UN urges Nigeria to impose vacant home tax


United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Adequate Housing, Leilana Fartha has called for urgent measures aimed at tackling housing challenges in Nigeria, including the imposition of vacant home taxes.

Fartha, who was in Nigeria for a 10-day fact-finding visit, expressed concern over the human rights crisis presented by poor living conditions in Nigeria’s informal settlements.

According to her, there is an estimated housing shortage of 22 million units, and the informal settlements house about 69 per cent of the country’s urban population.

“Most residents in Nigeria’s ballooning informal settlements live without access to even the most basic services, like running water, and they lack any security of tenure, forcing them to live in constant fear of being evicted.

“At the same time, newly built luxury dwellings are springing up throughout cities and made possible often through the forced eviction of poor communities.

“These units do not fulfil any housing need, with many remaining vacant as vehicles for money laundering or investment,’’ Fartha said.

The UN Rapporteur also called for the establishment of a national commission to investigate gross human rights violations in the context of forced evictions.

Fartha is expected to present a comprehensive report of her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2020.


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