You are on page 1of 81


TPL. Abubakar Sadiq Sani, MNITP, RTP.


Doctor of Management Degree in Town Planning.


St Clements


Reg. No. E 14905

Registered Office: Churchill Building, Grand Turk,
TURKS & CAICOS island, British West Indies.
Phone 1809 946 2828 Fax: 1809 946 2825

MARCH 2006

This study appraises and analyses the indigenous low-income housing

process, with particular reference to the city of Kano, Nigeria. As a
background to the study, the low income housing processes in both the
developing and developed countries of the world was reviewed and
The Dissertation discovers a lot of information on low-income housing:







development and government approaches to low-income housing in both

developed and developing countries of the world and find that most
approaches concentrates on project approach to housing. 2. The
dissertation studied methods and techniques of low income housing in
Kano and found that private sector participation produces over 90% of
low-income housing, while the public sector participation is minimal. 3.
That practice of mass construction of houses and the allocation of sites
and serviced plots to low income-earners by governments and multilateral organisations sponsored programmes, in Kano does not
satisfactorily benefit the low-income earners, because even when such
houses/plots allocated, the beneficiaries sell the houses to the medium
and high-income earners and move to other areas of inadequate housing.
4. The current formal practice of land acquisition, land allocation,
housing planning and design, housing finance, building codes and
housing construction, in Kano, is not inclusive and incompatible with the
indigenous low-income housing process. 5. Governments use political
consideration, rather than rationalistic means of identifying housing need
and demand. 6. With the rapid growth of unplanned residential
developments in areas like Chiranchi, Jaen, Kurnar asabe, Bachirawa,
Dorayi, Kawo etc; while few formal residential developments are only at
Mariri, Farawa and Zawachiki it is concluded that the growth of

unplanned and illegal housing developments is significantly higher than

that of public housing development. 7. The poverty level of the low
income earners need to be addressed along side housing delivery through
supportive programmes of tenure security and community based
mechanisms of housing finance.


Mankind first of all must eat, drink, and have shelter and clothing,
before he can pursue politics, art and religion etc. (Frederick Engels,
1883). Shelter is necessary to everyone and the provision of housing,
as a means of solving one of the urban problems, is one of the
concerns of Town Planning.

Housing as defined by the United

Nations (UN) encompasses the housing unit and the entire ancillary
services as well as community facilities that are necessary for human
It is difficult to satisfactorily define the low-income group, however
for the purpose of the National housing policy, the low-income group
has been defined as wage earners and self employed people whose
annual income is =N= 5,000.00 or below as of 1988, or whose annual
income is 20% or below the maximum annual income of the highest
salary grade level within the civil service structure at any given time,
whichever is higher.
In Nigeria 75% of the population is estimated to be of the Lowincome group, the various civilian and military Governments have
made concerted efforts to provide adequate housing to this group: But
recent studies have shown that, the low income group has not
adequately benefited from the Government programmes (Sani 2003).

The planning, design, financing, construction and management of lowincome housing in a developing country like Nigeria, is of great
concern to all stakeholders in housing development in terms of the
extent that they accommodate the economical, socio-cultural and
technological factors in the housing programme.
Housing, one of the physiological needs of man has become a global
problem. Despite the emphasis being laid on housing provision by
people and various Governments, this basic human need has continued
to elude many (Onibokun, 1985, Car et al, 1995 and Abiodun, 1985).
In developing countries such as Nigeria governments have been
making attempts at providing adequate housing to the low-income
earners but studies have shown that this category of households are
not well benefited (Sani 2003). Indeed, in many developing countries,
the provision of shelter, particularly for the low-income group, is
grossly inadequate. Despite the shelter programmes, projects and other
forms of government action taken in many countries, the shelter






involvement in the shelter sector ranges from the provision of

completed housing units to several forms of supportive measures.
Factors responsible for these problems include:

1. Government in Nigeria prefers solving housing problems through

direct mass housing construction for staff accommodation and
recently through partnerships for sale to individuals and
2. The cost of production of the houses by government is almost
doubled that by an individual himself.
3. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Federal and
Kano State governments, have been making attempts to solve lowincome housing problems through allocation of Site and Serviced
plots and direct construction of mass houses, such projects
allocated to the Low-income earners, end with land speculators;
and requires long and complicated bureaucratic procedures and
costs before they can be developed, thereby forcing the Lowincome earners to look outside the government land allocation
system to the informal ones (un planned areas).
4. The housing process in Nigeria (legislation, planning, design,
financing, construction and maintenance) is unnecessarily too
lengthy, complicated and has lots of un-necessary bureaucratic
5. The government-constructed houses for low-income housing lack
maintenance programme to provide adequate housing.

6. The building code in Nigeria specifies the use of imported, modern

building materials, instead of locally produced materials that are
more conducive to the environment. This contributes to the
depletion of the countrys foreign reserves, and high cost of
housing supply.
7. The houses built with the modern building materials, are neither
adequate in terms of foreign standards nor bear any representation
to our progressive cultural link to the past and environment.
The inadequate and, sometimes, negative effects of public-sector
intervention in the shelter-delivery process can be summed up as
problems of insufficient coverage, affordability by beneficiaries, lack
of replicability and, to a lesser degree, social acceptability.
Relevant strategies must deal with these issues, which limit the
effectiveness of actions in the form of planned projects. The policies,
programmes and projects to improve existing housing conditions and
stimulate the supply of shelter have been pursued, a wide range of
institutions and professions and complications arise from the close
links to developmental and welfare strategies and the multiplicity of
the implementing institutions. This diversity and problem may account
for the ambiguity of shelter policies in many countries. Public sector
action is widely in the form of housing projects without a well set
programme framework.


Within the context of developing the housing strategy that encourages
enabling concepts in the promotion of housing-production processes,
the above review points to the need to find the answer to the question:
Given the widespread acceptance of the project approach to shelter
delivery for the urban poor, how can housing projects, in developing
countries like Nigeria, be made sustainable?
The sub questions are as follows:
(a) How can housing projects be more responsive to the diverse
needs of low-income households?
(b) How can housing projects provide a basis for addressing
structural constraints in land and housing markets?
(c) How can housing projects stimulate additional investment by
the formal and informal private sectors and communities?
To study the low income housing process in Kano in comparison to the
practice in other parts of the world, with a view to draw lessons from the
indigenous system for adoption in contemporary housing projects, in
developing countries.

Study poverty and its impact on housing.


Appraise the methods, techniques and practices of low-income

housing in different countries.


Study and analyse the indigenous low-income housing process

in Kano.


Identify general lessons in the low-income housing process for

application in Nigeria and other developed countries.


Recommend policies for improving the low-income housing

process, using the general lessons and those from other
indigenous processes.


Several projections have shown that cities and towns will play
significant roles in the future than they ever played in the past,
especially if the several disabilities (ie the factors that worked against
citys functionality including housing) through history are sloughed
off (Mumford, 1961, UNHCS 1996ab). The problem of providing
adequate low-income housing has long been a concern, not only of
individuals but of Governments as well. The provision of housing
facilities for the rapidly increasing urban populations in most Third
World Countries currently constitutes one of the greatest problems
facing Governments and policy makers in these areas. In Nigeria, as in
most third world Countries, the increasing tempo and level of
urbanization have led to massive housing shortages as well as

qualitative deficiencies, slums, squatter settlements and high housing

rents in relation to income which are visible features of the urban
scene throughout the country ( Ozo, A. O. 1990).
The planning, design, construction and management of housing, needs
a multidisciplinary approach. This study is limited to the study of the
conditions, location and characteristics of low-income housing in
Kano, in a Town planners perspective.
The methodology of the dissertation was informed by its nature on lowincome housing with particular reference to poverty alleviation. The
following activities were undertaken:
Background literature review: A preliminary literature review was
undertaken for two purposes:

To assess the extent to which low income housing is discussed in

literature pertaining to low income households; and

To assess countries that lends themselves to informative case


Identification of case studies: The results from the literature review

were measured against two criteria:

Geographical diversity;

The identification of low income housing as a significant issue of

concern by the low income households in a particular region; and

Using these criteria, several case studies were identified.

