The recent surge in rents by landlords, especially in the Delta state capital territory areas of Asaba and other major cities in the state such as Okpanam, Warri, Abraka, Agbor, and other places, remains an unpalatable commentary.
Aside from being outrageous and unbearable, the rate at which owners of houses are increasing rents for the tenant, predominantly occupied by public servants, will worsen the economic situation of these hapless and helpless civil servants in the state who currently bear the crushing weight of economic hardship occasioned by bad leadership in the country.
Going by commentaries, a single room self-contained apartment in Asaba and other urban centres in the state now goes for between N150,000 and N200,000 per annum while that of a room and parlour self-contained cost as high as N300,000 to N350,000.
Similarly, a fairly standard two-bedroom apartment depending on the location now goes for N400,000 to N500,000 while the same standard of the three-bedroom cost between N500,000 and N100,000, and duplex from N2 million depending also on the location and disposition of the owner.
Indeed, while this development in our view, remains in a bad light as no civil servant can thrive under this rent regime, we hereby make the following propositions.
First, we urge the Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa led Delta State Government, to look into this constant and indiscriminate increment of house rents in the urban centers in the state, as allowing this trend to thrive unabated will trigger corrupt activities among civil servants in the state, in their bid to survive.
We also call on the Governor to engineer social housing or low-cost housing programme in the State. This is the only way housing will be democratized and make it more accessible to the state civil servants. This could be achieved by the state going into Private Public Partnership with corporate organizations and building societies in the state.
The government needs to do this not because of political reason(s) but because Article 11(1) of the International Covenant On Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, of which is a signatory to, recognizes adequate housing as part of the right to an adequate standard of living. This can be found in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
Other international human rights treaties have also recognized or referred to the right to adequate housing or some elements of it, such as the protection of one’s home and privacy. The right to adequate housing is relevant to all States, as they have all ratified at least one international treaty referring to adequate housing and committed themselves to protect the right to adequate housing through international declarations, plans of action, or conference outcome documents.
Several constitutions protect the right to adequate housing or outline the State’s general responsibility to ensure adequate housing and living conditions for all. Courts from various legal systems have also adjudicated cases related to its enjoyment, covering, for instance, forced evictions, tenant protection, discrimination in the housing sphere, or access to basic housing-related services.
While Deltans wait for the state Government to take the above actions, it will be fine if Governor Okowa’s led administration comes up with an effective policy to address rent control and other related issues in the state as well as checkmate the current rate of inflation in the economy which has resulted in the increase in prices of not just building materials alone but almost everything in the market.
In the final analysis, we hold the opinion that there exists no basics/reason for such an astronomical increase in house rents in the state.
Landlords/house owners in the state must on their part, allow sanity to prevail over emotion.