Reps committee, FCT rejection of REDAN real estate bill stirs controversy
• Corrupt officials, politicans against bill, REDAN
• Bill not in interest of Nigerians, says Onuh
Property developers and a housing advocacy group are upset with the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee investigating operations of real estate developers in the federal capital territory for rejecting the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) bill.
The committee, in collaboration with the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), had in a communique after two-day workshop, said the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) bill is unrealistic and should be jettisoned.
The assessment is coming on the heels of the 9th Senate’s passage of the bill on November 17, 2021. A week later, the Senate President sent the bill to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
The Representative read the bill on the floor of the House on December 2, 2021. Earlier, the House mandated its Ad Hoc Committee to investigate operations of real estate developers in Abuja to sanitise the sector, following complaints by members of the public.
The committee observed “there is no clear regulatory legal framework for estate developers, hence the proliferation of incompetent, inefficient and fraudulent developers with the tendency to mislead the public.”
Secondly, “that FCT is losing so much revenue as a result of non-compliance to the real estate regulations and enforcement of laws on land administration.”
The committee Chairman, Hon. Blessing Onuh told The Guardian “the bill is very unrealistic and does not stand for the interest of the public. We looked at the whole, clause by clauses. It is a very good initiative because the real estate industry does not have some kind of regulation.
“We need to strengthen the law to protect the people and homebuyers. If you look at different laws guiding land matters in Nigeria, it protects the interest of government and developers and not homebuyers and subscribers. If you looked at the REDAN bill, it lacked that as well.” She explained that REDAN is an association of a group of persons and cannot be a player and a judge in their own case.
“The House is overwhelmed with petitions coming from Nigerians. The bill wants somebody that is a REDAN member to be the chairman to be recommended and when you want to choose the person, it has to be on the approval of REDAN recommended to the Minister of Works and Housing.
“There is a lot of lacuna in the bill and it is self-centred and that is why we believe that the bill should be jettisoned, not just me but in collaboration with FCDA. It is not only me, I and the Executive Secretary of FCDA signed the communiqué. Last week, REDAN president tried to reach out to me to support the bill and for me, I think we need to seat on a round table and talk about the bill. We want it to represent more of the interest of Nigerian populace. It is a one-sided bill,” Onuh said.
The chairman reassured that the committee has the backing and political will to completely sanitise and revamp the industry because it is unregulated.
REDAN president, Aliyu Wamakko, said the ad-hoc committtee opinion would spell disaster for the real estate industry.
According to him, those opposing the bill are “obviously economic saboteurs and those ready to tarnish the image of Nigeria.
“We are concerned about such a hasty recommendation when indeed REDAN and other well-meaning institutions like Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML), scholars from many universities of learning and international bodies, have put in efforts in drafting the bill.”
He said: “We are not unaware of certain group of developers, who are averse to this bill and vowed to ensure that it does not pass at the lower house. The only known reason for these developers not to want this bill passed is because they are the ones neck deep in the money laundering and financing of terrorism.
“If the business is regulated, the law enforcement agents and regulators will catch-up with them and they will not only be exposed, but their businesses will crumble. Any developer seeking to jettison the bill in its entirety without making amendments, recommendations or inputs that could make the bill better is a perpetrator of money laundering and the authorities’ searchlight be beamed on such developers and their sponsors.”
Wammako explained: “The bill is aimed at ensuring compliance with all extant laws, National Building Code, financial regulations, and adherence to standards by developers.
“Nigerians will greatly benefit from the passage of this bill as it will ensure value for money for home seekers, quality of buildings, instill professionalism and mitigation of collapsed building in our dear nation.”
MEANWHILE, the Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN) also disagreed with the resolution of the committee and urged the National Assembly to pass the bill.
HDAN Executive Director, Festus Adebayo, said such bill is very important to the sector, if the country is desirous of curbing the humongous fraud in the sector.
Adebayo said rather than to destroy the sector as postulated by the House Committee in its resolution, the bill would instead act as a booster for investors and subscribers.
He, therefore, urged the lawmakers to have a rethink and push for the passage of the bill. HDAN, strongly disagreed with the resolution that passing the bill, will endanger the housing sector.
“ We believe that the inability of the adhoc committee to support and work for the passage of the bill, despite the support of all stakeholders both in public and private sectors, will create more danger in the industry,” Adebayo added.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.