Secondary sources: Once the case studies were selected, extensive
research was undertaken to locate relevant secondary sources. In a
number of cases there was only limited information about low income
housing conditions specifically, which then required the researcher to
extrapolate from related materials on issues such as: land rights, selfdetermination, womens rights and development and infrastructure
Primary sources: A questionnaire was developed and distributed to
various stakeholders. The shape and structure of the case studies were
based on the responses received. As the case studies were being
developed, the researchers contacted relevant experts, NGOs and
indigenous peoples, for clarifications, comments and further resources,
especially on those issues raised by the questionnaire.
This research was not without difficulties. While the scope of the project
required a case-study approach, it was difficult to determine, in advance,

whether the case studies would be representative of the wide-ranging

low-income housing issues confronting low-income households. The
researcher also had to grapple with the often ambiguous or complex legal
landscape governing low-income households and housing. In many cases,
though there might be specific legislation on low-income households
rights, mainstream laws regarding non-discrimination, equality and
housing also apply. Difficulties also arose in accessing primary or
secondary sources regarding low-income womens housing. Most NGOs
that focus on low-income housing do not focus on low-income
households housing. Few organizations focus specifically on housing and
even less focus on womens housing. Most frame their struggle in terms
of broader issues such as self-determination, land rights, and economic
empowerment. Low-income womens organizations also tend to
concentrate on broader issues, albeit from womens perspectives. Genderspecific issues tend to focus on violence against women, though there is
an increasing amount of information on womens rights to use, own and
inherit land and property.
Because of these obstacles, the researcher was often required to piece
together information in order to develop a good picture of the status of
low-income housing rights. For this reason, this dissertation is
preliminary in nature. That being said, it does provide a good foundation

and overview of low income housing in different regions of the world and
certainly sets the stage for more in-depth research, analysis and action
pertaining to low income households housing rights.
Data collection on housing in Nigeria is very difficult, because some
sources are not reliable and most of the times obsolete. Despite these
shortcomings this study collected, collated and analysed available data on
low income housing in Kano, Nigeria, as follows:
1.8.2. Data requirements.
Data required for this study is on the low income housing process in
Kano. The Data required for the study are as follows:
A) Background Data:
i) Economic Characteristics.
* Household and individual incomes (both net and gross) and an
indication of their regularity.
* Household expenditure, especially on housing and related services.
ii) Household Characteristics.
* Household size (i.e. the number of people living together as a social
* Household structure (i.e. their relationship).
* Membership of housing cooperative.
* Access to work.

* Access to public facilities such as shops, schools and hospitals.

* The number of people in the household including any absent.
* The age of the household head.
* The age and sex of all household members.
* The household type i.e. nucleated. Extended/single family.
iii) Physical settings:
* Climate.
* Location of Kano.
* Regional transport linkages.
B) Land use and Housing Facilities Data:
i) Land use.
*Existing land tenure.
* Housing structure from maps and aerial photographs.
ii) Housing layouts/densities.
* Plot development.
* The nature and extent of building necessary to meet at least short term
household needs and the ability of households to provide this for them.
* Housing layouts/densities.
iii) Public facilities/recreation.
* The number of schools, the ages they cater for and the number of places
(official), the number of children actually attending and problems that

* Types of health care and capacity of facilities compared with health

problems in the area and official standards of provision.
* Other social or public facilities and their capacities compared with
iv) Circulation/transportation.
* The extent, nature and quality of water supplies.
v) Institutional and Financial Framework.
* Land cost.
* Infrastructure cost.
* Building cost.
* The type of housing preferred.
* Preferred tenure category.
* Preferred method of obtaining dwelling. (Ownership or rental).
* Source of land for housing.
C) Housing Process Analysis.
This covers investigations to understand the problems and opportunities
involved, both existing and projected. It will provide descriptions and
measures for which, and within which, the low-income housing exist.
i) Housing expenditure:
* Household priorities for spending any additional income.

* The maximum amount which households can afford each month for
housing and related services.
* Any savings or loans available and accessed for housing.
* Total net household income, including any secondary sources, such as
rent from letting rooms or cash from the sale of domestic produce.
* The gross and net incomes of all household members and an indication
of whether or not an increase is expected in the near future.
* Preferred location of houses.
* Priorities for provision of utilities.
1.8.3. Sources of Data.
Data for this study were derived from field surveys and investigations
of the residences of the sampled households in the selected
neighbourhoods, through the administration of questionnaires (see
appendices I and II), secondary data is drawn from analysis of reports
and records of projects on low income housing undertaken by the
United Nations Development Programme, Federal Government of
Nigeria, Kano State Government, Bayero University Kano, etc.
1.8.4. Data Collection Technique.
Residential neighbourhoods of Kurna, Bachirawa, Chiranchi, Jaen,
Dorayi, old Kano city, Unguwa uku, Sheka, Sallari, Kwanar jaba,

Dakata, Sharada and Naibawa have been identified as mainly of low

income residents.
Data were obtained from low income households in these







questionnaires were administered to a sample of 25% of low-income

households in the neighbourhoods.
1.8.5. Procedure of Data Collection.
The data collection was carried out in stages. In each location of the
stages many individual tasks were carried out involving field
identification of the survey households and marking on the base map.
Field assistants were then trained for the job. The Researcher drove
round to supervise the field assistants on the survey days. The
products of these tasks are then analysed to provide the required
knowledge of low cost housing in Kano.
Secondly, by field observation, the housing conditions were observed
and recorded in relation to the sub-housing environments, such as sites
and services Areas, Direct Institutional Housing Areas (Low Cost
Estates), Indigenous Housing Areas, etc. This was complimented by
informal interview of house-owners and public officers.
The Urban Project Manual, prepared initially for use in Ismailia,
Egypt and later accepted by the UNDP, was used to guide the
procedure in this study. The population of Kano is now projected to

stand at 3.2million (NPC) and Data available from the UNDP

indicates that 75% (2.4million) of the residents of Kano are of the
low-income group. About 40% (960,000) reside in the selected
residential wards covered by the survey, taking an average family size
of 6.7pers/household; 143,284 households are targeted for the study.
Taking 20% of this as sample size, about 29 households/192persons
are interviewed.
1.8.6. Summary:
The data from the informal interview was drawn at the Federal
Ministry of Works and Housing, Federal Housing Authority, Kano
State Ministry of Works and Housing, Kano State Ministry of Land
and Physical Planning, Kano State Housing Corporation, Kano State
Investment and properties Company Limited, Dala Building Society,
United Nations Development Programme office in Kano, Ahmadu
Bello University Zaria, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
and the Kano State Environmental Planning and Protection Agency.


2.1.1. Historical Setting.
In the 10th century C.E., Bayajidda Abuyazid, said to be an exiled prince
from Baghdad, founded seven Hausa city-states, of which Kano was one.
Prehistoric stone tools discovered on the site, however, suggest that the
city's actual history extends much farther into the past. Scholars from the
ancient empire of Mali brought Islam to Kano in the 1340s, and the city
achieved great prosperity during the rule of Muhammad Rumfa (14631499). Walls built during that period still surround the old quarter of the
city, and Rumfa's palace, located next to Nigeria's largest mosque, now
serves as the emir's palace.
For centuries Kano was an important market town on trans-Saharan
caravan routes. Kola and other products from the forested coastal areas of
West Africa changed hands in Kano's market, as did Saharan salt, luxury
goods from North Africa and Europe, and slaves. Kano's resident Hausa
artisans also manufactured textiles as well as leather and metal goods for
both long-distance and local commerce, while nearby villages produced
most of the city's food supply. After the Fulani conquest of Hausaland in
the early 19th century, Kano became the capital of an emirate within the

Sokoto Caliphate. In the 20th century, Kano has retained a vital role in
the regional economy, but through different means. Today the primary
crops are peanuts and cotton, which are consumed locally and exported.
The tanning and decoration of hides and skins, however, remains a major
economic activity.
Most contemporary residents still claim to be Hausa, though sizeable
populations of Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo and other tribes also reside in Kano.
The city has ten major districts: Fagge; the Syrian Quarters and the
adjoining Commercial Township; Sabon Gari; the Nassarawa; Bompai;
Dorayi; Unguwa uku; Dakata, Kurna and the original, walled city. These
districts divide further into approximately 100 small neighborhoods
(unguwa), each of which centers on a mosque and a market. Two hills,
Dala and Goron Dutse, dominate the oldest part of Kano. At their bases,
water collects in pools that provide most of the clay used in constructing
Kano is still a center of old-style textile making and leather- and
metalworking. But it also hosts food industries, such as meat-processing,
canning, bottling, and the production of peanut and vegetable oils; light
manufacturing, such as modern textiles, knit fabrics, plastics,
pharmaceuticals, and furniture; and heavy industries, such as steel-rolling
and the production of chemicals, automobiles, and asbestos. In addition,

Kano remains a hub of transport highways converge upon the city,

railroads run to Nguru, Lagos, and Port Harcourt, and the airport services
major international flights.
Kano is also home to numerous schools and institutes, including Kano
State Institute for Higher Education, an Arabic law school, Bayero
University, a state polytechnic college, a commercial school, an
agricultural research institute that focuses on peanuts, two libraries, and
several teacher-training institutes.
2.1.2. Physical Setting of Kano.
1. Location.
Kano is the capital of Kano State, Nigeria; lies on latitude 12 0, 03N, 80,
32E and 1,549feet above sea level.
2. Local climate.
Kano city lies within the sudan savannah region of Nigeria, with rainy
season within the months of June October, Harmatan period from
October - February and dry season from March June. This weather has
effect on building materials because in the Harmatan and Dry seasons the
relative humidity is very low while in the Rainy season the relative
humidity is high.

