Sunday, September 19, 2021

Reps move to clamp down on dubious estate developers

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Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has set up an ad-hoc Committee to investigate complaints of alleged misconduct of real estate developers in the country.

The establishment of the committee, chaired by Rep. Blessing Onuh (APC-Benue), was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Boma Goodhead (PDP-Rivers), at plenary on Wednesday.

Moving the motion earlier, Goodhead said that the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, is one of Nigeria’s top property hotspot, as well as the political and governmental heart of the country.

According to the lawmaker, the FCT is one of the two primary international business gateways into Nigeria, and investment has allowed it to develop a burgeoning real estate industry to meet the growing need for housing.

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She noted that real estate development meant further economic growth as evidenced by the growing number of real estate developers in the FCT, proposing off-takers housing solutions to individuals.

“Complaints of misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, non-delivery, incessant breach of contracts with zero consequences, impunity, unethical/illegal clauses that offer no protection for the client’s investment, money laundering, poor quality houses, among others, has continued to dominate the sector.

“We have observed also, the harsh inhumane implication of these malpractices on individuals, who having paid in full for homes continue to pay rent in their respective homes while waiting for their houses to be completed with no clear delivery date as the contracts are constantly being breached.

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“We have observed that a lack of regulation or ineffective regulations, impunity, and lack of accountability by real estate developers has resulted in financial losses and caused and continues to cause untold hardships on investors.

“We are worried that despite the operation of supervisory agencies such as FCT Urban and Regional Department, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), EFCC, the malpractices in the real estate sector persists,’’ she said.

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The house mandated the committee to fully investigate the estate developers suspected of violating applicable laws and liaise with enforcement agencies for their prosecution.

The legislators said that to put an end to these sharp practices in the sector, the committee should create a forum for members of the public to lodge complaints against such fraudulent developers.

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The green chambers said that the committee should work with relevant stakeholders, Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), towards issuing guidelines, formulating appropriate legislation for the trillion-naira sector with the view to plugging financial crimes.

According to the parliament, this will enhance monitoring, regulation, and ensure protection of investors and subscribers from illegal transactions and eliminate unethical real estate practices in the FCT.

The committee is to liaise with relevant MDAs to revisit the compilation database on property transactions and newly approved developments.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the committee should ensure real estate developers were duly licensed before engaging in the practice in the country.

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