Stakeholders advocate regulation to address empty houses in FCT

Stakeholders in the housing sector have called on the Federal Government to regulate the building industry to address the menace of empty buildings scattered nationwide, particularly the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The stakeholders made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
The respondents said that the issue of empty houses in the country, particularly the FCT had become a menace even as the government struggled to mitigate housing deficit in the country.
The experts said one of the ways to address the issue was by regulating the sector.
Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, the President, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) called for regulation of the sector to curb the menace of abandoned buildings.
Wamakko said that abandoned buildings pose serious danger to the society and loss to the economy.
“I call on the House of Representatives to concur with the Regulation of Estate Developers Regulation Bill 2021, which has already been passed by the Senate for concurrence with the house of representatives.
“I believe when we are able to achieve that, a lot of things will be achieved in terms of avoidance of building collapse, scattered uncompleted buildings and cheating in the housing industry.
” Also, the FCT administration need to understand that when they give building approval, there must be a time limit for a building to be completed.
“Otherwise, they should be served with a warning and after that warning then the revocation of that land.”
Wamakko said when these measures were taken, it would help to reduce the menace of empty buildings, especially in the FCT.
Mr Sharafadeen Olumo, a Principal Officer, Society of Civil Engineers and Fellow, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) said many empty buildings in Nigeria were owned by wealthy individuals.
According to him, these property are not in the categories that can be rented out because people that can rent them, can also afford to build their own.
“They are big property and the owners might have five, 10 or even more and they cannot be rented out and the reason for the buildings in some cases is that they are being used to hide corrupt funds.
“It’s just a way of keeping their money safe because when it is required, they keep selling these houses one after the other.
“The poor do not have the capacity to rent such houses neither would they be able to live within the high brow areas like Maitama, Asokoro and Wuse 2 where they are built.
“In the suburbs, you cannot find these empty houses. These are major reasons why you have empty houses in Abuja.
“And in most cases, the condition of the houses deteriorate such that the owners continue to maintain that they are not using it and this is one major economic loss to the country.”
Olumo therefore urged government to take action against such people abandoning their buildings, causing a nuisance by making the homeless individuals and families to live in them.
(NAN)
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