2.1.3 Kano Town Planning and Architecture.

The Town Planning and Architecture of Kano are greatly influenced by
the Islamic religion as noticed in other Islamic Cities of Marrakech and
Cairo. Public streets are open to every one while cul-de-sac giving access
to a small group of houses belonging in co-ownership to those who live
along it. Traditional Architecture is mostly trabeated with flat roofs.
The finest of Islamic Planning intricate, yet consistent is practiced in
Kano as is found in cities, towns and villages which were founded as
Islam spreads, literally from Spain to India and from South-east Asia to
Islamic laws extracted from the holy Quran and the Sunna of the holy
prophet of Islam, Muhammad Sallahu Alaihi wa sallam is the main law
governing the Urbanization of early Kano. The law distinguishes between
the public street (Shari), which is open to everyone and the cul de sac
(Fina) giving access to those who live along it. The principles include
those of:
i) Haram: "inviolate zones", an important aspect of urban planning in
Muslim civilization. Towns were usually built near a river which
provided drinking and domestic water (upstream) and carried away waste
and sewage (downstream, usually underground, unlike most cities in
Europe in medieval times). Muslims claim to have introduced the idea of

carrying capacity, and clearly did limit the number of families in any
given town. The haram were typically positioned to ensure access to
parkland and nature (which were given another name, hima), to restrict
urban sprawl, protect water-courses and watersheds and oases. In this
respect the rules strongly resembled modern zoning laws, with the same
The distinction between haram and hima is thought by some modern
scholars to have been necessary due to a different means of deciding
which regions were to have restrictions - the selection of haram was
considered to be more up to the community while the selection of hima
had more to do with natural characteristics of the region, which were
considered to be best respected by jurists. This idea probably arises from
two different obligations of the Muslim to respect ijma (consensus of
neighbors within Islam) and practice khalifa (stewardship of nature under
Allah). It may or may not reflect actual means of decision making
ii) Interdependence: people within the city and the structures they inhabit,
are considered interdependent in an ecological sense.
iii) Privacy: every family is entitled to acoustic, visual and other kind of

iv) Original usage: older and established uses such as the positioning of
windows, party walls, drainages and so on have prior rights over any later
v) Building height: this controls the right of neighbors to the height of
new proposed development.
vi) Respect for the properties of others.
vii) Pre-emption: in selling of ones property, one must offer first refusal
to ones neighbors/s, adjacent property owner/s, or even ones partner/s.
viii) Seven cubits as the minimum width of public Sharis.
ix) Three cubits as the maximum right of way for households in front of
their houses.
x) Any public thoroughfare should never be obstructed by permanent or
temporary obstructions.
Sabongari and the commercial and industrial plots were sited by the
Colonial rulers and made to conform to Lugards plan for Townships. A
Tudunwada was founded in 1914 to provide home for Muslims of
Northern Nigeria who were not natives to Kano City located east of the
Sabongari and north of Bompai. The newer residential area to the north,
Gwagwarwa, is similar in character to Tudunwada.
Commercial and industrial areas grew as a result of Kanos being the
northern terminus of the railway line from Lagos. Kano has the greatest
diversity of commerce in Northern Nigeria. During the Colonial period

the emergence of a new Colonial City of Kano was noticed alongside the
traditional City. The cultural patterns and functional requirements of this
town differ greatly from that of the traditional Kano City and the
landscape carefully reflects this.
Stronger than any other single influence on Colonial town building in
Kano was the policy of indirect rule as developed by Lord Lugard. Under
Indirect rule the Native Political, Administrative and Governmental
bodies were left more or less intact but were supervised by the Colonial
Government through its Governor and their local representatives, the
Residents and District officers. This was a highly effective policy when
there were only a few Colonial officials and where Administrative funds
were limited and where the Native Government was organized centrally
to control extensive areas, as in Kano. Landscape changes as a result of
this aspect of indirect rule were minimal, however Colonial rule also
encompasses policies for new developments in Government, Trade and
Industry, Health and Education; and held the powers of enforcement. This
aspect of indirect rule stimulated revolutionary landscape changes, which
were concentrated in the new Towns. The colonial rulers adopt a master
plan for new town development in Kano with the present Post office
Road, Bompai Road, Sani Abacha Road and Audu Bako way serving as
the central business district around the Railway station.

In addition to British officials, the new City housed Europeans, Lebanese

and Indian traders and shopkeepers as well as Yorubas, Igbos, Sierra
Leoneans and other Africans who come often with their families as
Clerks, Labourers, Traders, Soldiers, and Policemen or simply as seekers
of a new way of life. These immigrants brought with them the ways of
their native lands and created distinctive segments within the urban
landscape. They viewed the family and home, trade, religion and
education differently from the inhabitants of the old towns and cities, and
in ways often unsympathetic to their Colonial rulers. Although their
numbers have steadily increased (they now form the majority of the
population), the immigrants differing right ways of occupying
settlements still do not dominate the total urban pattern.
In recent years one major drawback both of the traditional city and the
new colonial city has become apparent. Neither has a broadly based
Municipal tradition, which has meant that urban growth has been
uncontrolled and administration inefficient (Allen 1972). As a result
many recent developments have been largely self-contained scattered,
and not integrated with previous developments. Their impetus comes
from international organizations, foreign aid, the National Government or
individual enterprises; their connections are largely circumstantial and
depend on the automobile and paved roads.

2.1.4. The Existing Town Structure:

The structural units of Kano are described in this sub-section as follows:
i. Sabongari.
At the same time as the trading plots and railway lands were being
discussed, plotted and auctioned, Sir Hesketh Bell, the Governor of
Northern Nigeria, devised a plan for establishing new native town. This
new native town was named Sabongari and it was established in 1904 to
accommodate non-natives of Kano City but who are residents of Kano.
This is to exclude this category of people from Native Administration.
ii. Tudun Wada.
By Proclamation 10 of 1911, the Cantonment Proclamation was amended
to read that the Native Reservation (the Sabongari) was assigned for the
use of non-natives of African descent and for natives in the employment
of Government and of non-natives resident in the township; and no
person who is directly subject to the Native Authority shall be allowed to
reside therein (power 2 and 3 of Cantonment Proclamation of 1904 as
amended by Proclamation 10 of 1911). Nevertheless the Sabongari was
given over to the Native Authority in 1911 primarily to ensure that the
natives of Northern Nigerian were administered under the policy of
indirect rule; this then meant that many non-natives of African descent
who lived in the Sabongari and should be under the Colonial rule, did not
in fact enjoy this kind of Government. This conflict was resolved in 1914

when the Sabongari redesigned as part of the Township and the HausaFulani population was moved to new town established outside the old
walled city. The Tudunwada as this settlement is known, is the residence
of Northern Nigerians, who being subject to the Native Authority were no
longer eligible to live in the Sabongari. Because they also had no claim to
the use of the land or did not want to live in the old city, these Northern
Nigerians moved to Tudunwada. After 1929 they were again allowed to
live in the Sabongari. Finally in 1940 the Sabongari was no longer
administered as part of the township and was transferred to the Native
The concept of the Kano Colonial City was found to conform to the
schematic layout of 1939, for new Nigerian towns. After independence in
1960 the Federal Republic of Nigeria was divided into three political
Regions (Northern, Western and Eastern Regions). Kano City fell within
the Northern Region with headquarter in Kaduna. From that time Town
planning was taken out of the hands of general administrators or
individual officials and became the responsibility of full-time
professional Town Planners based in Kaduna. They identify the problems
of individual Townships within the Region and made specific suggestions
for their alleviation in terms of contemporary design criteria. The main
problems were seen as general expansion of land for all uses and in the
construction of roads and roundabouts to accommodate increasing

automobile and lorry traffic. In addition some areas analyzed minutely

and extremely detailed zoning and building regulations and maps were
proposed (just as if the Colonial townships were large, long established
urban centers with a cadre of professional Planners at their service). The
style of Town Planning was still authoritarian.
The major cause of rapid urban growth of Kano City was primarily due to
factors outside the urban area. Lack of opportunities, poor living
conditions and the lowly status of the rural dwellers have caused the more
educated or adventurous to leave their villages or homesteads to seek for
their future elsewhere. Once footloose, the migrants are attracted to the
City. The fact that they will be relegated to the worst living conditions;
that employment prospects are poor and that existing public and social
facilities are inadequate for the present population, let alone a population
swollen by migration, does not weigh with them. They have no means of
assessing opportunities.
The effect of this is two fold, to overburden available but limited facilities
in the urban centre and contribute to unemployment and to rob the rural
areas of some of their more educated and enlightened people.
The Government of Northern Nigeria, being sensible of the social and
economic problems arising from the very rapid growth of Kano City,
instructed that a development plan should be prepared for the social and
economic improvement of the area. A request was also made to the

British High Commission for technical assistance, to be provided from

the Department of Technical Corporation, London in preparing the plan.
The Plan was completed by December 1963 to cover 20-year period
(1963 1983) and it accommodates the growth of Kano to the southwest
of Kofar Nassarawa between the Kaduna Kano railway line to the River
Since then the city of Kano has no master plan, but growing aimlessly
with no focus, no direction and little control, spreading into 15 Local
Government areas. Each of this Local Government function separately. In
1968 the Federal Republic of Nigeria was restructured into 12 States,
with Kano State being one of them. The capital of Kano State is Kano
City. Coupled with the rapid urbanization of Kano City and the
administrative of status of the City as a State Capital, whereby some staff
of the defunct Northern Nigeria was deployed to Kano State irrespective
of their culture and religion, demand on land and urban facilities and
integration of cultures increases dramatically.
2.2.1. Age and Sex structure.
The population of Kano is now projected to stand at 3.2million (NPC)
and Data available from the UNDP indicates that 75% (2.4million) of
the residents of Kano are of the Low-income group, majority of the

population are female, but female headed household and accessibility

to housing is discouraged.
10 14
15 19
20 24
25 29
30 34
35 39
40 44
45 49
50 54
55 59
60 64
65 69
70 74
75 79
80 84
85 Total

Both sexes



Table 2.1. Characteristics of the population of Kano city.

