higher institution in the town. They quite outnumbered the houses in the place as these has led to many or numerous number of people sharing a small accommodation thereby mix using the facilities in the building due to overcrowding. This causes health hazard to the occupants, therefore it is all about numerous people chasing fewer houses.

A survey was conducted on several rural areas to dictate the rate of residential population in Abia State in other to show the level of population of people chasing fewer houses.

Name of village No. of compound No. of resident members No. of non resident members
Umuahia 200 22 80
Abiriba 200 15 85
Bende 200 20 80
Ahaba 200 18 82
Ntiga 200 31 69
Oyom 200 44 56
Ihechiowa 200 26 14
Uturu     80

Source: Researcher’s field survey, 2014.

While in Oboro a survey conducted in this research indicated that the average number of persons per room was between 2.1 to 3.8, that is in case where a family of 8 will be sharing 2 rooms and some might even sleep outside the room due to suffocation as a result of small floor spacing.


The major reason for housing was mainly for accommodation and to have maximum comfort in the dwelling houses. But recently in the society especially in the urban area, before a building is to be rented there must be an existing facilities in that building like pipe borne water, electricity etc, for it to command its value in open market but it is not the same in the rural areas especially in all the remote areas of the rural area where about 70% of the building do not even have convenience for the occupants of the building.

These can be as a result of the government not having attention in rural houses infrastructure. These among others affect the standard of houses found in rural areas. Obviously many houses found in rural areas have no enough floor area space for ventilation and bush latrine is still in use in rural areas as well pond water are still being fetch for domestic use like omi, i.e a dogged hole where water from the flood are flown to.


Housing problems can be said to refer to those forces in the housing environment that causes disequilibrium or creates wrong or perplexity and detract from the objectives of adequate or sufficient household enjoyment of their dwelling and its immediate environment.

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It is sometimes noticed that the nature of the problem vary from place to place though a specific housing problem may exist in different areas, but in the case of Oboro where it is a matter of the quality of the available houses. Housing development requires a huge capital investment and as such rural areas are not economically generative, the majority of the inhabitants are subsistence farmers, while the method of farming are still primitive and hence the financial return are very low and not impressive. The rural poverty and rural life are further emphasized by neglect to provision of social infrastructure, healthy facilities and better economic opportunities. The overall result is that rural area are not impressive as a place to study and grow, due to problems of land tenure system as one of the factors militating against housing development in the rural area and they believe that land belong to generation unborn. So they do not alienate the land. Other problems that will be looked up are the major causes of problems militating against rural development.

  • Hazard
  • Inadequate infrastructure.
  • Inadequate maintenance.
  • Blight and slum.


In some of the rural areas like Oboro were erosion, landslide and waste disposal has militated its housing development. In these case were occupants are not consigned of the potential of the area they inhabit because they are less likely to be evicted forcefully by government or due to illiteracy that the local authorities do not feel obligated to provide them essential services they choose to manage the condition without minding.


In most rural areas, inadequate provision of infrastructural facilities has become a major problem in housing development. The neglect of the area by the government to an extent that the basic services like good sanitary water, electricity, waste disposal system are inadequate which in turn has led to migration of the youth to city in search of social amenities, thereby abounding their town and such will not enhance development.


Adequate maintenance is all about the up keep of the physical structure of the building to eliminate danger to lives and property, but where there is inadequate maintenance it affects the already developed property, thereby causing obsolescent to the building and reduces its demand from the habitants as such causes scarcity of house in the environment.


Blight is all about declination of a building with serious destructive economic forces while slum has to do with areas with overcrowding, old dilapidated building without light, air and sanitary facilities. Therefore, refuse and human increment and all others deprives some level of individual from living and developing in such area as the condition of the area falls the value of the land and as such most people will not even want to reside in such an area to avoid some health hazard that might emanate from the overcrowding and decomposed waste of the area.


In order to alleviate the problems of housing and orderly development of rural areas government shall:

  1. Ensure that all the strategies earlier formulated with regards to low income housing are vigorously pursued in the rural areas.
  2. Empower the rural dweller by way of deliberately introducing economic activities in the rural areas.
  • Employment generation and social housing should be planned to ameliorate potential dangers of this growing group.
  1. Promote a housing programme in the rural areas which emphasized the special needs of rural dwellers, with adequate infrastructure.
  2. Include traditional responses to meeting housing needs and innovation approaches to pursuing partnerships in the wider housing system with commercial renewal.

Problems of Housing Development in Rural Area of Ikwuano Umuahia


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