The House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that a mass housing system where hardworking Nigerians will lose their investments to dubious and fraudulent real estate developers isn’t one that the 9th House under his leadership will condone, and such should be eliminated forthwith.
The Speaker, who spoke at the commencement of an investigative hearing into the operations of real estate developers in the federal capital territory, also commended the efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), at sanitizing the housing sector.
Represented by the House majority leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Gbajabiamila who declared the investigation open lamented the level of housing deficit in Nigeria, saying that the House remains committed to its legislative agenda of pursuing housing for all Nigerians.
“As you are aware, one of our primary tasks and constitutional responsibilities as elected representatives of the people and of our various constituencies is to, amongst other things, ensure the welfare and prosperity of our people. Access to decent and affordable housing is one of the primary indicators of such economic empowerment.
“With the current housing deficit in Nigeria, which is estimated to be between 17 and 20 million housing units and also said to be increasing annually by 900,000 units, the potential cost of overcoming this deficit is about N6 trillion. This highlights the huge opportunity that exists in the real estate sector.
“However, there are gaps in the relevant legislation that empowers some real estate developers, while they capitalise on this opportunity to also operate with impunity, stealing away the dreams and billions of naira of hard-working Nigerians. A lack of accountability and regulation in the dealings between these real estate developers and home buyers has caused untold hardship to many already struggling Nigerians, who desire to own their own houses. It is our responsibility to introduce effective regulations to resolve these issues,” he said.
The Speaker hailed the efforts of anti-graft agencies in trying to bring some level of sanity into the real estate sector of the economy, saying that hardworking Nigerians should not lose their money to fraudsters parading themselves as estate developers.
“I am happy to commend the efforts of the ICPC and EFCC in sanitizing the sector. Hardworking Nigerians should not lose their money to fraudulent developers with no consequence. Nigerians are crying out over these sharp practices, and we cannot turn a deaf ear to their cries.
“That is why I was very happy when Honourable Boma Goodhead brought the motion to the floor on the need to investigate the operations of real estate developers in the Federal Capital Territory.
“The resolutions of this committee will hopefully ameliorate and bring some lasting solutions to the lack of transparency, professionalism and accountability in the real estate sector while introducing legislation to protect home buyers from unfair contracts and other sharp practices highlighted in the sector.
“As I formally inaugurate the Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the operations of real estate developers in FCT, I would like to assure you of the support of my office and the leadership of the House,” Gbajabiamila assured.