2.2.2. Economic Characteristics.

Many reasons have been advanced to explain the dramatic increase in the
number of low-income earners in Kano. The total poverty rate tended to
increase, and this was especially true in the inner city areas where most
low-income earners live. At the same time, the supply of low-income
housing declined precipitously. Waiting lists for public housing are often
many years long and pension payments have not kept pace with inflation.
Among other factors implicated in the trend are changes in the treatment
of the chronically mentally ill, drug use, and the inability of some
families to support dependent adult members.

The low income earners are largely made up of people earning their
living on the informal sector of the economy, living on less than 1$(US) a
day. Their level of education, sanitation, water and electricity supply is
lower than that of medium and high-income earners, the mortgage ratio of
their income averages 45%.
Informal employment.
Life expectancy.
Adult literacy rate.

51.6 years.

Table 2.2. Economic indicators.

2.2.3. Household Characteristics.

The low-income earners are largely made up people practicing polygamy
with large size families, as shown in Table 3.3 below.
Size of household

Number of respondents

Percentage (%)














10 15


15 +


No reply



Table 2.3. Household sizes by percentage occurrence.


In the last two decades, low-income earners worldwide have been
successful in bringing about legal changes in favor of their human rights
and specific situation. However, in most countries low-income earners
still constitute one of the most disadvantaged groups. Their disadvantage
is experienced in all realms (economic, social, political, environmental
and cultural) and is reflected clearly in their housing conditions. This
dissertation provides a global overview of these conditions, in an attempt
to determine the extent to which low-income housing rights are
recognized and implemented.
The dissertation exposes the profound connection between low-income
earners rights to land and housing. It demonstrates that in Kano, the
dispossession of low-income earners from their lands has had a ripple
effect and resulted in inadequate housing conditions for low-income
earners. The low-income earners often lack security of tenure and live
constantly with the threat of forced eviction from their homes and/or
lands, live in overcrowded houses, that are in poor condition and that
often have neither schools nor hospitals nearby. The dissertation also
exposes that low-income women and men continue to face discrimination
in most aspects of housing. Housing and development policies and

programmes either discriminate against low-income earners directly or

have discriminatory effects. The dissertation also reveals that the loss of
traditional lands and housing contributes to the increased migration of
indigenous peoples to urban centers, where barriers to adequate housing
(such as unemployment/poverty, discrimination, and lack of affordable
and adequate housing) are particularly acute.
Indigenous women bear the brunt of these inadequate conditions. At the
same time, they experience gender specific problems, such as domestic
violence, and discrimination and inequality as a result of institutional and
cultural factors, which often curtail or prohibit womens access to, control
over and the right to inherit land, property and housing.
The dissertation also uncovers that these inadequate and discriminatory
conditions prevail where there are domestic laws and mechanisms aimed
at promoting equality and protecting against discrimination in housing
and/or legislation recognizing land title rights for indigenous peoples. In
many instances, State have also ratified international conventions or
treaties that secure the housing and land rights of low-income earners, but
these international legal obligations often appear to fall on the wayside in
the face of international trade agreements and development interests.

Kano houses many diverse ethnic cultures and is the site of ongoing
struggles for union between its peoples. Identifying the indigenous
peoples of Kano, like those throughout the nation, requires a somewhat
unique approach, since most Nigerians are the original inhabitants of
Nigeria and thus indigenous. However, drawing on the broad definitions
of indigenous found in ILO Convention No. 169, several marginalized
groups have self-identified as indigenous. The exclusion of these
communities from mainstream society has resulted in their political,
economic and social marginalization and disadvantage, similar to
experiences of indigenous groups in other countries.
The marginalization and disadvantage experienced by these communities
is largely a result of the history of colonization in Nigeria and the impact
of this on land rights within the country. The expropriation of indigenous
lands continued well into the mid-1900s, resulting in the displacement of
many from their homes. At the same time, successive governments
changed land tenure systems in Nigeria away from communal land
ownership which was the tenure system in most indigenous
communities in Nigerian pre-colonial times (to individualized, private
land ownership, which rarely supports indigenous economic activities). In
so doing, the colonial land tenure system disrupted indigenous land-use
patterns. Under communal land ownership each clan had a specific area

of land. Men typically controlled land allocation. Under individual land

titling schemes only those with the necessary economic resources can
purchase and own land and only landowners are entitled to use the land.
The quality of life for most Nigerians is declining as poverty rates
increase. According to the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP), 80 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line of US
$ 1 per day, of which women and children are the majority. These
conditions are worse for low-income earners in Kano.
Thirty to fifty per cent of low-income earners in Kano have no guarantee
of household food security, even under normal and favorable weather
conditions. Within low-income communities and the broader population
in Kano, women are disproportionately poor. Women head 37 per cent of
all households in Kano and of these, eighty per cent are either poor or
very poor, at least in part due to lack of land ownership. It can be
assumed that low-income women are represented by and within these
statistics. Only 5 per cent of registered landholders are women. Among
the general population in Kano literacy rates are quite high, reaching 83.3
per cent in 2001. However, this rate drops dramatically for low-income






education to other communities and school curricula do not recognize or

teach traditional forms of economic production. On health matters, low-

income communities are also disadvantaged. They are particularly

vulnerable to HIV because of a lack of accurate information, and
traditional practices such as polygamy.
2.3.1. Housing Demand.
Nigeria is still a primarily rural country, with only 45 percent of its
population in cities. Urban areas, however, doubled their share of the
population between 1970 and 1996. The country has a long history of
urban development, particularly in northern and southwestern Nigeria
where substantial cities existed centuries before colonial rule. The largest
cities, in order of size, are Lagos, Ibadan, and Kano. Lagos, one of the
worlds largest cities, grew as colonial Nigerias capital and leading port.
Despite its loss of the federal capital in 1991 to Abuja, Lagos remains the
countrys economic and cultural centre. Ibadan, founded as a 19thcentury war camp, was the largest pre-colonial city in sub-Saharan Africa,
thanks to massive rural-to-urban migration. Its economy is based largely
on agriculture and trade. Kano, the largest of the Hausa cities, grew to
prominence as the centre of a prosperous agricultural district and as a
major terminus of trans-Saharan trade. Today, it is a major commercial,
transportation, industrial, and administrative center. Other important cities
include the Yoruba centers of Oyo, Ogbomosho, and Ife; the Hausa cities

of Zaria, Katsina, and Sokoto; and the newer, colonial-era cities of

Kaduna, Jos, and Enugu.
Past Government policies towards housing have mostly being addressed
towards solving housing problems of the high and middle-income
earners, to the detriment of the low-income earners that are almost 3/4 of
the population. The policies are mostly prepared by government officials
without due regard to low-income needs.
The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, make housing
a right for all Nigerians irrespective of their economic status, religion or
tribe. The right is on paper as most of the low-income housing stock is in
adequate. The second National Development Plan, which has the major
objective of ensuring that all Nigerians have a right to a relatively clean,
safe, healthy and habitable accommodation took various steps for the
translation of these objectives, among which are:
a) Allocation of =N=500,000,000.00 by the Federal Government in
1974/75 for the provision of 59,000 housing units for the lowincome earners throughout the federation. 10,000 units was
planned for the federal capital Lagos, while 4,000 units was
planned for Kano.
b) Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), was granted a capital
of =N= 1,060,000,000.00 in 1974/75 and officially converted to

Mortgage Bank and was asked to reduce the interest on loan

granted to the public from 81/2% to 61/2%.
The land use act of 1978, vested all land in the designated urban centre of
Kano, under the control of the governor of the state thereby limiting
accessibility to land by the low-income earners, due to long bureaucratic
processes, and increases land speculation making land beyond the reach
of the low-income earners. Government allocation of plots of land and
built houses favours the high and middle-income earners, at the expense
of the low-income earners. Despite the law, government find it difficult to
acquire land from peasant farmers for development, the farmers prefer to
illegally subdivide and sell the farm lands rather than allow government
to acquire the land and plan for housing.
National council on housing established in 1971, recommended amongst
others, the establishment of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) in 1973
to handle the responsibility of initiating and executing Federal
Government housing programmes in Nigeria, and Kano State
Government established the Kano State Housing Corporation to handle
the responsibility of initiating and executing State Government housing
programmes. Local governments in Kano are not active towards lowincome housing and are incapacitated on land allocation for housing by
the 1978 Land Use Act.

Federal and Kano State Housing Corporations are in very poor

operational and financial state and unable to compete with the private
sector in the supply of low-income houses to the Housing market. The
population of Kano is growing at a rate greatly higher than the growth of
housing supply and infrastructure development.
The informal sector of Housing development remains the dominant
supplier of housing to the majority of low-income earners (providing over
98% of the annual production) despite various attempts by governments
to supply Housing through direct construction and allocation of plots for
Low-income earners spend 40-60% of their total earnings on Housing
as against United Nations standard of 20-30%.
Housing demand is higher than the supply thereby forcing the low
income earners improvise illegal developments for housing
accommodation. Illegal developments are growing faster than officially
approved developments at the rate of 1:6.
Housing price to income ratio.
Rent to income ratio.
Floor area per person.
Land price to income ratio.
Mortgage to credit ratio.
Housing production.
Housing investment.


Table 2.4. Housing demand indicators.

2.3.2. Attitude to Locality.

The neighborhoods accommodating the low-income earners are largely
made up of people with common culture and religion. The value of the
land and architecture is largely influenced by culture and religion.
Poverty has great influence on the life-style of neighbourhoods.
2.3.4 Kano Population and Housing.
Kano city has an average household size of 6.7 persons, the number of
persons per room range from 1.6 to 3.0, while the household formation
rate is 5.2. The average housing price to income ratio ranged from 6.81 to
10.1 and the annual rent consumes 33.3% of the income of the lowincome earners. Houses living less space for circulation and none at all
for recreation, commerce and public conveniences mainly occupy the
sites studied.
Total Land use.
Total population.
Residential population density.
Annual population growth rate.
Women headed household.
Average household size.
Total number of house holds.
House hold formation rate.


Table 2.5. Land use for the city of Kano.

2.3.5. Relationship to Household/Dwelling.

Most of the household occupants are members of the family of the
household head and depend on the household head for their feeding, and
all household needs.
2.3.6. Community Participation.
It was established that the low-income earners are active in community
activities when it comes to security and sanitation services. House
construction and finance is largely through self-help rather than mortgage
or savings.
2.4.1. Public Sector Housing Projects.
The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) established by Decree 40 of 1973,
to implement Government housing projects, 1991 National Housing
Policy, are the tools that facilitate the Federal Governments involvement
in low-income housing development (See table below). The 2004 draft
National Housing policy defined the low income group as all employees
or self employed persons whose annual income as at year 2003 is =N=
100,000.00 or below. The different categories of public sector housing
projects are as follows:

i) Direct Housing Construction.

During the early colonial period, housing activities and policies of
Governments focused essentially on the provision of staff quarters for the
expatriate staff in specialized occupation like Railways, Police, Armed
Forces, etc. One official answer to the problem of low-income housing
inadequacies is the implementation of low-cost housing schemes
(designed by foreign experts), along Zaria Road in Kano, under the
Metropolitan Kano Planning and Development Board. In 1980 a Housing
Programme was embarked upon based on the concept of affordability,
building one-bedroom core houses and targeting the low-income earners.
The houses built by the Government are of prototype designs made by
professionals without due regard to the environment, culture, tradition,
economy and religion of the low-income earners in Kano.

Housing estate.
Zoo Road.
Sabon gari.
Gold coast.
Danladi Nasidi.
NNDC Quarters.
Shagari Quarters.

Ownership status.
Owner occupier.



Table 2.6. Low-income houses supplied by the Federal and State

Governments in Kano.

a) Shagari Federal Low Cost Housing Project.

The Federal Government embarked an elaborate housing programme in
1980 based on the concept of affordability. The target group was the lowincome earners whose annual income did not exceed five thousand Naira
(=N=5,000) for the one-bedroom core houses and also the medium
income earners with annual income not exceeding eight thousand Naira
(=N=8,000) for the three-bedroom house. A total of forty thousand
(40,000) units were to be constructed annually nationwide with two
thousand units located in each state and the Federal Capital Territory.
In Kano, 600 houses were constructed. Because of its political difference
with the Federal Government the then State Government, allocated a site
at Sheka, 5 kilometer away from the city and other essential services for
the project. The adoption of a single proto type design of houses for the
entire country irrespective of varied cultural and climatic differences
accounted for the rejection of the project by the low-income people in
Kano. Those houses that were occupied ended up being vacated by many
households or substantially alter the original design by additions to the
units as well as improvised facilities in the housing area.

b) Kabuga Low Cost Housing Scheme.

The Kano State Government in 1986, through the Kano State Housing
Corporation, embarked on the construction of 356 units of two bedroom
houses at Kabuga, targeting the low-income earners. The corporation at
Kabuga along BUK new site Road acquired Land. The houses were
designed based on African tradition of compound, but constructed with
cement and zinc roof with out finishing and services. The housing units
were then sold at =N=19,000.00 to low-income earners. As at the time of
this study the houses have changed ownership from low-income earners
to medium and high-income earners who have purchased the houses.
In an attempt to correct the failures in implementation and inadequacies
of past policies, objectives and programmes, the Federal Government
launched a National Housing Programme in 1985, to ensure that all
Nigerians own or have access to decent, safe and sanitary housing
accommodation at affordable cost by 2000AD. In 1999 the Federal
Government contemplated a new National Housing programme under
which it would build 20,000 housing units throughout the Federation over
a four-year period. This programme is yet to commence.

ii) Provision of Planned Residential Land.

The Federal State and Local Governments have been involved in the
allocation of serviced land for low income housing development,
beneficiaries of the Government allocated plots are required to have their
proposed houses designed by qualified Architects, The building plans
shall be approved by the Kano State Environmental Planning and
Protection Agency (KASEPPA) and the building materials to be used are
foreign materials, specified by the Kano State Building Regulations, it
takes about =N= 50,000.00 before a beneficiary can develop his/her plot.
Because of these bureaucracies plots allocated to the low-income earners
are often sold and the Low-income earners are forced to move further to
other illegal developments.
In all the public built houses and plots allocated to the low-income
earners studied, the occupants or owners of such properties are not the
original beneficiaries of the Government allocation. Kano State
Government has Kano State Housing Corporation, Kano State Investment
and Properties Limited and Ministry of Land and Physical Planning
established to implement State Government housing projects. Plots of
land of low, medium and high densities are allocated by the Ministry of
land and physical planning to individuals for development under the
control of KASEPPA.

Category of plot.
Low density.
Medium density.

No. of plots.



Table 2.7. Serviced plots under the National sites and services scheme of
the Federal Government in Kano.
iii) Public Housing Finance.
In order to assist low-income earners to acquire and maintain adequate
housing, the Federal Government introduces the National Housing Fund
scheme in 1992, in which all public servants are made to compulsorily
save 2.5% of their monthly salary for housing. In the same year the Urban
Development Bank was introduced by the Federal Government to provide
financial and technical assistance for large-scale development of housing
and infrastructure and public utilities within the countries major urban
Kano State Government establishes the Dala Building society to provide
the finances for purchasing, building and maintenance of houses. The
Government also establishes staff housing loan board to assist public
servants own houses.
2.4.2. Problems of the Public Housing Projects.
The government housing projects are attempted to address the low
income housing inadequacies, but in the planning, design, construction

and delivery of such projects, the socio-economic factors of the low

income earners is taken into consideration. This is why the low-income
earners feel uncomfortable with such projects and if allocated they prefer
to sell the projects and move further to illegal and inadequate housing.
The 2004 National Housing Policy identifies the reasons for past failures
of low income housing projects as low income earning power, noncommercial viability, high interest rates, high rate of inflation, nonavailability of mortgage, high rate of population growth, inadequate
infrastructural facilities and limited access to serviced land.
2.4.3. Indigenous Low Income Housing Process.
The indigenous house plan follows the traditional African pattern having
rooms arranged within or surrounding a courtyard. The wall is an
important feature of the indigenous house. The wall demarcates an area
within which members of the family may withdraw from society and
remain in privacy. The compound contains the main economic unit, the
extended family, which works the same job, shares the same food. The
marital units, which make up the extended family occupy separate areas
within the compound that are called sassa, Sassas are separated from
each other by walls generally lower than the compound walls. Security
and privacy for the marital unit within the extended family group is not of
great importance.

The structure of the family is in a process of constant change leading to

growth, subdivision or decline. The cyclic and organic nature of the
family structure affects house planning in several ways. When an
extended family changes structure, the original compound, if it is big
enough, may be subdivided and apportioned between the new compounds
heads based on Islamic law of inheritance. Important to an understanding
of indigenous housing is the influence of Islam, in particular the
institution of marriage. All cities are in continuous process of change, in
Kano it is possible to see the effects of accelerated development caused
partly by the forces of urbanization. Traditional house form is evolving in
response to growing pressures; the agents of change being the group of
middle class and lower class with formal education.
About 61% of the low income earning households studied is renting the
houses they live in and 75% acquire the land or houses they live through
inheritance. The Islamic law of inheritance allows male to own double the
benefits of female while widows are allowed one eighth of the property.
23% of the low-income earners are not born in Kano, but migrate to the
city in search of employment and better means of livelihood. Most of the
neighborhoods accommodating the low-income earners are not officially
planned, nor are they controlled, thereby producing organically developed

settlements with no regard to the health, aesthetics, convenience and

economy of the land use.
The Architecture and Town Planning are not formal but guided by
immediate need of the low-income earners. Building materials used in the
development of houses for the low income earners are mostly sand and
cement materials with corrugated iron roofing sheets, but due to very low
level of technology, the components and methodology are very poor.
Majority of the residents are renting the houses and despite the
establishment and activities of a Rent Tribunal to protect the rights of
tenants in rented houses, the case of forceful ejection of tenants, is very
rampant. Poor and inadequate housing conditions, characterized by
overcrowding, lack of privacy and lack of sanitation and basic services
exacerbate womens vulnerability to domestic violence. As shown, low
income peoples are often relegated to intolerable living conditions, where
women are experiencing increasing levels of domestic violence.
Commercial activities are largely on the roadsides thereby congesting
traffic in the poorly provided road networks within the neighborhoods.
Water sanitation, sewerage and electricity supply are not planned or
properly maintained. There total lack of consideration for recreational
uses in the neighborhoods.

Consumption of water.
Consumption of water.
Water production by the Government.
Median price of water.
Infrastructure expenditure/capital.

400million liters/day
150million liters/day
=N= 1.25/liter
=N= 1,236.61

Table 2.8. Water supply and consumption indicators.

As shown in Figure 3.4, the indigenous low-income housing development
is characteristically high-density environment. The small spaces within
the compound housing units and outside in the irregular enclosures
between the houses are used for domestic and childrens play or adult
male relaxation, respectively. The spaces are often adorned with neem
trees, other economic trees and shades Plates 3.5 3.9.
The tenure structure of the low income housing in Kano is given in table
3.9 below.
Place of Birth
Born in Kano
Born out side


House owner


Table 2.9. Tenure structure.







2.4.4. Lessons from the Indigenous Low Income Housing Process.

i) The Negative Lessons.
The study shows that low-income households in new areas of Kano
generally do not enjoy adequate housing as defined by following reasons:
that even the most disadvantaged groups can, through appropriate
institution, gain access to the much needed financial resources.
that with clearly defined goal (s), low income earners can significantly
contributes human and material resources in the true spirit of self help.
that problems of servicing of loans are mainly due to flaws in repayment
collection procedures rather than inability to repay per se.
that there is need to have more regular monitoring and evaluation of the
activities of housing co-operatives. Appropriate remedial action should be
taken firmly and timely against offenders if the confidence of members is
to be restored.
that housing co-operatives when correctly utilized, can be a viable
vehicle of mobilizing various resources of and for the urban poor
that depending on the priorities of the individual members, the improved
housing has been utilized differently:
- Some members are living in part of the house while renting out the rest
of the rooms.

- Some have sold their houses to richer landlords and put the money to
perceived high priority projects. They are likely to have moved to lower
or no rent housing areas, preferably in unplanned housing environment.
* That even the most disadvantaged groups can through an appropriate
institution, gain access to the much-needed financial resources. With
clearly designed goals, the low income can significantly contribute
human and material resources in the true spirit of self-help as seen in
Gikomba in Kenya.
* That comprehensive and well-coordinated support infrastructure is
central to the future of housing cooperatives in Kano.
That housing cooperatives can prosper under different social-economicpolitical systems as long as proper support systems in place.
* That small cooperative is likely to succeed better than larger sized ones.
* That mixed income-housing cooperatives is not encouraged in the
Homelessness, condition of people who lack regular legal access to
adequate housing. Homelessness has been recognized as a significant
social problem in Kano, when a rapid increase in the number of homeless
people was caused by a weak economy and cuts in federal aid for housing
and income assistance. Other periods of increased homelessness also have

occurred many times in history, including during the colonial era. Most
other industrialized societies also have experienced increases in homeless
populations in recent decades.
The Low-income earners
Precise numbers are impossible to collect because researchers define lowincome earners in different ways and because the low-income earners are
transitory. The number of people predicted to become low-income earners
in any given year is estimated to be three to five times the number of
people who are homeless at any given moment. The low-income earners
are largely made up of adult men, but the proportion of women, children,
and youth has steadily increased. This group now comprises more than
75% of the total population. Most low-income earners are also extremely
poor and estranged from their families and other social networks. About
one-third of the adult low-income earners are chronically mentally ill.
In addition to the low-income earners population, even larger numbers
are considered marginally housed; they are in danger of becoming
homeless because of poverty or inadequate housing. About half the city's
poor households spend 70 percent or more of their monthly income on
housing, which puts them at risk of becoming homeless if faced with an
economic problem. Due to the number of people living in poverty (75%),
the marginally housed create potential for a vast increase in the size of the

homeless population. Those who are housed only because they have been
able to stay with family or friends are known as the hidden homeless.
Many reasons have been advanced to explain the dramatic increase in the
number of low-income people. The total poverty rate tended to increase,
and this was especially true in the inner city areas where most lowincome people live. At the same time, the supply of low-income housing
declined precipitously in Kano. Waiting lists for public housing are often
many years long and welfare payments are not in place to keep pace with
inflation. Among other factors implicated in the trend are changes in the
treatment of the chronically mentally ill, drug use, the inability of some
families to support dependent adult members, and an increasing rate of
violence against women.

Security of Tenure: The families and communities lack security of

tenure for a number of reasons; first, they can be forcibly displaced
by the State to make way for development projects; second,
religion, custom and tradition can be used by private individuals to
dispossess a widow or divorced woman of her home and lands; and
third, sufficient measures are rarely taken against racist practices
by landlords and other actors.

Affordability: Housing in Kano city, where land is scarce, is

increasingly expensive, which makes owning or even renting
prohibitive, unless social housing is available, the low income
households have no choice but to either live in overpriced rental
housing (from which they may be evicted for non-payment of rent)
many live in slums, (informal settlements) or on the streets.

Habitability: the study revealed that low-income households live

in overcrowded conditions. Overcrowded housing tends to
accelerate the deterioration of dwellings and increases the risk of
the transmission of diseases and the promulgation of domestic
violence and other abuses and violations. Also many low income
households live in dwellings that do not protect them from the
natural elements, that is, there is a close link between poor housing
conditions and poor communities in the new low-income housing
areas of Kano.

Availability of Services: Many indigenous households lack basic

services such as drinking water and electricity.

Accessibility: Adequate housing is not always accessible to low

income households, as a result of the discriminatory attitudes,
which create barriers in the rental housing market. Indigenous
women encounter further barriers in terms of housing access (as a
result of gender-based discrimination in laws, customs and

traditions), which prevent many women from owning, renting

and/or inheriting land, property and housing, particularly upon
marriage dissolution or upon the death of a womans spouse.

Location: Many low-income households live in remote locations

where essential services such as health clinics/hospitals and
schools are not available.

Cultural adequacy: Many low-income households are currently

living in housing that does not meet their cultural needs. For
example, the State and Federal low cost housing areas cannot
accommodate their kinship ties; that is the households have to give
up traditional and culturally specific housing when they migrate to

The new migrant low-income households experience extreme poverty,

rampant discrimination and a loss of spiritual, community and family ties
as well as a loss of indigenous culture and values.
ii) The Positive Lessons.
In the older indigenous housing areas of Kano, however, there are strong
positive lessons to learn from the low-income housing. These are very
instructive for the emerging private sector housing developers under the
2004 National Housing Policy. The benefits are as follows:

Land Acquisition.

Low-income households rely on inheritance and direct purchase from

other landowners through community leaders. The Islamic Law of
inheritance allows male to have twice the share of female, while widows
are allowed 1/8 of the properties of the deceased household. This creates a
land allocation process that is sensitive to family or neighborhood

Land Subdivision.

To the low-income households in Kano, the religion of Islam means law

and community, and governs all facets of life and relationships although
private prayers are acceptable, community prayers at the local or
neighborhood mosque is favored. The day is structured for prayers and
local community gatherings; the week is ordered around the Friday
prayers at the Friday mosque, when the larger community is gathered
together. That is the mosque is an integral design element of housing
This religious structuring of time, emphasizing as it does in community
solidarity, is clearly reflected in the spatial organization of the city. There
is a hierarchy of spaces for worship and community gatherings,
womenfolk and men folk unable to attend a mosque carry out their

prayers in the privacy of their homes. Men sit, meet and talk to neighbors
and passersby outside the entrances of their houses; sometimes a group of
such entrances defines a communal gathering place. At the head of the
spatial sequence in the structure is the dandali, a vast area in front of
the community leader is palace and adjacent to the Friday mosque, which
together with the prayer ground act as the gathering place during
important festivals. The cul de sac is mostly used in the road design for
the placement of low-income houses in order to enforce household and
community levels of privacy, which is one of the principles of Islamic

Building Materials.

The elements of low income housing materials in Kano have been

developed from the natural products in the local environment, until quite
recently, supplemented in a limited way only with imported materials.
But under the growing influence of industrialized nations, the number and
variety of materials and techniques for constructional purposes has
increased dramatically. Laterite, used with various additives for walls,
roofs and finishes, are still the most important material affordable by the
low-income households.

Development Control.

The principle of land administration as enshrined in the holy Quran and

Hadith of the Holy Prophet of Islam (section 3.1.3) are the guiding
principles of development control and is enforced by the Ward Heads and
Sharia Courts. The principles are familiar to all and respected by all lowincome households. The community norms and values as well as the
practices in land acquisition, building design, setting out on site, etc, have
become well blended. The positive result is a balance between formalities
and informalities in the creation of the low-income housing environment.
The issues in this section form the basis for the recommendation in
chapter 4. While the negative lessons are to be contained and targeted for
avoidance, the positive lessons are used as resources to evolving a
sensitive modern system for adequate low income housing and indeed
residential area planning in Kano and similar towns in the northern parts
of Nigeria.






3.1.1. Current Low Income Housing in Kano.
Low-income communities in the study have a far inferior standard of
housing compared to the rest of the population. Poverty is one of the
factors that most defines the lives of low-income peoples in almost every
region of the world. The higher incidences of inadequate housing and
homelessness among low-income peoples are clear manifestations of their
relative poverty.
The study revealed that low-income poverty, disadvantage and
discrimination with respect to the right to adequate housing are similar to
the dispossession of low-income peoples from their lands. This impact on
low-income households in several ways. First, it leaves them with no
means to sustain and gain a livelihood. As a result they often cannot
provide housing for themselves. As a result of both a loss of livelihood
and absence of adequate housing, low-income women and men are
compelled to migrate, often to cities and towns in search of both.
The study shows that low-income peoples generally do not enjoy
adequate housing for the following reasons:

Affordability: Adequate housing in Kano is becoming increasingly

expensive, which makes house owning or even renting prohibitive,
especially for low-income peoples. Unless social housing is available,
low-income peoples have no choice but to either live in overpriced rental
housing from which they may be evicted for non-payment of rent or
to live in slums, informal settlements or on the streets.
Habitability: The study revealed that low-income households often live
in overcrowded conditions. Overcrowded housing tends to accelerate the
deterioration of dwellings and increases the risk of the transmission of
diseases and the promulgation of domestic violence and other abuses and
violations. The study also revealed that low income peoples often live in
dwellings that do not protect them from the natural elements, and that
there is a close link between poor housing conditions and ill health.
Availability of Services: Many low-income households lack basic
services such as portable water and electricity. This is the main problem
with indigenous housing the question of housing quality.
Accessibility: Adequate housing is not always accessible to low-income
peoples, especially in urban areas, as a result of the discriminatory
attitudes of housing providers, which create barriers in the rental housing
market. Low income women encounter further barriers in terms of
housing access as a result of gender-based discrimination in laws,

customs and traditions, property and housing, particularly upon marriage

Location: Many low-income peoples live in remote locations where
essential services such as health clinics/hospitals and schools are not
Cultural In-adequacy: Low-income peoples in public sector and rental
housing are living in housing that does not meet their cultural needs.
Their housing conditions are often very poor: with home-ownership
prohibitively expensive. Many, therefore, live in informal settlements and
slums, while others are left homeless.
In addition to the above, low income women, are faced with a number of
gender-specific obstacles to the full enjoyment of their right to adequate
housing. Violence, particularly domestic violence, can be identified as
one of the most serious and pressing obstacles. Poor and inadequate
housing conditions, characterized by overcrowding, lack of privacy and
lack of sanitation and basic services exacerbate womens vulnerability to
domestic violence. As shown, low-income peoples are often relegated to
intolerable living conditions, where women are experiencing increasing
levels of domestic violence. Another phenomenon is the fact that lowincome women are unable to acquire housing independently from men.
Society alienates women who live alone, be they divorcees, widows,
single women, or married women who are separated from their husband.

Testimonies indicate that low-income women are often compelled to

remain in abusive relationships and endure domestic violence, due to lack
of housing alternatives and financial and moral support.
The study revealed that extreme poverty, the deterioration and
dispossession of lands, forced evictions, employment prospects, and the
centralization of services in cities, combined with the general lure of city
life, is resulting in many low income people migrating to cities and
towns. In the cities, low-income people experience extreme poverty,
rampant discrimination and a loss of spiritual, community and family ties
as well as a loss of indigenous culture and values.
3.1.2. Housing Programmes.
The study describes the major housing projects in Kano which were
designed specifically for low income peoples, as well as others designed
for the general population (but ostensibly can be accessed by low income
The case studies revealed that the most successful programmes and
projects are often those that have involved low-income peoples in
meaningful and diverse ways. The corollary to these successful projects is
that housing programmes and projects are less successful if they are not
designed or implemented with the participation of the low-income
households. This is the situation for the government direct housing
projects in Kano. That is, housing policies and programmes may also lack

success if insufficient resources are allocated to them and are not

community-based in design and implementation. This requires a clear
focus on the lessons from the stable low income housing areas of Kano as
represented by the older residential sectors that were also studied.
The following general recommendations are given:
3.2.1. Identity and Self-determination.
The right to self-determination for low-income peoples is an important
element in ensuring the preservation of indigenous culture and identity of
Kano. It is also an important element in the realization of human rights,
including the right to housing. The enjoyment of the right to selfdetermination could assist in the realization of the right to adequate
housing by low income peoples as it would allow for indigenous selfgovernance and the participation of low income households in decisionmaking processes and policy development that directly affect them.
Specific group rights for low-income households (including selfgovernance rights) would assist in restraining the exclusion or
discrimination against members of low-income communities, such as
women and youth. The participation of low income women and the youth
in all aspects of self-governance, including in the design and
implementation of laws, policies and programmes that affect their rights

to land, property and housing is recommended as the foundation to

adequate housing for this group in Kano.
3.2.2. Participation in Decision-making Processes.
Low income women and men will continue to be marginalized if they are
excluded from decision making processes as has characterized the public
sector housing. Governments must ensure that low-income peoples are
included as partners in all decision-making processes, particularly on
those issues of importance to them, such as housing. That is low-income
men and women must participate freely and equally in the development
of any legislation, policies, or programmes that may have an impact on
their housing conditions. Low income households in a project area must
also participate equally in discussions, negotiations and decisions
regarding housing development projects based on partnerships or even in
large-scale private housing estate development. The principle of free,
prior and informed consent should be applied at all stages of the project
cycle. This means that their voices must be heard and their demands and
grievances must be met when major decisions are taken regarding
development priorities and the allocation of resources.
3.2.3. Discrimination and Inequality.
In accordance with international human rights law, Kano State should
urgently address the discrimination, inequality and historical injustices
experienced by low-income peoples. This requires that rights and laws be

interpreted, and policies and programmes designed in ways that take low
income men and womens socially constructed disadvantage into account,
and that secure equality of access and outcome for low-income women
and men.
Low-income communities must ensure that low-income women are not
subject to discrimination and inequality within their own communities,
including through traditional practices. As low-income households
achieve greater levels of participation in decision-making processes, the
principles of equality and non-discrimination must guide this process, in
particular with regard to low-income housing.
3.3.1. Addressing Poverty.
A key aspect of improving the housing conditions of low-income
households in Kano is to address their poverty condition. This is in
keeping with the principle that the right to adequate housing is a
constituent element of the right to an adequate standard of living.
Governments must create the circumstances for low-income peoples to
become economically self-reliant. In Kano this can be done through a
number of effective measures. An important, ensuring that low-income
peoples retain access to their lands and other productive resources such as
credit and loans, and education and training, the governments must also







opportunities in urban areas taking into account low income peoples

needs, rights and modes of production.
Other socio-economic disadvantages experienced by low-income
households such as poor health, and low levels of education must also be
addressed through the provision of adequate services (both in terms of
culture and quality) by governments to all indigenous communities.
3.3.2. Housing Policy and Programmes.
Within the overall framework of enabling shelter policies and strategies,
the Kano State Government as the stake holder providing the right policy
environment, and housing providers must take steps, to the maximum of
their available resources, to achieve the full and progressive realization of
the right to adequate housing. Innovative housing programmes and
projects that ensure the availability and accessibility of affordable
housing for the poorest segments of society, including indigenous people,
should be developed and implemented. For example, in the Kano urban
context, the State Government could explore how rental accommodation
might be further developed and/or improved to meet the needs of
indigenous urban dwellers.
Governments may be required to formulate temporary special measures
for low-income households and low-income women specifically, to be
able to accelerate their equal enjoyment of housing rights.

Kano State Government should also invest in the development of

indigenous expertise in the full range of technical capabilities and lowcost techniques and materials for effective housing program design,
delivery and management in the low-income areas of Kano.
3.3.3. Ensuring Housing Adequacy.
In order for low-income peoples to enjoy the right to adequate housing,
the Kano State Government should undertake actions in the following
areas of housing adequacy:
a) Security of Tenure: Legal security of tenure, for the low income must
include effective protection from forced evictions and might include the
legalization and regularization of informal settlements. This is commonly
achieved through the enactment and enforcement of legislation. Legal
recourse should also be available and accessible to those low income
peoples whose security of tenure is threatened, taking into account
customary law which are familiar with and employ, even if in part in the
indigenous housing process.
b) Affordability and Habitability:
i) The government must take measures to provide housing assistance
targeted specifically at low income peoples who cannot afford market
housing prices because of their continued disadvantaged position in
society. Since the National Housing Policy is not for government to
engage in direct housing construction, the Kano State Government can

support the provision of low income housing by encouraging self-built

and community built housing in the study area and similar areas. That is
existing self-help housing groups and new ones can be registered and
supported by government.
ii) Government could also provide housing subsidies and shelter
allowances to low income households living in poverty. These allowances
would be attached to the individual (rather than a specific housing unit)
and could be used to pay for adequate units within the private rental
iii) Governments could also offer private sector housing providers
incentives to build and provide affordable and culturally adequate
housing units.
iv) Alternative housing delivery and management arrangements, such as
cooperatives, particularly by low-income peoples themselves, should also
be supported by governments. These include providing land for private
developers that develop innovative housing techniques and participatory
schemes for specific low-income communities.
v) To improve habitability of existing units, low-income peoples should
have equal access to existing grants or loan schemes devised to assist in
upgrading or renovating housing.
c) Accessibility: The following actions could be undertaken to ensure
accessibility to housing by low income peoples:

i) Government and indigenous leaders should address the discrimination

and inequality experienced by low-income households, in the housing
sector. This will require government to repeal laws and policies that
discriminate (on their face or in their effects) and to enact and enforce
legislation that prohibits discrimination.
ii) Governments could provide targeted assistance to low-income
households while upgrading living conditions in informal settlements as
well as in other substandard urban housing. This requires participatory
design of renewal programmes in the low-income housing areas of Kano.
iii) Government should also take initiatives to raise awareness about what
constitutes discrimination against low-income households in the housing
sector. These initiatives should be targeted at housing providers, as well
as the general public. Government, together with low income
communities, should ensure that custom and tradition are interpreted and
evolve in a manner that ensures low income womens equal rights to own,
rent, lease and access land and housing regardless of her marital and other
d) Location: Government must also ensure that health, educational and
other services respect and promote indigenous languages, religion and
cultures and are located within the low-income communities.
e) Availability of Services: One of the obstacles to adequate housing is
access to infrastructure and essential services such as water and

electricity. Sustainable technologies and networks must be developed to

ensure that low-income communities have sustained access to potable
water and electricity.
f) Cultural Adequacy: To ensure that housing is culturally adequate for
low-income peoples, they shall be included in the design, development
and implementation of housing projects through consultations and
advocate representations at forums that bring together all stakeholders.
3.3.4. Forced Evictions.
Government, the private sector and financial institutions should do
everything possible to avoid the eviction of low-income households from
their homes and land including the following:
a) Government, in conjunction with international or local financial
institutions and other lending agents, should undertake human rights
impact assessments with low income communities prior to initiating
development projects in low income areas ensuring the principle of free,
prior and informed consent. If the assessment reveals that violations of
the rights of low-income peoples may result, such projects must be renegotiated.
b) International and national financial institutions and other community
based organizations play a vital role in facilitating development projects
by providing various forms of financial and technical support. It is
imperative that the internal policies regarding development projects and

low income households of these institutions be revised and applied in a

manner that ensures conformity with contemporary international human
rights norms of general application and any relevant national laws,
treaties, agreements or pending agreements regarding the rights of low
income households. When evictions and relocations are unavoidable, they
must be undertaken in a manner that conforms to international human
rights standards.
Through the course of this study it became clear that low-income women
are often marginalized and thus prohibited from engaging in dialogue and
discussions within their own communities as well as with government
representatives and other stakeholders. It is recommended that further
research is necessary:
a) Detailed






information regarding the housing conditions and socioeconomic dynamics of low-income peoples is necessary.
This information should be gathered in close association
with low-income community organizations. All information
should be gender disaggregated and rights based and, where
possible, comparisons with high-income populations should
be made. Differences between urban and rural low-income
dwellers should also be provided.

b) It is expedient to investigate the leadership structures and

communication systems in the low income housing areas of
indigenous cities like Kano. This will form a good basis for
developing the strategies for incorporating the positive
attributes of the low income housing, into new programmes
of housing improvement and development of housing estates
by private partnerships and private commercial housing

1. Abiodun, J. O. (1995) Urban and Regional Planning problems in
Nigeria, Ife, University of Ife Press Limited. P 189.
2. Agevi, E and Yayha, S (1987), Case study on Low Income Shelter and
Infrastructure Construction in Kenya (unpublished consultancy report for
UNCHS (Habitat Nairobi), Kenya.
3. Belsky, E.S. and Restinas, N. P. ., Low income homeownership:
Examining the unexamined goal, Brookings Institutions Press and
Howard Unive. (2002)
4. Bruce, D. Housing needs of low income people living in the rural
areas. District housing needs series. Canada mortgage Housing
Corporation. (2003)
5. Car, J.H. and Hornburg, Sp. P. (1995) Housing policy debate,
Washington D. C. Fannie Mac p. 598.
6. Cuomo, M. M. Forest Hills diary: The crisis of low income housing,
Random House, (1974)
7. Dix, Gerald. (1983). Urban projects manual. Liverpool University
8. Downs, Anthony, Growth management and affordable housing: Do
they conflict? (2004)
9. Falade, J. B. (1999) the changing nature of Cities and the challenges of
Planning Practice.. State of World Cities Report 2004/2005- Attacking
Poverty, September 2000
10. Ezenagu, V.C. (2000), Fundamentals of Housing, Fountain publishers,
Awka, Nigeria.
11. Habitat Debate - Vol. 7 - No. 1 - 2001 - Five Years after Habitat II
(HABITAT, 2001, 32 p.
12. Hougaard, S. 1989, Construction and Housing Co-operatives in
Maputo, Mozambique SINA Workshop, Nairobi, Kenya
13. Informal Settlement Upgrading: The Demand for Capacity Building
in Six Pilot Cities - Amman, Ankara, Caracas, Concepcin, Ibadan and
Nkayi (HABITAT, 1999, 334 p.)

14. Kim, Woo-Jim, Economic growth, low income and housing in South
Korea, Macmillan Publishers Limited, (1997).
15. Lewi, A.C, 1989 Housing Cooperatives in Developing Countries,
John Wiley and Sons
16. Mc. Auslan, P 1983, Self-Help Cooperative Housing in Urban and
Rural Tanzania, M.A. theses presented at PGCHSK.U. Leuven,
17. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2005, 1993-2003 Microsoft
18. Moughtin, J. C. (1985), Hausa Architecture, Ethnographica, London.
19. Obialo, D. C. (2005), Housing Nigerians, Trends in policy, legislation,
funding and practice, 1914 2000, Global press limited, Owerri, Nigeria.
20. Omole, F. K (2001), Basic issues in housing development, Femobless
publications, Ondo. Nigeria.
21. Onibokun, A. G. (1985) Housing in Nigeria, Ibadan, Nigerian
Institute for Social and Economic Research.
22. Ozo, A. O. (1990) The Private Rented Housing Sector and Public
Policies in Developing Countries, Third World Planning Review, Vol. 12,
No. 3, Liverpool, Liverpool University press. P. 261.
23. Shiels, C. R. et all, Low income countries of the commonwealth of
independent countries: progresses and challenges in transition. (2004).
24. UNCHS (Habitat), 1989, Co-operative Housing: Experience of
Mutual Self-Help, UNCHS, Nairobi, Kenya
25. UNHCS, Assessment of Experience with the Project Approach to
Shelter Delivery for the Poor (HABITAT, 1991, 52 p.)
26. United Nations 2003, Global Repot on Human Settlements, New York
27. UN Habitat, 2001 Habitat Debate, Cities without slums, United
Nations Centre for Human Settlement, Habitat, Vol. 6, N0. 4.

28. UN Habitat, 2001, Habitat Debate, Cities without slums, United

Nations Centre for Human Settlement, Habitat, Vol. 7, N0. 3, 2001
29. UN Habitat, 2001, "Urban Governance and Urban Poverty: Lessons
from a Study of Ten Cites in the South", University of Birmingham, U.K.,
June 2001
30. UN-HABITAT/OHCHR, Indigenous peoples right to adequate housing:
A global overview UN-HABITAT Information Services Section, Nairobi, KENYA.

31. UNCHS (Habitat). 1999. State of the Worlds Cities. Nairobi.

32. UNDP 1999 Human Development Report 1999, 1987 purchasingpower-parity; 1999.
33. UNDP 2000 Poverty Report,
34. UNDPs 1999 Human Development Report.
35. World Bank's 1999/2000 World Development Report and UNEPs
GEO 2000.
36. World Development Report 2000/2001- Attacking Poverty, September

Appendix I

St Clements


Reg. No. E 14905

Registered Office: Churchill Building, Grand Turk, TURKS & CAICOS island, British West Indies.
Phone 1809 946 2828 Fax: 1809 946 2825

Questionnaire 1
For the study of the Low income housing in Kano

PhD in Town Planning.

Name of household head.
Annual income.
Place of birth.
Marital status.
Housing type
Tenancy rate per annum
Housing condition
Portable water
Adequate sanitation
Average persons per room.
Rooms covered with floor.
Floor area.
Roof type.
Primary health care.
Ownership type
Govt allocation
House hold head
Household size.
Household composition.

Appendix II

St Clements


Reg. No. E 14905

Registered Office: Churchill Building, Grand Turk, TURKS & CAICOS island, British West Indies.
Phone 1809 946 2828 Fax: 1809 946 2825

Questionnaire 2
For the study of the:
Low income housing in Kano

PhD in Town Planning.

Local Govt revenue
State Govt revenue
Projected population
Residential Building plan
Average housing price
Average land price
Average house rent
Mortgage rate
Government investment in
low income housing
Formal land allocation for
low income housing



Appendix III

St Clements


Reg. No. E 14905

Registered Office: Churchill Building, Grand Turk, TURKS & CAICOS island, British West Indies.
Phone 1809 946 2828 Fax: 1809 946 2825

Analysis card
For the study of the:
Low income housing in Kano

PhD in Town Planning.









Name of household
Interview No.





















1. Type of house.

6. Monthly income.


4. Tenure of interviewed household.























2. Building material
Mud brick/sand cement.
Wood frame.
Burnt brick.
Concrete frame.



3 Number of household at address.

Rented rooms.

17 18 19 20
5. Age of
Less than 20.
20 24
25 44
45 54
55 64
65 +

Renting (whole house).
Renting (apartment).
Renting (room).
Non paying guest.

7. Place of birth.


Kano city
Kano metropolis.
Other Nigerian.